MIS generates $414 million in tourism dollars
By Dan Cherry
Michigan International Speedway’s economic footprint is more than $414 million a year, with nearly $173 million of that affecting Michigan directly, according to a University of Michigan study released Thursday.
MIS President Roger Curtis released the economic impact figures alongside U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Hosting a race weekend entails more than simply holding a stock car race, Curtis said.
“It’s about jobs, tourism, national visibility, economic impact and a quality of life for Michigan businesses and residents,” Curtis said. “This racetrack has been a financial shot in the arm for southeast Michigan, including Detroit, since 1968.
“We look forward to bringing in tourists and their dollars, generating jobs, supporting research and development and the economy, and showcasing everything Pure Michigan has to offer,” Curtis said.
The study, conducted by U-M; Mark Rosentraub, the Bruce and Joan Bickner Endowed Professor of Sport Management at U-M; and research assistant Matthew Rust, shows that MIS annually also pays $2.4 million in local property taxes and more than $8.3 million in state sales and use taxes.
A portion of those tax dollars then filter to area education and governmental units. In 2013, Cambridge Township received $115,446.90; $5,489.75 went to Onsted Community Schools; and $1.06 million went to the Columbia School District in Jackson County. The Jackson Intermediate School District received $512,717.34, and the Lenawee Intermediate School District was allocated $1,845.88, according to Lenawee County Treasurer Marilyn Woods.
The track is the largest taxpayer in Lenawee County.
The total economic footprint of MIS and its national effect produce $226.6 million in earnings and 5,413 jobs, according to the study.
Additionally, the track has events throughout the year that draw thousands to the area, such as a large-scale blood drive and the international Formula SAE engineering event. Recent additions include the Michigan Wine and Beer Fest, the Faster Horses three-day country music festival and the Tough Mudder obstacle and endurance course.
Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cindy Hubbell on Thursday called MIS “a friend to the Irish Hills.”
“MIS does a lot for businesses and the local economy, especially since adding so many events throughout the entire year,” Hubbell said. “We really see a positive difference. We enjoy working with MIS.”
One of those businesses is Clearwater Motel and Resort at the north end of Devils Lake in Woodstock Township.
“We applaud MIS for being here,” owner Lynn Million said Thursday. “From the races to Formula SAE and Tough Mudder, we are grateful for all they do for the community and for area businesses through their events.”