MIS has a champion’s impact on local economyWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITOR’S NOTE: See this week’s sports section for more than a dozen additional MIS/NASCAR features.
Michigan International Speedway (MIS) has more economic impact than the Super Bowl, according to a research study conducted in 2007.
MIS in Brooklyn, Mich., generates $400 million in total economic activity with about $260 million in direct economic benefits to the speedway and local businesses, stated the study of “Economic Effect of Michigan International Speedway on the State and Local Economy,” published by Gary Wolfram of the Hillsdale Policy Group.
Super Bowl XL in Detroit in 2006 generated an estimated $302 million in economic activity, according to another study commissioned by the Detroit Super Bowl Host Committee.
“The study shows the economic impact of MIS on Michigan’s economy is like having a Super Bowl every year,” said Wolfram, president of the Hillsdale Policy Group and a professor of political economy at Hillsdale College.
“MIS is an export industry, where residents from other states and countries purchase sports entertainment services from Michigan providers,” he said.
The Hillsdale study also noted that MIS employs more than 5,000 people at its events with an annual payroll of about $5 million. MIS pays $2.1 million in property taxes annually for the 1,400-acre complex in Jackson and Lenawee counties.
Capital investments have added about $75 million to the state’s economy since 2000. In 2008, MIS spent $10 million upgrading its facilities with the bulk of the work done by Michigan companies, according to Wolfram’s study.
“The speedway is a much-needed financial shot in the arm for this state by bringing in tourist dollars, generating jobs and supporting the economy with our continued partnership with the community,” MIS President Roger Curtis said.
MIS hosts two big races every summer with the NASCAR Truck Series events June 12-14 and NASCAR Sprint events in August.
The speedway seats 132,000 fans with thousands more allowed in the infield and attracts hundreds of thousands of fans during a race weekend from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries especially Canada, according to MIS officials.
“We’re a resort community with 52 lakes and many businesses are seasonal. Many of them do their best business during the race weeks in June and August,” said Cindy Hubbell, executive director of the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce.
The Country Market, the only grocery store in Brooklyn, benefits from the thousands of people coming into the area on race weeks.
“MIS is a big boost to our business. We have a lot of race fans who come in to to buy food items, such as beer, hot dogs, buns, chips and snack items,” said Todd Gilbert, store director.
Last year, the Country Market had 23,677 transactions during a race week compared to an average of 17,000 per week during the summer season, Gilbert reported.
The races are two of the biggest weekends of the summer for Jerry’s Pub and Restaurant located on Wamplers Lake just east of MIS. The races generate a 50 percent increase over their regular summer business, according to B.J. Andonian, who has operated the family business with his mother, father and sisters for 34 years.
“We just don’t open our doors; we throw a party for the race fans, drivers and their teams from Budweiser, Coors Lite, Jack Daniels and Jim Beam,” Andonian said.
The Super 8 Motel and only motel in Brooklyn is booked every year by the same racing teams participating in the event. The Super 8 Motels in nearby Adrian and Jackson are filled with racing fans during race weeks, according to the managers of those locations.
“People love to stay here because we’re so close to MIS and many come back every year,” said Terry Parker, who operates Evans Lake Resort with his wife Tammy.
The resort, located on Evans Lake and U.S. 12, eight miles from MIS, has 12 units that sleep as many as 10 people, as well as additional campsites that are sold out every year. The couple has a residence in Michigan and another in Sylvania because Parker operates a roofing and home improvement business in Toledo.
“We know many of the people who come back year after year,” said Renee Smith, who operates Hideaway Cove with co-owner Sherry Johanson.
Hideaway Cove is another resort on Evans Lake that benefits from MIS by renting cabins to corporate sponsors and race fans. Located on Breyman Highway just south of U.S. 12, the resort is eight miles from MIS.
“It’s a family event and lots of people come for the entire week before and after the races, staying at local campgrounds and resorts, looking for things to do in the area,” Hubbell said.