What Is the Economic Impact of Motorsports? A New Study Seeks to Find Out
Motorsports provide a real, tangible economic incentive to auto manufacturers. For many, they serve as both an R&D program and advertising platform, where they can simultaneously develop and test new technologies and flaunt their performance relative to other manufacturers when they do well. In addition, they also provide jobs for the drivers and everyone involved within the teams or at the venues where races take place.
However, they also cost money—lots of it—and some might argue that motorsports are ultimately not worth the effort. Instead of throwing out maybes and probablys, however, the United States Motorsports Association (USMA) and Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis(IUPUI) are getting right to the heart of it.
Earlier this month, USMA and IUPUI announced a partnership to conduct the very first nationwide economic impact study of motorsports, which will be called the Motorsports Impact Report (MIR). It is intended to show how motorsports economically impact the United States (measured in billions of dollars) and will also tackle the benefit of motorsports to other areas like STEM education, charity contributions, USA-made products, and small businesses.
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The research is based on a new methodology developed by the Sports Innovation Institute at IUPUI colloquially called “Follow the Race Car,” which will focus on the size, scope, and economic activity generated from owning and operating a race car, following the money trail from the car to the other products, equipment, services, and other spending that occurs almost every weekend around the country.
“Early indication of the research leads us to some very interesting data within the supply chain around the grassroots portions of competitive racing,” said James Gladden, Executive Director of the Sports Innovation Institute. “I believe the report will be highly valuable to the industry, corporate sponsors, and public officials to gain a greater understanding and more complete story of the integration of racing in our economy.”
The USMA was formed in early 2015 after a group of companies interested in motorsports identified the need for more comprehensive data and organization for competitive racing, especially at the grassroots level. Once completed, the MIR will be released to the racing industry and the data introduced to elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
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