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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kinder: Tour of Missouri "surpassed our expectations"

The 2008 Tour of Missouri brought $29.8 million into the state's, up from $26.2 million for last year’s inaugural tour, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder told a group Tuesday in St. Joseph, Mo.

An estimated 434,000 spectators combined watched the seven-day race at some point, the St. Joseph News-Press reported. About 2,100 people watched competitors as they raced through Kansas City, and 10,500 spectators spanned the St. Joseph to Kansas City route.

“This year’s race brought nearly $30 million of economic impact to our state,” Kinder said in a press release. “I am extremely pleased with the success of this year’s Tour. Though we faced very challenging weather conditions, with the remnants of Hurricane Ike passing through our state, our fan base was resilient and came out to see one of the most competitive professional cycling events ever to be held on American soil.”

During the course of the seven day event, the average out-of-state visitor spent over $270 per day during their visit. And in planning their trip, 77% of non-Missourians said the Tour of Missouri was reason they came to spend time in Missouri. A total of 72% of spectators rated the Tour of Missouri more highly than any other professional sporting event they had attended in the previous 12 months.

All figures are projections based on an economic impact study by IFM Sports, a firm Kinder said is regarded internationally for its sports marketing and research. Tourism comprised the bulk of the spending, he added.

The state has a contract to hold the Tour of Missouri again in 2009, but the future of the race beyond that is in question. Kinder, a Republican, is opposed by Sam Page, a Democrat who has said he is opposed to some aspects of state funding of the bicycle race. (Clarification: St. Louis Post-Dispatch political writer Jo Mannies wrote last week that Page says he doesn't mind state tourism money being used but objects to the use of about $250,000 from a state job-creation fund.)

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