DENVER-The Grand Prix race car event in Downtown on Labor Day weekend drew 100,000 people and filled between 9,000 and 10,000 hotel rooms. That much we know.

But the economic impact, estimated as high as $200 million for the region when the multiplier affect is factored in, is still being debated.

In September, Denver collected $30.86 million in sales tax, 0.98% less than the $31.16 million in September 2001. However, the sales tax revenues had been dropping by an average of 4% this year, so that is an improvement.

And the city collected $2.184 million in lodgers tax, up 10.43% from the $1.978 million in October 2001.

But it is impossible to determine how much of the sales tax and lodgers tax originated from the Grand Prix, explains city treasurer Steve Hutt.

“We can’t break out the numbers by individual dates,” Hutt tells “We don’t know if a hotel room is being filled because somebody was attending the Grand Prix or because they’re staying in Denver overnight before taking a vacation at Estes Park.”

But John Frew, who headed the race car event that brought international coverage to Denver, says that clearly the race had a huge financial impact.

“It didn’t cost the city a dime,” Frew points out to In fact, the Grand Prix had to pay the city a great deal of money to host the event, which he hopes will continue for at least the next seven to 12 years.

But Andrew Hudson, spokesman for Mayor Wellington Webb, notes the Grand Prix will have to prove that the race is worth it to the city, if it want to hold the event again.

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