Tour of Missouri hunts for corporate sponsors to survive
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tour of Missouri hunts for corporate sponsors to survive

by Steve Jones at 11:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Funding for one of America's biggest cycling events, the Tour of Missouri, has been cut by the state's Tourism Commission. That means that if the race is to hold its fourth edition next year, organizers must secure corporate sponsors to make up for a massive $1.5 million dollar deficit. The commission chair, Marci Bennett, told The Star newspaper that state funding for tourism is again expected to be cut in 2010.

"We've had huge cuts," Bennett told the paper. "It’s something that is a wonderful event. It’s great. But if we can’t afford to pay our people, it’s difficult to do something like that.”

Apparently the commission, who had a budget of $26 million just a few years ago, developed three scenarios for next year's budget. The budget projections ranged from $11 million to $16 million dollars, and none of them included funds for the event.

The upside is that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has been a huge supporter of the race, and with his help, the task of finding corporate sponsors for the race is more realistic.

This news is on the heels of reports that show the race's increasing popularity.

"For the past three years the Tour of Missouri has delivered unprecedented value to the State, the host cities and event sponsors," explained Kinder, who also serves as the Chairman of Tour of Missouri, Inc.

In 2009 more than 500,000 spectators attended the race over the week (up from 434,000 + in 2008) that had a $38.1 economic impact for the State and its host communities (up from $29.8 million in 2008). The race organizers are moving full-steam ahead for 2010, and are currently soliciting proposals for host cities.

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