Organizers say the race drew more than 1 million spectators
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The inaugural edition of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge attracted more than 1 million spectators to watch the world’s best cyclists compete in a seven-day, 500-mile race through Colorado. The event resulted in an $85.3 million economic boost for the state, according to an economic impact study released this week.
More than $67 million came in the form of direct spending by traveling spectators. Fans from outside the state and Coloradans traveling 50 miles or more to take in an event stage spent $67.4 million on lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. The remaining economic impact comes in the form of team, staff, sponsor and vendor spending, employment created by the event, and the resulting tax revenue generated by spending related to the race.
“The crowds were big, they were enthusiastic, they spent money in every host city. just as importantly, they traveled to Colorado especially to see this race,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO and co-chair of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
“More than 22 percent of the 1,000,000-plus spectators at our race visited from outside Colorado. And with 94 percent reporting they will return next year, that’s a tremendous benefit for the State of Colorado in 2011 and in the future,” Hunter added.
Organizers announced last month they’re planning on bringing the race back to Colorado next summer. They are currently evaluating bids from potential host cities and towns. The second edition of the race will be held Aug. 20-26, 2012.
“We have something here in Colorado that is nearly impossible to duplicate: beautiful scenery, great amenities, and many world-renowned destinations,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “Future USA Pro Challenge races will bring even more international attention to Colorado and lock in the state as the place to be in the summer.”
Visitors surveys show that the race was popular with families, with most fans arriving in groups of at least five people. The average household income of attendees was $113,918.
Spectators said they were satisfied with almost all parts of the race and the experience, especially impressive for a first-year event and nearly all said they would return next summer for the race.
Among out-of-state visitors, 71.6 percent said the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was the reason for their trip to Colorado.
Nearly half of spectators in attendance described themselves as cycling enthusiasts who participate in club rides, attend races and support cycling charities. More than 30 percent reported they ride a bike for fitness, while roughly one quarter responded they ride a bike occasionally or not at all.
“The numbers speak volumes, but the enthusiasm I saw here in Denver alone really tells the story,” said Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver. “With 2 hours of live television and nearly one quarter million fans coming out to see the race in downtown Denver, this was a tremendous showcase for our true cycling town.”