The year going forward will continue to impact almost all aspects of the motorsports industry.   We will look at those segments and see how they will proceed during this extended period of uncertainty.

Racing started last year similar to previous seasons but was soon interrupted.  Plans were stalled and went into lengthened holding patterns. Many were able to see abbreviated activity with less then meaningful results.

The sports and entertainment sectors were one of the most severely affected during the shutdown.  Large scale gatherings were considered higher risk due to human interaction and the possibility of community transmission.

State and local health officials worked with businesses to develop guidelines for maintaining healthy environments.  These included rules on cleaning and disinfection, restrooms. ventilation, water systems, facility layouts, physical barriers, communal spaces, and food service.

Government and municipal authorities ultimately have the final say.  Depending on the location, a centralized or decentralized structure may lead to confusion.

Federal aid programs were created to assist entities on several fronts.  These included the paycheck protection program, employee assistance grants, economic injury disaster loans, and pandemic unemployment compensation.  There were also direct federal stimulus checks to taxpayers.

The business assistance initiatives were the designed to help with meeting payroll and keeping money flowing to employees.  These loans were forgivable based on certain criteria.

Many racing business including teams and manufacturers participated in these programs.    

The initial round of funding which totaled $2.0 trillion was part of the CARES Act was passed in March 2020.

The second relief bill will be $900 billion and include enhance unemployment benefits and direct cash payments. Signed in December 2020 and smaller than the previous program, it is the next largest program in history.

The initial stimulus was passed and put into action shortly after the nationwide shutdown. 

During the next nine months, it came into focus which industries were more directly affected.  Entertainment was one that list. 

They organized and came together under the “independent venue”  moniker and mounted a comprehensive lobbying effort,

The result was a $15.0 billion program for live venues, theaters and museum operators. The program is titled – Grants for Shuttered Venue Operators.

The Small Business Administration is overseeing the application process for the federal government.  Individual states, like Michigan have a “Stages Survival” program. 

This initial consideration will be for operators that have lost at least 90% of the revenue. They first grants will be for up to $10.0 million and then another for almost half that amount.

The money can be spent on payroll, rent, utilities, and personal protective payments. There are details on who is not eligible or covered (publicly traded, corporate acquisitions, etc.).

The wording features the term “live event promoter.”  Race tracks are not specifically named in the bill text. 

However, they meet many of the characteristics.  Most are located in rural communities and leased from non-profit fairgrounds.  Tracks are small business owned and operated by families. They sell tickets and food to generate the majority of their revenue.  Participants are paid prize money to race each week.  

The goal is for race tracks to qualify and participate in these programs.  This infusion of cash into independent venues that will give them a short term boost need to reopen after the pandemic ends.