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Honda announced Thursday that it will be the title sponsor for the Indy race in Edmonton this summer. ((CBC))

The Edmonton Indy has been renamed the Honda Indy Edmonton after the Japanese carmaker agreed to be a title sponsor.

"We don't hope to make money out of this," said Jerry Chenkin, a vice-president with Honda Canada, at a press conference Thursday announcing the sponsorship. "This is an investment for Honda's brand in the future."

This year's Indy will be held July 23-25 at the City Centre Airport.

The Edmonton Indy has been plagued by cost overruns in the first two years of its three-year commitment. Last year, a $3.9-million shortfall had to be covered by city taxpayers. In 2008, the loss was $5.3 million.

Northlands, the city-owned agency that runs the event, 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.

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Jerry Chenkin, a vice-president with Honda Canada, says the company believes the race will continue beyond 2010. ((CBC))

Chenkin said he's not worried about only having a one-year contract as title sponsor.

"If we didn't believe the race would be continuing into the future, we would not be getting involved," he said.

Thursday's announcement was attended by Edmonton's mayor, Stephen Mandel, who welcomed the sponsorship.

"We have had always every intent to have the Indy here long-term, but we had to prove to the citizens of Edmonton that it's a sustainable event," he said.

"I think when all is said and done — hopefully, when the race ends on the 25th — we'll be able to show citizens of Edmonton this is a sustainable event."

Corrections

  • The Rexall Edmonton Indy lost $5.3 million in 2008. An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated the loss was $5.8 million.
    May 10, 2010 7:55 AM MT