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Sydney looks to steal Melbourne F1 Grand Prix

Sydney looks to steal Melbourne F1 Grand Prix
March 14, 2015

As the opening weekend of F1 motor-racing season gets underway in Melbourne, Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman Ron Walker has slammed NSW Premier Mike Baird’s plan to lure the Australian Formula One Grand Prix from Melbourne to Sydney.

In another leisure releated commitment made in advance of the NSW election, Premier Baird revealed that, if re-elected on 28th March, he would look to stage a Grand Prix in the heart of Sydney’s central business district.

Sydney newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported that Premier Baird is planning to form a bid team featuring Rod McGeoch, who led Sydney’s successful 2000 Olympic Games bid, and former News Corporation Chief Executive John Hartigan, the Chairman of tourism body Destination NSW.

The team would report to the NSW Government by the end of the year on the economic feasibility of staging a street race Sydney.

The Daily Telegraph report said Premier Baird is interested in a minimum three-year bid which would cost up to $180 million.

Speaking to the ABC, Walker said Premier Baird’s “team of advisers have advised him very wrongly.”

Walker highlighted that Melbourne has “a contract with (Formula One Group Chief Executive Bernie) Ecclestone until 2020 and we have another five-year option … so it's a long time before Sydney could even think about it.”

Walker added that the five-year Melbourne race contract would probably be extended to 10 years “some time in the next few months.”

Last August, the Victorian Government secured a five-year extension to its F1 race deal, ensuring that Melbourne will remain the venue for Formula One’s season-opener through to 2020.

With Australian state Governments increasingly recognising the value of major events, the current NSW Coalition Government recently announced that it would boost its major events budget by $123 million if re-elected, with events being targeted including F1, the return of Major League Baseball to the city, or games from fellow American leagues the NFL and NBA. The extra money takes the major events budget to $643 million.

Premier Baird stated “I want the Formula One to come to Sydney, because no other city in the world could provide a more spectacular backdrop for this event.

“We know this event is watched by up to 30 million people around the world, and securing the grand prix would put our already successful events strategy in pole position.”

11th March 2015 - VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW MELBOURNE MAJOR EVENTS STRATEGY

16th February 2015 - NSW GOVERNMENT TO BOOST TOURISM AND EVENTS SPENDING

10th February 2015 - MAJOR EVENTS BRING $510 MILLION IN VISITOR SPENDING TO NSW

3rd August 2014 - AUSTRALIAN F1 GRAND PRIX TO STAY IN MELBOURNE UNTIL 2020


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