Michigan International Speedway, Michigan’s largest welcome center

Michigan International Speedway, Michigan’s largest welcome center

The story of the Michigan International (MIS) Speedway flows deeper than a few races a year. The two-mile oval in Brooklyn, Michigan is responsible for generating $414 million of economic activity in Southeast Michigan annually. That part of the story is one that MIS President Roger Curtis announced at the Mackinac Policy Conference today.

Another part of the story is the impact MIS has on the perception of Michigan as a whole.

“Since 1991, MIS has been the state’s largest welcome center, hosting two of the largest sporting events in the state, if not the largest,” said Curtis. “But hosting a NASCAR Sprint Cup series race is about so much more than just the race. It’s about jobs, it’s about tourism, it’s about national visibility, economic impact, and yes, even about quality of life for Michigan businesses and residents.”

The study, conducted by Mark Rosentraub Ph.D., University of Michigan professor and Co-Director, Michigan Center for Sport Management, shows that MIS:

  • Delivers $173 million in direct economic benefit to Michigan
  • Has a total economic footprint of almost $226 million in earnings
  • Creates over 5,400 jobs
  • Hosts over 385,000 visitors annually, 60 percent of those coming from out of state

Curtis says MIS is open for events over 200 days a year, compared to just 50 days a few years ago. Events they host outside of NASCAR races include the Tough Mudder, a three-day country music festival called Faster Horses, the Michigan Wine and Beer Festival, and high school proms.

They have also developed partnerships with the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Center for Automotive Research to work on autonomous vehicle development, helping keep that type of testing in the state.

“MIS has the economic impact of a Super Bowl supersized,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D).

Lt. Governor Brian Calley (R) acknowledged the economic impact, but says the full story of the impact of MIS includes how it impacts the quality of life in Michigan. It is a story the MEDC tells to corporate site selectors who are potentially interested in bringing more business to the state. He says a race weekend creates a compelling narrative.

BCBSM is a Diamond Sponsor of this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference. 

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