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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tour of Missouri: More about economic impact

In the past few years, I've taken the progressive political blog Fired Up! Missouri to task for its criticism of the Tour of Missouri. Rather than basing its arguments against state funding upon facts and critical thinking, it's been guilty to using hyperbole and loaded terms such as "French-style bicycle race" to attempt to make it points.

But I have to laud Fired Up! Missouri for obtaining the full economic impact study for the 2009 Tour of Missouri. Neither Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder nor Tour of Missouri organizers released the report when they issued a press release about the impact study. However, Fired Up! Missouri obtained the document through a Missouri Sunshine Law and posted it at Scribd.

The author of the most current Fired Up! Missouri article, Sean, believes the crowd estimate of 71,000 for the end of Stage 4 in Jefferson City is a bit too high. He also doubts the race had an economic impact of $5.4 million on Missouri's capital city.

Sean may be onto something here. For example, the study says 26,250 people attended the finish of Stage 2 in Cape Girardeau. At the time, the Southeast Missouri newspaper reported a crowd of just 5,000 for the Stage 2 finish.

The study, produced by St. Louis-based IFM North America, estimates a total of 500,000 people watched the Tour of Missouri this year and had an economic impact of nearly $38.1 million on the state.In particular, the study noted an increase in spending by non-Missouri residents, from $15.6 million in 2008 to $20.6 million in 2009.

The future of the Tour of Missouri remains in question as state leaders will debate in 2010 whether to continue state support of the race. No doubt, the demise of the Tour of Georgia in 2010, the second straight year that race has been cancelled, has to make one wonder whether there will be sufficient private support of the Tour of Missouri should the state not provide money for the race.


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Roger 3 comments links to this post 12:50 AM

Perhaps Lt. Gov. Kinder and company are taking the advice of Missouri's native son, Mark Twain, who said:
"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."
Those crowd counts – with the exception of St. Louis and Kansas City – are completely fabricated.

You only have to look at the photos of the stage starts and finishes to see the proof.

What a farce.
Organized rides suck.
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