Tour de New York Canceled

Posted on 06. Jul, 2010 by in news

Another race bites the dust, unfortunately. The Tour de New York can now be added to the list of races canceled this year due to economic difficulties. The UCI 2.2 Men’s race originally scheduled from Aug 7 to 11 was to showcase the beautiful Western and Finger Lakes Regions of Upstate New York.

Tour de New York Executive Director, Scott Page, said in a press release that despite enormous support, unprecedented financial commitment and diligent endorsements from Rochester’s Mayor Robert Duffy and Rochester’s City Council, the financial resources to produce the world-class event could not be realized for this year.

The organizers have been trying to hold the inaugural edition of the race for the past two years but were not able to overcome the financial hurdles.   Built from the success of the Rochester Twilight Criterium, which began in 2004, the event has grown exponentially each year. With an estimated $27 million in economic impact, a commitment of television coverage and top-level professional teams attending, Mayor Duffy and the City of Rochester fully understand the financial potential and the community benefits of a free spectator event for the public.

Other races canceled this year on the USA Cycling Pro Tour include the Tour de Georgia, Tour of Missouri and the US Open of Cycling, reducing the series to four events – Tour of the Battenkill, Amgen Tour of California, TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship and Univest Grand Prix – and three National Championships – Criterium, Time Trial and Road. (See list of UCI road races in USA & Canada)

An interesting question, for me, is why are sponsors willing to shell out big money for ads during the Tour de France coverage but do not feel that sponsoring a bike race will reach a valuable audience.  Is it only the Lance factor? This year, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Nissan Motor Co., RadioShack Corp. and General Motors Co. have all signed up again to air ads with Lance Armstrong.

The WSJ reports that the Tour de France brought in about $9.5 million in U.S. ad sales last year for Versus. As a comparison, the Tour of Missouri was missing $2M in its budget.  Before being acquired by InBev of Belgium, Anheuser-Busch’s headquarters was in Missouri.

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One Response to “Tour de New York Canceled”

  1. tmana

    06. Jul, 2010

    It’s not the “Lance” factor, it’s the viewership numbers. Even the most casual of viewers will know about the Tour de France and catch it on TV. The next level from there will think of the other two “Crown Jewels” of the (European) pro peloton: the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana, and *maybe* the Spring Classics.

    All but the most avid fans (and the participants) know little to nothing about the major US races, and few non-participants know about races which are not running down their streets. (It was several years living here before I knew there was a major four-day series of races not a dozen miles away from me in Somerville, NJ.)

    In short, until the sponsors feel they can get the sort of viewership (live, televised, and in the media; both through their identities on the race barriers, jerseys, etc. and through television ads) that the Tour de France receives, they are likely to be reluctant to invest similar sums of money.

    At the same time, in order to be taken “seriously” in cycling, a number of the US-based UCI Continental teams wish to upgrade to Pro Continental status. To do this, they need to upgrade their budgets and their racing schedules. This means a lot more European races and a lot fewer US ones, at greater expense to their sponsors, with less money available to sponsor large-scale races in the US.

    Which means pro-level US cycling better go ultra-glam, ultra-fast or it will fall off shortly and rapidly after Lance and Levi retire… or at best, Tyler, Taylor, and Tejay.