The Macau Grand Prix next weekend will run on a budget of HK$140 million but major sponsorship will offset costs, it was revealed yesterday.
While many international sporting events are struggling during the economic downturn, the Macau Grand Prix is holding its own. For the first time in the meeting's 58-year history, a title sponsor has been found as well as a sponsor for each of the seven races on the November 17-20 programme.
Macau gaming and entertainment giant SJM is the overall title sponsor and is also backing the Formula Three and FIA World Touring Car races; City of Dreams has snapped up naming rights for the 45th edition of the motorcycle grand prix; and Hotel Fortuna, telecommunications company CTM, property conglomerate Star River-Windsor Arch and Suncity Group are all getting in on the action by sponsoring support races.
'We estimate that we receive directly several times the value of our investment. Furthermore, the intangible benefits, both in promoting Macau as a tourist destination worldwide, as well as the experience it provides for Macau in staging a major international sporting event are invaluable,' said Macau Grand Prix committee co-ordinator Joao Manuel Costa Antunes (pictured).
Costa Antunes expects another bumper attendance this year. 'All available corporate hospitality areas have been taken, and ticket sales have been strong. We also broadcast the races live on giant screens around Macau, so everyone can enjoy them,' he said.
Tickets start at HK$50 to watch Thursday or Friday's practice, with the best seats for Sunday at HK$900. Organisers believe these prices compare favourably with other major sporting events in the region.
This year's race will feature 225 competitors from 34 countries, and Costa Antunes said organisers had worked hard to ensure the race meeting exceeds international safety standards. Traffic congestion during the grand prix week has also been alleviated.
'We constantly examine ways in which to streamline the event to reduce the impact on residents. For instance, we have introduced barriers which comply with racing safety requirements but can be opened to road traffic each evening at the end of racing,' said Costa Antunes.