Mayor Drew Dilkens defends $50K partnership with Detroit Grand Prix

Mayor Drew Dilkens and officials from the Detroit Grand Prix spent Tuesday morning promoting Windsor's investment in the international event.

The City of Windsor sponsors the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix to the tune of $50,000 in exchange for naming rights on the international media centre and a banner on a grand stand.

Dilkens defended the city's investment, saying Windsor successfully taps into Detroit's economic revitalization by promoting the Canadian side of the river during the race that draws international media and visitors.  

"This is a way to tap into that Renaissance and to bring people over the border, and back again, to a world class event that's happening right here in our backyard," Dilkens said. "The folks who attend the Grand Prix are certainly prime targets for our tourism group to bring across the river."

Other Windsor councillors have criticized the investment. Coun. Irek Kuzmierczyk has regularly asked for an economic impact study to measure how much the city benefits.

"You now have several years of taxpayer investments. What is Windsor getting out of it?" Kuzmierczyk said. "How many visitors? How much tourism? How many hotel rooms?"

Dilkens said the city has never done a study to determine the economic benefits during the Grand Prix, but said race officials provided some numbers.

A council report in January talked about former talk show host David Letterman's trip to a Windsor eatery and outlined some of the social media coverage: 

- Twitter – approximately 60 tweets and 40,000 impressions

- Facebook – two posts garnered 3,000 impressions and 100 interactions

- Facebook – two paid ads (promoting package sales and contest) with 60,000 impressions

- Email – inclusion in two emails with approx 17,000 impressions plus one dedicated email to contest entrants with 400 impressions 

"The investment we make is a rather small investment for the benefit we receive," Dilkens said. "It's hard to quantify with precision what the benefit is, but we know there's a benefit."