Milwaukee IndyFest Called Successful; Future Uncertain

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2013 Milwaukee IndyFest at the Milwaukee Mile - Ferris WheelMilwaukee IndyFest showed improvement in attendance this year but sponsorships remain below expectations, said the event’s organizer.

The future of the IndyCar race at the Milwaukee Mile, infield festival and downtown Milwaukee pre-race street party will be determined in the coming months.

Andretti Sports Marketing, Indianapolis, for the second year ran the event and targeted both open-wheel racing fans and folks who wanted to enjoy music, rides and concessions at the track on Father’s Day weekend.

“We’re determined to really keep working on this,” said Kevin Healy, managing director of Andretti Sports Marketing.

Healy had predicted an attendance increase of about 5,000 this year from the debut 2012 IndyFest attendance of about 25,000. He said he didn’t have the final attendance figure from the June 15 race as of Monday.

“The numbers are up,” Healy said. “I can’t tell yet just how much.”

American Ryan Hunter-Reay repeated as Milwaukee IndyFest winner.

Rick Frenette, executive director of Milwaukee Mile owner the Wisconsin State Fair, agreed Monday that attendance increased but said Andretti Sports Marketing would be releasing the figure.

“On our end, it went very well,” Frenette said of the event. “Attendance definitely improved over last year.”

State Fair Park and Andretti Sports Marketing have a three-year contract with a renewal each year, Frenette said. Andretti pays $25,000 for use of the facility and the two entities share concession revenue, Frenette said.

State Fair Park officials will do whatever they can to attain a third Milwaukee IndyFest with Andretti Sports Marketing, Frenette said, pending Andretti’s talks with IndyCar Racing League (IRL) officials.

“That’s between them and IRL,” he said of extending the race into future years. “We hope they can work something out with IRL.”

A decision on continuing an IndyCar race at the Milwaukee Mile will be made within the next three to four months, Frenette said.


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