Friday, June 24, 2011

Saving Milwaukee … Again.

Yeah, I know its been a while…Prepping to go on a two week vacation when you are short staffed at the day job is a time consuming situation.  Anyway, in my absence lots of controversy, the overly concerned about everything crowd has contorted themselves for two weeks now over the events of Texas and Milwaukee, Not much to ad here other than to point out that the sun came up today in Iowa and it looks to be a beautiful day.
I do want to spend a moment however to talk about Milwaukee the event.  Two years ago we were in the crowd with 35k of our closest cheesehead friends and had one of our best racing weekends shared together.  Due to a scheduling conflict we coundn’t do Milwaukee this year and are doing a second dip in Iowa instead.  What I saw from Milwaukee on TV looked horrible, not the racing, but the crowd and the environment.  I thought I would offer suggestions on the subject.
Thinking about the racing season so far…24hrs of Daytona, Sebring, St Pete, Long Beach, Lemans…what do all these races have in common????….Wait for it….FERRIS WHEELS.  Does anyone else see the irony in the frequent incidence of Ferris wheels at racing events only to have an event at an actual fairground feature no ferris wheel?
Kevin Lee and Curt Cavin have lamented the conundrum of how you make oval events run in facilities built in the middle of nowhere have the festive entertaining atmosphere of the city street festivals in St Pete and Long Beach.  The problem with the event creation and promotion of Milwaukee is that it is treated as if it occurred at an oval facility 45 minutes from town in the middle of nowhere…when in fact it is held on the state fairgrounds in the residential heart of a mid sized city possessing a proud cultural heritage.
Milwaukee, like Long Beach and St Pete should be an EVENT that features a race.  Not all of this can happen overnight, but if you have a race at a fairgrounds, go ahead and have a carnival ride company set up shop on the Midway for the weekend, have a Long Beach style exhibition hall in one of the 4h buildings have a BBQ or fried beer and cheese contest in the lot outside turns 1 and 2.  THROW A STINKING PARTY.  The racing overload formula that works in Iowa a week later may not be the best plan given the riches of access to people Milwaukee has.
Of course you might retort…why not have the race during the actual State Fair?  Well, that has happened before but my read is that the Fair board is not so keen on that idea these days.
Given the abysmal crowd from this past year, the expo hall will have to wait until year three once you have shown you can draw a crowd.  SO here’s what year two might look like…
  • Friday, All Day General admission for $10.  Allows access to the midway and all the barbeque and fried Ding Dong vendors.  During the evening run your USF2000 race, Star Mazda Race and Lights race, with all seating being GA.  Schools out, kids smell carnivals from 20 miles away and it would be a night of good family entertainment that would be a good marketing asset for the rest of the weekend.
  • Saturday, Have the festivities open again all day, have the lower half of the bleachers be GA with premium pricing up high.  Have an antique car or motorcycle show in one of the Livestock barns.  Do your Indy Quals and run your Usac events. 
  • Sunday, GA gets you access to the hoo haa and into the infield grass.  Reserved tickets elsewhere.  Do Lights (again) and then the big boys and have every one headed home by 5.
In the following years you can set up an expo hall and charge companies booth space to access the crowd of captive people you have attracted to the facility (who needs Luxury boxes when you have booth space and a captive audience?)
One final thing before I back up and head to Iowa speedway.  The web site this year sucked.  The Ticket options Sucked even more.  The only options were single day tickets and a $500 dollar luxury package that featured a limo and strippers or something…What the hell?  I would advise the promoters to browse the Mid Ohio or Long Beach sites and check out the Weekend packages or the Ticket and Pit Pass combinations…many people like these reasonably priced all inclusive options.
On the promoter...I thought that this event was to be promoted by the league itself…apparently with Vegas looming, it was one too many things on the Leagues plate.  I hope Randy sizes the current promoter, listens to their plans for next year and if it doesn’t seem buttoned up, give Green Savoree a call.
With the rumors of Chicagoland and Road America in play, it all may be for not.  But I would suggest that Milwaukee in June, RA in August and CL in Sept is viable spacing for all these events to coexist.
Off down I 80 to Newton!

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