The biggest winner of the recent Indy Racing League’s Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was, quite arguably, the city of St. Petersburg. The crowd was estimated at nearly 100,000 and all the corporate suites sold out. Race sponsors quickly re-upped for 2007. It was better than last year, and last year was pretty good.
Moreover, chamber of commerce weather and postcard vistas were a prominent part of what a national TV audience saw on ESPN’s live telecast. And nobody identified the venue as “Tampa Bay.”
The downside? Downtown merchants and residents had to take one for the team.