Final Update: The Birmingham City Council has approved $300,000 in funding for the Honda Indy Grand Prix:
“BIRMINGHAM, Alabama –The Birmingham City Council has approved $300,000 in funding for last weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix event at Barber Motorsports Park, ending a protracted disagreement over city support.
The council, unanimously and without debate, approved a one-year agreement following a three-week standoff over the major sporting event.”
In other words, Steven Hoyt and his allies on the Birmingham City Council got their way, and the original 4-year-contract was scrapped in favor of approving $300,000 for this year’s race, but there is no long term contract between the City of Birmingham and IndyCar to keep the race at Barber Motorsports Park:
“While Hoyt voted for the today’s allocation, he defended by his earlier statements.
“I stand by the issue of inclusion, and my comments referred to the Barber Sports complex, notwithstanding Zoom, that they consider inclusion when it comes to senior management,” Hoyt said from the dais during his public comments at the end of the meeting. “I’m going to continue raising that issue.”
In related news, the St. Petersburg City Council unanimously approved a three-year-contract extension with IndyCar to keep the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area through 2017:
“ST. PETERSBURG — The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will roar on despite complaints about barriers and fences on city streets.
The City Council unanimously approved a three-year contract extension with race officials Thursday that will keep the Grand Prix here through 2017. …
The bickering, council member Bill Dudley said, sends a bad message to race officials.
“Indy Car is watching,” he said. “There are people in line waiting to take our spot. … Forty-five days is very reasonable.”
What kind of message has Steven Hoyt and the Birmingham City Council sent to IndyCar? More importantly, what kind of message was sent to anyone who might consider doing business with the City of Birmingham?
Note: Birmingham was recently ranked the 4th worst city for business in Alabama. In the Milken Survey in which Birmingham was ranked 197 out of 200 metro areas, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater was ranked #138 in that survey.