Edmonton Indy receives $800K from Alberta
The Edmonton Indy is richer thanks to the Albertan government's Thursday announcement of $800,000 for the money-losing event.
Alberta announced $500,000 from the province's culture and community spirit ministry and $300,000 from Travel Alberta for the Grand Prix car race, which lost $9.2 million in the first two years of its three-year contract.
On Monday, the Indy was awarded $821,250 from Marquee Tourism Events, a $100-million federal stimulus program set up to benefit festivals and entertainment events across the country.
"There's people that follow the Indy circuit... they're in the US, they're in Europe," Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett said Thursday.
"So when you're in Germany and you see pictures of the Indy and it's Edmonton, they're talking about Edmonton."
The Marquee amount is more than double the $399,314 that Northlands, the Indy's event operator, was granted in 2009.
The Indy has been plagued by cost overruns in the first two years of its three-year commitment. In 2009, a $3.9-million shortfall had to be covered by city taxpayers. In 2008, the loss was $5.3 million.
Mayor Stephen Mandel said he believes the latest influx of money from the province will help deal with the problems.
"This is an event that has lots of legs," he told CBC News Thursday.
"In the past, it's had lots of challenges...let's not dwell on the past, let's look forward to what we can do in the city."
Northlands has blamed the losses on too short a timeframe for marketing and the effects of the recession. But the losses had city council debating whether to keep hosting the race.
The Champ Car League had operated a Grand Prix event in Edmonton since 2005.
But a new agreement was needed in 2008 to continue the Edmonton event when Champ Car merged with the Indy Racing League in 2007.
The race runs July 23-25 at Edmonton City Centre Airport.