Confidential docs reveal USGP’s big economic, jobs promises

United States Grand Prix organizer Tavo Hellmund suggested a Formula 1 race could bring $300 million and 1,200 jobs each year to the area in an initial email to Austin city officials.

The early email between the organizers of the proposed USGP and the city of Austin also paints a bleary picture for those who have already marked June 2012 on their calendar.

The expected construction time? 24 months. Time to the race? About 20 months, and counting.

The once confidential email from Tavo Hellmund to city staffers — released after the Austin American-Statesman put in a public records act request — cover a whole host of topics: the costs of recently built tracks; early concept designs; potential economic benefits to the region; and the little note about the expected construction time frame.

You can find a link to a PDF of the documents here.

Beyond the construction timing, I suspect the estimated economic benefits might be a focus — both for us and probably people debating these plans over the coming months. Here are a few of the guestimates:

F-1 Event Economic Impact Samples:
Bahrain Grand Prix Example (2008)
$150M Facility Expense (built in 2004)
$394M Economic Impact for Bahrain with the F-1 GP in 2008
127,000 Attendance of 2008 Bahrain F1 GP

United States Grand Prix (Indianapolis) Example (2000-2006)
$90M Facility Upgrade Expense (2000)
$240M Annual Economic Impact associated with the F-1 GP
150,000 Average Annual Attendance of Indy F-1 GP (Race day only)

Australian Grand Prix (Melbourne) Example (2008)
$150M Facility Expense (built in 2004)
$280M Annual Economic Impact associated with the F-1 GP
293,000 Attendance of 2008 Australian F-1 GP (Weekend)

Malaysian Grand Prix Example (2008)
$125M Facility Expense (built in 1999)
$221M Annual Economic Impact associated with the 2008 F-1 GP
115,000 Attendance of 2008 Malaysian F-1 GP (Race day only)

Facility Economic Impact: (Austin, Texas)
Facility Construction
State/City Benefits
Expected Development Cost – $180M (land, track, structures & equipment)
Jobs Associated with Facility Construction – 1500+
Expected Construction Time – 24 months

F-1 USGP Event
State/City Benefits
Estimated Annual Economic Impact for Texas/Austin – $300M
Jobs Associated for Grand Prix – 1,200 (temporary)
Global Prestige of being the home of the F-1 United States Grand Prix
Global Television & Media (188 territories) coverage of Austin and Texas
Annual Weekend Attendance – 300,000+ (Fri., Sat., & Sun Only)
– Average F-1 Grand Prix Attendee ‘Length of Stay’ is 5 days.

Another thing of interest. A list of other possible events for the track and their economic benefits:

Additional Annual Events
State/City Benefits
Estimated Annual Economic Impact for Texas/Austin – TBD
Jobs Associated with each Racing Event – 350 (temporary)
Incremental Sales Tax
Annual Attendance of other Racing Events – 400,000+
– Racing Events (8 weekends)
o Drag Racing & Vintage Car
o Grand Am
o AMA Superbike

Shooting for the moon, no?

We’ll have to see how these guesses turn out as well as what public reaction (among opponents) to the release of these figures will be. I suspect people will latch onto the construction time frame (as I have) plus maybe haggle with the big economic benefits.

Any of the numbers seem out of whack to you?

Finally, here’s Tavo’s cover email to the city:

Very nice to meet you all today…and sorry this is so late but we just finished with the Tilke people 20 minutes ago. As promised here is the 23 page brief, including some renderings and a quick outline covering the value of Formula 1, economic impact and the global reach and significance of this global event compared to other sporting events.

I am also attaching an interesting doc on the Performance of Formula 1. The last page of this doc shows the latest 7 Grand Prix’s to add government funding on the annual sanction fee to Formula 1. In 2010, all 19 Grand Prix’s in the world are funded by government. In addition you’ll see how the construction of these facilities has been funded as well.

Finally, I am also attaching an article on the cost of the failed French bid for a Formula 1 event and an article last year prior to the Canadian Grand Prix being re-instated on the calendar, which I think is relevant.

I am happy to provide more info as needed but hope this helps understand the scope of this historic moment. This is truly exciting and I am looking forward to us working together to bring one of the most important global sporting events to a city we all think is special and dearly love…and we want the rest of the world to know it as well!

Good night and thank you,


Tavo Hellmund
Managing Partner
Full Throttle Productions, LP

I find the “20 minutes ago” note very interesting. Tavo went right from the meeting to his computer. He must have gotten a pretty warm reception to feel compelled to send along all the information he did.

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