It is not often that people outside of Dorna's inner circle get a peek inside the finances of MotoGP; commercial contracts with all parties are subject to confidentiality clauses and are a closely-guarded secret. But occasionally the facts leak out, thanks to circumstances which are beyond the control of MotoGP's Spanish commercial rights' holder.
Such is the case with the Motorland Aragon Grand Prix: As reported a week ago, Aragon recently secured a six-year extension to its deal to hold a round of MotoGP. The terms of the deal were not discussed in the press release announcing the deal, but as the circuit is in public hands, the information has surfaced anyway: In 2011, Motorland Aragon will pay Dorna 6 million euros, riding to 7 million in 2012, for a grand total of 41 million euros between 2011 and 2012.
The figures emerged at a meeting of the board of directors of the circuit, and were reported by the regional paper, El Periodico de Aragon. The complex is owned by three partners: the Autonomous Community of Aragon (roughly equivalent to an American state), the municipal council of Alcaniz and the regional council of Teruel. As part of the public finances of Aragon, the track has come under local political pressure to reveal its finances: Last year, the Motorland Aragon facility - which includes the track, several other leisure facilities including a karting track, a motocross track (and even an TT dirttrack circuit, laid out at the request and under the supervision of Avintia-STX Moto2 rider Kenny Noyes, who lives in Barcelona), as well as a high-tech industrial park - made a loss of 2 million euros.
That loss was not down to the circuit however: the track itself more than covers its costs. The losses were due to the karting track and the land business, which have failed to take off. The global financial crisis which has crippled the Spanish economy has also had an effect the property side of the circuit: several lots remain vacant on the site, a result of the massive unemployment still prevalent in Spain.
Despite the calls from the political opposition parties such as the IU for greater openness about the finances of the circuit - including calls for the publication of the contracts between Dorna and the Motorland Aragon circuit - there is still huge public support behind the project. One study of the local impact of the 2010 Motorland Aragon MotoGP round put its value at around 45 million euros, including marketing and promotional value. Local businesses rated it at two thirds of that, estimating that it raised around 30 millions in revenue for the region. This, of course, was the point of building the facility in the first place: By building a world-class motorsports facility in the middle of a remote and underdeveloped region, and then hosting world-class events there, the government hoped to generate business and employment. This has has clearly been a success.
The figures issued for the Motorland Aragon circuit contain details about races beyond Aragon, though. Interestingly, the Motorland Aragon track claims that the amount that they will be paying to organize the MotoGP round is less than the other Spanish rounds. Aragon claims that the contracts for the Barcelona and Valencia rounds of MotoGP are worth 8 million euros each to Dorna. Those 6 and 7 million euro contracts almost look like a bargain.