Firebird, Bondurant School of High Performance Driving Generate $70.1 Million Impact on Maricopa County; $5.13 Million for Gila River Indian Community

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Metropolitan Phoenix's Firebird International Raceway and the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving recently received strong results from economic impact studies conducted by the W.P. Carey School of Business MBA Sports Specialization at Arizona State University. According to the studies, Firebird and Bondurant generated a combined $70.1 million aggregate economic impact on Maricopa County during 2008. The facilities also generated a combined $5.13 million impact for the tribal nation.

…Events at Firebird International Raceway are a major source of tourism dollars to the Gila River Indian Community

In addition to providing high speed thrills for motorsports fans and aspiring competitors, Firebird International Raceway and the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving provided some economic excitement for local economies during 2008.

According to economic impact studies completed last month by the MBA Sports Business Specialization of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, the two racing facilities - sharing more than 445 acres on the Gila River Indian Community - generated a combined $70.1 Million aggregate economic impact to Maricopa County during 2008.

The economic news was also bright for the facilities' host community, with Firebird and Bondurant generating a combined $5.13 million economic impact to the Gila River Indian Community. The studies' measured impacts to Maricopa Country included effects of direct, indirect and induced spending; while impacts to the Gila River Indian Community were reported on a direct spending basis.

Firebird International Raceway requested the economic impact studies in commemoration of its 25th Anniversary last year. Study results revealed the East Valley track as a growing economic force in a congested Maricopa County sports scene. Firebird's diverse 2008 major sports calendar alone generated an estimated $50.5 million to Maricopa County - $44.96 million of which was directly or indirectly attributable to the nearly 69,000 out-of-town racing fans visiting Metropolitan Phoenix for track events.

"Playing host to everything from NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Full Throttle drag racing to IHBA (International Hot Boat Association) World Championship boat racing…, it is clear that Firebird Raceway's presence has a significant positive impact upon the economy of Maricopa County…" wrote study authors Ray Artigue, the executive director for the MBA Sports Business Specialization for the W.P. Carey School of Business, and Michael Wontor, a Spring 2009 graduate of the W. P. Carey School of Business Finance and Management programs.

Closer to home, it is estimated Firebird International Raceway's major events contributed $3.68 million in direct spending to the tribal nation, with neighboring businesses enjoying the generosity of visiting motorsports enthusiasts.

"…Events at Firebird International Raceway are a major source of tourism dollars to the Gila River Indian Community," wrote Artigue and Wontor. "…When visitors come to Firebird Raceway, many of them go to the nearby Wild Horse Pass resort and enjoy the various entertainment and recreation amenities it has to offer. This includes not only the resort, but also its restaurants, casino, golf courses and spa, in addition to Rawhide Western Town."

Dubbed the "Fastest 60 Acres in America," the Bondurant School, which is located at Firebird International Raceway, also flexed its economic muscle during 2008, contributing an estimated $19.60 million in economic value in Maricopa County - $7.79 million of which can be attributed to the expenditures of out-of-town visitors traveling to Metropolitan Phoenix specifically to attend the school.

The Bondurant School also proved to be a strong, contributing member of the tribal nation, providing an impressive $1.45 million in direct spending to the Gila River Indian Community.

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Bill Mayhall
Power Communicatons & Services
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