IndyCar organizers announced last week that they will no longer be holding their Labor Day race in Boston. The president of the Grand Prix of Boston John Casey told the Boston Globe, “ The relationship between us and the city is not working.”
The IndyCar race is the second major event that has recently pulled out of the city. Last year, the 2024 Olympics also decided to not pursue Boston as a host city.
Rich Davey, the CEO of Boston 2024 and the Co-Chair of the No Boston Olympics Christopher Dempsey, put aside their differences to talk about why IndyCar pulled out of Boston on Boston Public Radio Monday.
There could have been a couple of reasons the deal fell through, says Davey. One cause could have been poor ticket sales. “You wonder how their ticket sales were going. I’m not sure they were going as robustly as they would have liked,” said Davey. Another could have been IndyCar’s failure to spend enough time working with local neighborhoods to calm their fears. As the leader of Boston 2024, Dave learned the strategic importance of engaging with local neighborhoods.
"You have to have a good public process and I think what happened is… there wasn’t great public process with some of the neighborhood groups,” said Davey. “You would think they would want to do that, work with those neighborhood groups,” he said.
First the Olympics and now IndyCar. Do these losses make Boston look reluctant to change and new projects?
Dempsey does not think so. “I think that we are a city that is pretty good at measuring the pros and cons of different proposals, and figure out which ones work and which ones don’t,” he said. “When I walk the streets of Boston, I see cranes all over the place, I see new restaurants, new opportunities; it seems to me like this is a thriving city that is saying yes to a lot of things and saying no to somethings that just don’t make sense,” said Dempsey.