Nascar and Chicago reach verbal agreement over additional US$2m for 2024 street race

Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson claims "better deal" for city, but agreement is yet to be ratified.
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  • Chicago spent US$3.5m on last year’s race
  • Nascar gave the city just US$620k in return

Nascar has reached a verbal agreement with the city of Chicago to pay an additional US$2 million ahead of this year’s street race, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson previously claimed that he secured a “better deal for the people in Chicago” ahead of this year’s race, but the arrangement is yet to be ratified.

Currently, there is only a verbal commitment from Nascar to provide an additional US$2 million to the city. This is still short of the US$3.5 million Chicago spent on staging the event last year, while it only received US$620,000 in return.

On the surface, Nascar’s inaugural outing in Chicago last year was a success. 4.63 million viewers tuned in, the series’ largest audience on NBC since 2017, and a reported 79,000 spectators attended, more than 80 per cent of which had never purchased tickets to a Nascar race before.

There was also the storyline of three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen winning a Nascar race on his first ever start, the first driver to do since 1973.

This being Nascar’s first ever street race, though, meant there were considerable logistical challenges in staging the race. The race also ended up costing the stock car series a reported US$50 million, and it marginally fell short on its projected economic impact by US$4.8 million, generating US$109 million.

“I don’t think we anticipated the level of work that would be required from various teams within the company,” Jeff Wohlschlaeger, head of sales at Nascar, previously told BlackBook Motorsport.

Locals were not best pleased by the disruption caused, either. In response, Nascar has promised to reduce its 2024 setup and takedown time by six days.

BlackBook says…

Despite apprehension among locals, the Chicago Street Race was a much-needed shot in the arm for Nascar.

Outside of the Daytona 500, it recorded the largest domestic TV audience last season and was one of only three regular season races to clear four million viewers.

The next test for Nascar will be ensuring the novelty factor doesn’t wear off, especially with the overall downward trend in viewership for the series.

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