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Friday, October 02, 2009

Tour of Missouri: Economic impact

Despite a weak economy, the 2009 Tour of Missouri still managed to have an economic impact of $38.1 million, according to figures released Thursday by Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

That's up from $29.8 million in 2008 and $26.2 million in 2007. No doubt, adding a seventh stage of the race helped that figure.

Throughout the week, up to 500,000 spectators were estimated to have watched the race at one of the 11 host cities or somewhere along the 600-mile route which passed through many communities in Missouri. In 2008, about 434,000 people saw the race.

The study, conducted by IFM Sports, noted spectators from outside Missouri spent $20.6 million.

Not everyone is thrilled about the impact of the Tour of Missouri. Marci Bennett, a member of the Missouri Tourism Commission from St. Joseph, said the economic impact isn’t worth the cost for cities to sponsor the beginning or end of a race.

“It’s just a whole lot of work for 15 minutes,” Bennett said in an Associated Press story, referring to how fast the cyclists speed through towns.

Kinder is hoping the commission will continue its commitment to the race. The contract with Medalist Sports to run the race expired after this year's event.

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