The coronavirus has claimed yet another high-profile victim in Australia. This time it’s the iconic Adelaide 500 supercar race.
The event has been the biggest street race on the Australian motorsport calendar for more than 20 years and has typically attracted more than 200,000-plus spectators over the four days that it is held.
High level of uncertainty for 2021
Yesterday (Thursday) the South Australian Tourism Commission announced that the contract for next year’s race would not be renewed, sounding its death knell. Originally thcontract would have run until 2021, but COVID-19 has changed all that.
“At the end of the day, with the current set of circumstances we are not in a position to deliver a sustainable, successful future for the event for next year and beyond,” the commission’s Chief Executive, Rodney Harrex said.
“Due to the high level of uncertainty around the ability of the event to proceed in 2021, the likely impact on the event for both the consumer and commercial market, and the long-term decline in the core motorsport fan, a decision has been made that it will not be possible to hold the race next year, and to not seek a contract for future years.”
SA still supports motorsport events
Steven Marshall, the Premier of South Australia, added that the decision had not been as easy one.
“COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for the events sector, and the uncertainty and other factors become an unsurmountable hurdle in the plight to deliver a successful race,” he said.
Marshall noted that the state remained a strong supporter of motorsport events and “would move swiftly to assess all options for motorsport future events”.
Low fan turnout for the 2020 race
According to ABC News, this year’s event attracted 206,000 fans, which was the lowest turnout since 2003.
“Several factors were blamed for the downturn including bushfires, the coronavirus pandemic and the demise of Australian manufacturing and the traditional Holden versus Ford rivalry,” the ABC reported.
The South Australian Tourism Commission said the money that would have gone to the Adelaide 500 would be redeployed to new events.