Louisiana has landed another big national sporting event: car racing.
The governor says the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana could bring in 80,000 visitors and generate $100 million in economic impact.
The Indianapolis 500 is the Super Bowl of indy car racing, a sport that will make its New Orleans debut in 2015, adding another gem to an already attractive spring schedule.
"This will bring us great attention to our region and to our state," said Gov. Bobby Jindal. "Indeed, we saw that with the Zurich Classic. This is yet another nationally known event that brings good news and good attention to our people, and our community, and our economy."
The Grand Prix of Louisiana will take place at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale over the course of three days with a festival-like atmosphere.
"The people come here, they're gonna have the most fun that they've ever had, because that's what we do here in New Orleans," said Jefferson Parish president John Young. "We make money and we have fun while we're doing it."
Louisiana will invest $4.5 million for track improvements, but the weekend is expected to generate $100 million in economic development.
"Folks coming out here to spend money on our hotels, on our restaurants and our local shops and our economy," Jindal said. "So whether you're a local racing enthusiast or not, we should all be excited."
"The investment goes into track improvements so that it's safe for the drivers," said indy car series CEO Mark Miles. "It's a great product that has great turning zones. That creates the type of racing that will turn people on to our sport and keep coming back."
Jindal issued a challenge to make the Grand Prix of Louisiana one of the finest of the indy car series.
"The folks in Louisiana, we know something about throwing a party," he said. "We know something about having a good time and throwing a festival. So they think they've got successful races already, but our commitment, our promise, our prediction is that their best race ever, in the entire series, will be held right here in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
The Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana will be a championship points race. The official dates and formal lineup will be announced later this year.