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.