Louisville ready to take on 2013 cyclocross Worlds
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Louisville ready to take on 2013 cyclocross Worlds

by Ben Atkins at 8:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, World Championships
 
Race organiser explains confusion over sponsors and states that course will be ready on time

katie comptonThe organisers of the 2013 World cyclocross championships, to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, have responded to claims in the Belgian media that the International Cycling Union (UCI) could be about to take the event elsewhere. A report in the Gazet van Antwerpen (GvA) claimed that Louisville 2013 had not yet secured any commercial sponsors, other than the local and state tourist boards, and stated that Belgian riders Bart Wellens and Rob Peeters had recently visited the venue and found that no work had been done to prepare the course.

VeloNation attempted to contact race organisers earlier, without success, but promoter Bruce Fina has since responded with a statement. The first thing expressed by Fina was surprise, since he claims that the UCI has not informed his organisation of its concerns.

Sponsors are poised to be signed up, Fina says, but without the exact details of TV broadcast rights – over which the UCI has control – it has been impossible to put a price on the specific advertising areas; for this reason, it is understandable why no contracts have been signed as of yet.

As for the claims over the readiness of the course, Fina points out that the Metro Parks organisation is allowing the grass to grow and firm up, following some reworking of Eva Bandman Park, where the races will be held. The course was not marked out, but it will be ready in time for next January’s World masters championships, which are to serve as a test event ahead of the 2013 elite Worlds.

Eva Bandman Park has been used as the venue for the Derby City Classic round of the USGP of Cyclocross and, as part of the plan for the World Championships, a permanent cyclocross facility is to be built; the first of its kind in the US. The area has become a hotbed of cyclocross, with a very strong scene, which is a big reason behind the decision to award Louisville the first ever world championships outside Europe.

The full Statement from Louisville 2013 sent to VeloNation this evening is as follows:

“This is news to Louisville 2013. I find it hard to imagine that the UCI would tell something like this to the press without informing us first.

“As far as our financial status goes, I am not sure who is speaking here, but we have not been audited or reported our finances to the UCI or any other organization so I have no idea where they get it from.

“We have many very good sponsors lined up, both endemic and non-endemic. Many of those sponsors are waiting to sign deals and cannot until the UCI has a television contract in place for the US market.

“As we all know not only is the Worlds in the US unprecedented, but the Cyclocross World Championship has never before been shown on TV in the US. The UCI holds all television broadcast rights and although we have been involved in some conversations and even meetings with the UCI and some television channels as of yet we have not been informed by the UCI about which channel will broadcast the races live on Television in the USA. Until we have that information it is very difficult to put a valuation on sponsorship. Due to the nature of TV in the US and ad spots that make up a program it is crucial to have very exact information about the TV programing for our sophisticated sponsors.

“The UCI historically works with European TV in which there are no ads and thus all valuation is done only on course signage and on site spectators. In the US market it is the polar opposite where bigger sponsors are truly only interested in TV. This lack of clarity may be why historically only the independently organized races such as the Grand Tours and some Classics have been televised. We are waiting for the word from the UCI about what the TV package will look like and if all 4 races of the Worlds will have live television in the US and of course on what channel. As an organization it is part of the agreement that we have to provide a live TV feed of all races to licensees of the UCI. It would be a shame if the UCI cannot negotiate to have it on a reasonably successful US channel that goes into the majority of US households. We would prefer that it is not on pay per view or just highlights of the races at midnight on an obscure cable channel but that is complete in the control of the UCI.

“As far as the course goes work is proceeding at Eva Bandman Park in Louisville. As many of you know the park was reworked last year by the Metro Parks and it has been a season to let the grass grow in and firm up. We will be organizing at least 3 big events on the course there before Worlds 2013 so I see no issue with the course at all. I think the Belgians might have been disappointed that there were no stakes in the ground when they visited town. But the park is meant to be multi purpose so there was really no need to set up a course for a visit between races. That said they were very pleased with the USGP course in Madison and feel comfortable that we can make a great cross course for Worlds with the features available in Louisville.”

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