A windfall could ride into town

When Richmond hosts a world-renowned bike race in 2015, hundreds of thousands of Europeans and cycling fans will descend on the city and pack every hotel room within an hour’s drive — at least if Tim Miller’s projections prove accurate.

“This is bigger than just Richmond, Virginia. This is a world class event,” said Miller, the executive director of Richmond 2015, who spoke Tuesday at the County Club of Virginia during the monthly meeting of the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate.

The World Cycling Championships will consist of 12 races over nine days and feature the world’s elite cyclists, Miller said.

He said that, for professional cyclists, this event is as prestigious as the Tour de France. That could mean big tourist crowds and big bucks for Richmond, if everything goes as planned.

But between now and then, Richmond 2015 needs to raise $20 million for everything from setting up the grandstands and arranging private transportation for spectators to publicity and marketing.

Both Miller and city officials say the money will be well spent. According to Lee Downey, Richmond’s director of economic and community development who also spoke at the breakfast, the event is expected to attract 1,500 athletes and support staff, 6,000 from delegations and officials, and 450,000 spectators.

According to projections, the spectators should book every hotel room in a 75-mile radius, spend $95 per day for day-trippers and $236 for overnighters, and spend almost $80 million total in the city.

In 2011, an estimated 76 percent of Europeans watched at least some portion of the championships in Copenhagen, Miller said.

Miller, a former professional cyclist, said in a telephone interview Monday that Richmond 2015, a 501(c)(3) organization, needs to raise $20 million to provide support for the event and hopes to raise even more for a “legacy fund” that would pay for annual events after the races.

“We would like to see some community events, including competitive events and mass participation events,” he said. “I’m thinking something like the [Monument Avenue 10k]. A 10k on wheels.”

An estimated 300,000,000 viewers worldwide will watch at least portions of the television coverage of the event, Miller said. The city is also anticipating a media invasion of more than 500 media outlets from 35 countries, he said.

 

When Richmond hosts a world-renowned bike race in 2015, hundreds of thousands of Europeans and cycling fans will descend on the city and pack every hotel room within an hour’s drive — at least if Tim Miller’s projections prove accurate.

“This is bigger than just Richmond, Virginia. This is a world class event,” said Miller, the executive director of Richmond 2015, who spoke Tuesday at the County Club of Virginia during the monthly meeting of the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate.

The World Cycling Championships will consist of 12 races over nine days and feature the world’s elite cyclists, Miller said.

He said that, for professional cyclists, this event is as prestigious as the Tour de France. That could mean big tourist crowds and big bucks for Richmond, if everything goes as planned.

But between now and then, Richmond 2015 needs to raise $20 million for everything from setting up the grandstands and arranging private transportation for spectators to publicity and marketing.

Both Miller and city officials say the money will be well spent. According to Lee Downey, Richmond’s director of economic and community development who also spoke at the breakfast, the event is expected to attract 1,500 athletes and support staff, 6,000 from delegations and officials, and 450,000 spectators.

According to projections, the spectators should book every hotel room in a 75-mile radius, spend $95 per day for day-trippers and $236 for overnighters, and spend almost $80 million total in the city.

In 2011, an estimated 76 percent of Europeans watched at least some portion of the championships in Copenhagen, Miller said.

Miller, a former professional cyclist, said in a telephone interview Monday that Richmond 2015, a 501(c)(3) organization, needs to raise $20 million to provide support for the event and hopes to raise even more for a “legacy fund” that would pay for annual events after the races.

“We would like to see some community events, including competitive events and mass participation events,” he said. “I’m thinking something like the [Monument Avenue 10k]. A 10k on wheels.”

An estimated 300,000,000 viewers worldwide will watch at least portions of the television coverage of the event, Miller said. The city is also anticipating a media invasion of more than 500 media outlets from 35 countries, he said.

 

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Mike Ogilvie
Mike Ogilvie
10 years ago

It’s great to see people putting in the hard work to have great things happen for the Richmond region.

Thanks to Tim Miller and the Richmond 2015 organization for doing it!

Mike Ogilvie
Mike Ogilvie
10 years ago

On the Richmond 2015 site, they have a list of all the previous host cities. It seems like Richmond will be the first host ever for the United States. It’s not everyday that we get to represent our country to the world in such a striking way. Very exciting!

charles
charles
10 years ago

I think its a great event, and am psyched that Richmond got it. That said, I worry that projections are being overblown. I saw in the RTD today a comparison to Melbourne, which is just silly. Melbourne has a lot more in common with San Francisco than Richmond, and no we are not going to beat it. It will be a great event, but over-selling it is just going to lead to disappointment. Lets focus on the very real, undeniable, benefits it will bring to the city, especially the publicity. Richmond has an underdeveloped tourism industry, compared to its potential.… Read more »

Ethan
Ethan
10 years ago

@charles – The big difference between Richmond and Melbourne: about 100 million people live within a day’s drive, and it’s only a 6 – 8 hour flight from Europe (as opposed to 23 hours from Europe to Australia). I think that it is more than fair to assume huge numbers of tourists in Richmond as compared to Melbourne.

DaveM
DaveM
10 years ago

Yea, but Richmond’s biggest downfall is the lack of direct flights. Outside of service to major hubs like Atlanta, Charlotte, NYC, etc the options are limited. RIC’s little airport isn’t meant for a mass influx of passengers. A lot of the people will have to come through DC and drive the 2 hours. I agree with Charles in that city leaders are way overselling the number of tourists coming to town. Try explaining this event to the average citizen and most of them never even heard of it. I guess that’s why Richmond was alone in the US bid.

Patrick Maslyn
Patrick Maslyn
10 years ago

Keep in mind that the World Championships aren’t just one race. There are 12 races over the course of 9 days. The Mens Road Race is clearly the big draw, but the Time Trial and Team Trial will also draw well. And, the other races help marginally expand the interest and create reasons for people to extend their stay. Richmond’s remoteness certainly isn’t a positive, but I think that the average American under-appreciates the passion that the rest of the world has for cycling. Also, the cycling community in North America will be absolutely jazzed about this event. As for… Read more »

Sean Yeager
Sean Yeager
10 years ago

@Mike – The Worlds were hosted by Colorado Springs (USA Cycling headquarters location) in 1986. That’s the only other time it’s been in the US, though it was just outside of Toronto, in Hamilton in 2003. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UCI_Road_World_Championships @Dave – People will find a way to get here whether through direct flights or to DC, Raleigh, Newport News, Norfolk… You have to remember many Americans will come because they may not get this chance again for years. There are plenty of locations within a few hours that still put it within reach. And Richmond was the US bid for many reasons-… Read more »

Sean Cantrell
Sean Cantrell
10 years ago

@Sean-you’re right about folks reaping the rewards. Richmond is becoming a cycling hub, we had the Hand Made bike show and US Open recently, not to mention the growth of mountain biking over the last 10 yrs. I’m sure Richmond’s new Bicycling Coordinator will set up some test events to get folks excited for 2015! I think its fantastic we are getting the Worlds.

charles
charles
10 years ago

Ethan – I’ve lived in europe. I have lots of friends there. Melbourne is a place many Europeans want to visit – its on their list. Richmond just isn’t. We are close to 100 million americans. True. Most of them could barely identify a bicycle with a photo guide at hand. Sadly also true. It’ll be a great event, and I’m really glad Richmond got it. But lets not lose perspective, it’ll just make people disappointed, in what I’m sure will be a success by reasonable measures. I’m curious on whether anyone has stats on how things went in Hamilton… Read more »