Hosting Vuelta brings in the cash
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hosting Vuelta brings in the cash

by Conal Andrews at 9:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España

The Dutch province of Drenthe has calculated that hosting the start of the Vuelta a España last year earned the region €5.3 million ($7.5 million, approx), illustrating the proceeds that major cycle races can bring to an economy.

According to Wielerland, 70,000 visitors stayed in Drenthe’s capital, Assen, and brought in €2.2 million, with €1.3 million going to the hospitality industry. Stores earned half a million euro from the extra business.

240,000 people were estimated to have attended the start/finish of the prologue and first road stage, which were won by Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) and Gerald Ciolek (Milram). 167,000 of these came in from outside the region of Drenthe, with two percent of these travelling from outside the Netherlands. The country’s neighbour Belgium was heavily represented in this number of visitors.

The proportion of spectators was approximately 2:1 in favour of men, while there was a good spread of ages. Feedback from these was very positive, although a lack of information in the form of booklets and maps was highlighted.

It was not reported how much it cost the region to secure the Vuelta. Direct proceeds aside, hosting two days of the race earned the region plenty of media coverage; counting articles which appeared before and during the opening weekend, 1200 were printed in local media. There was extensive radio and TV coverage, and while the international exposure was not calculated by those doing the follow-up research, articles on the Vuelta were carried in vast numbers of newspapers and magazines worldwide.

The Vuelta organisers stated that they were very happy with the reception the race got, with the huge crowds being highlighted. It was only the second time in the race’s history that it started outside Spain, and the success of the venture means that it is more likely that other such projects will take place in the future.

The Giro d’Italia is currently considering a proposal to bring the 2012 race to Washington. The Tour de France is rumoured to be negotiating with Corsica as a start venue for the following year, and the race has also received overtures from Qatar, Montreal and Tokyo.


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