Oct 16, 2007
MIS is more lucrative to Michigan than the Super Bowl
BROOKLYN - A report released Tuesday by Gary Wolfram, an adjunct scholar at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, says the Michigan International Speedway in Jackson County has an economic impact greater than the Super Bowl, bringing in more than $400 million to Michigan’s economy.
NASCAR racing has become a huge American sport, and the two premier NASCAR races held at the two-mile oval in scenic Irish Hills generates more than $400 million in total economic activity, with more than $260 million of that in direct economic benefit, according to the report. The track employs more than 5,000 people at its events, generating an annual payroll of about $5 million, and it pays $2.1 million in annual property taxes.
In contrast, Super Bowl XL in Detroit in 2006 only generated an estimated $302 million, according to a study commissioned by the Detroit Super Bowl Host Committee.
Vendors, fans and race teams at the weekend NASCAR races buy many items from local suppliers from spray paint equipment and auto parts to beer and ice. On race weekends the track hosts more than 60,000 fans — 60 percent of them from the other 49 states and more than a dozen nations.
“For me, the two races are the highlight of my summer, and we save all year for the tickets, the food and other necessities,” said race fan Jason Elliott of Fowlerville in Livingston County. “We load up the NASCAR bus and camp in the infield all weekend.”
The track is so important to Michigan’s tourism industry and has become such an economic engine that State Senator Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek, and Rep. Mike Simpson, D-Liberty Township, recently founded the Michigan Auto Racing Caucus (MARC), which they will co-chair. The bipartisan caucus aims to increase awareness of auto racing entertainment in Michigan and promote its positive impact on the state’s economy.
“The Michigan International Speedway has a dynamic impact on the Jackson area, both economically and culturally,” Schauer said in a press release announcing the formation of the caucus. “Despite the economic and budget crises we currently face, auto racing continues to fuel our economy.”
Caucuses are informal organizations of members who share common interests and come together to push or influence a favorable agenda. Perhaps the most well known national caucus is the Congressional Black Caucus, but in Michigan the many caucuses include the Hunting and Fishing Caucus, the Veterans Caucus and the Greek Caucus.
MIS has not only had a tremendous effect on the local economy, but it has benefited many of the area’s non-profit agencies, service clubs, churches and school organizations. More than 200 service groups used MIS as a fundraiser for their organization in 2006, and by selling concessions, parking cars and other activities they collectively raised almost $500,000 in 2006 alone.