Global TT series plans on hold.

The search for an external commercial promoter for the Isle of Man TT and Classic TT will begin next month with the aim of making an appointment prior to TT2016. Plans to progress an international TT series are being put on hold for the time being.

The decisions have been made following the completion of the tender process undertaken by the Department of Economic Development to find a commercial promoter for the TT, Classic TT and an international TT Series.

The Minister for Economic Development Laurence Skelly stated:

‘The IOM TT Races are iconic.  They are very special to many in the motorsport community.  They also play a huge role in our community, bringing over £25m into the Island’s economy.  The TT brand helps raise the image and awareness of the Isle of Man globally.

‘Given this, IOM Government is committed to growing both the TT and the Classic TT sustainably and in a manner that works for both fans and the Island. To do so, we need to invest in the events so that we can bring exciting new content while maintaining our proud heritage. Our Department has shown we can manage this delicate balance through the highly successful Festival of Motorcycling as well as the growth we have delivered in the TT in recent years, both in terms of the visitors drawn to our Island as well as the global TV audience of nearly 30m. We must continue to seek new opportunities for growth – it is in that spirit that we entered into the procurement process this year to seek a private promoter with the right skills and resources to help us grow the TT and Classic TT as well as launch a new, ambitious international TT Series.

‘Our Department has learned a great deal over the last year, both through this process and through the excellent growth we have continued to deliver in 2015. We were very fortunate that we received strong bids from several organisations. As a result, I remain convinced that we need a private promoter partner who can bring relevant expertise, commercial acumen, new ideas and

investment so that the TT and Classic TT can continue to grow. This is also consistent with our policy to deliver a smaller, simpler Government.

‘With regard to the proposed TT Series, this has always been a relatively high risk idea – indeed, some people have voiced concerns that the TT Series might fail or might dilute focus on the Isle of Man events, either of which could harm the TT and/or the Island’s economy. Our Department therefore considered very carefully the bids to see whether we could be confident we could deliver the proposed TT Series while managing the risks. Government must be mindful of the importance of the TT to many other stakeholders including local businesses, so our Department has applied a higher threshold of risk than say a private organisation would apply. We have therefore decided that the best way forward is to focus on growing the home events and making them more appealing. As we strengthen our events on the Island and the TT’s brand internationally, we will continue to monitor the global motorsport market so that we can pursue the TT Series concept as and when we feel the time is right.

‘I am announcing that we will soon commence a new procurement process to find the right promoter partner to help us grow the TT and Classic TT. Government must be seen to be fair to all potential bidders, so given this is different in scope to the previous procurement process it is necessary to commence a new process. We expect to be able to complete this new process prior to TT2016, which will enable us to maintain the momentum we have already built in our plans to date. I believe this is the right way forward to deliver best value for the taxpayer, grow our economy and respect the TT’s loyal fan base.

‘May I take this opportunity to thank everyone who has given us their views on how we should seek to grow the TT, especially the bidders, our Department’s staff and our advisers who have all worked hard and acted so professionally throughout the process.’

IOM Government spends over £5m annually to host the IOM TT Races and Festival of Motorcycling and recoups a similar sum from the associated sponsorship and tax receipts. As a result, the Island’s economy gains an annual boost of over £25m as well as invaluable international publicity. The Department believes that a private promoter partner can help to improve the TT and Classic TT and as a result continue to grow visitor numbers, media coverage and sponsorship, helping to deliver further economic growth and Government income.

Watch our interview with John McGuinness from the Goodwood Festival of Speed here.