Strong Numbers for 2007 Attendance and Economic Impact Continue to be Legacy for Tour de Georgia
In Five Years Tour Has Generated 2.8 Million Spectators and $148 Million Direct Economic Impact
Having completed the fifth edition of the Tour de Georgia one month ago, the impact of America's premier, professional cycling event and rolling festival continues to be positive on several levels. Over half a million spectators (515,000) watched the Tour de Georgia from April 16 to 22 along its 667-mile route. And for the fourth consecutive year, detailed crowd intercept survey reports have found that the economic impact has surpassed $26 million for the fourth consecutive year.
The 2007 Tour de Georgia generated a direct economic impact of $27.56 million into the economy. As a destination to showcase the diverse tourism assets for the state of Georgia, the Tour has proven that it is indeed a sports property that is more than a bicycle race. In just five years since its inception, the Tour de Georgia has produced big numbers 2.8 million spectators and $148 million direct economic impact to the state of Georgia.
In addition, the Tour shines a spotlight on its host state and 12 Host Venues that generates a positive indirect impact throughout the year. More than 50 million people worldwide viewed the Tour de Georgia through international video news feeds and telecasts, plus historic record on-line views through daily streamed feeds of live race action. Over 400 credentialed media covered the race throughout the seven days and contributed to the Tour's overall 639 million media impressions generated worldwide.
"The Tour de Georgia helps keep Georgia on the world stage," said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the agency that serves as a marketing arm for the state and presenting sponsor of the Tour de Georgia. "It's a signature event for our state with well-documented economic impact that filters from the communities it touches throughout the state. We commend Medalist Sports and AT&T, United Community Bank, Cox Enterprises, GE Energy and all our fellow sponsors who stepped up to support the Tour." GDEcD has been the presenting sponsor for the Tour since its inception in 2003.
The direct economic impact outcome of $27.56 million reflects a 5% increase over 2006 ($26.2 million). The number was derived from over 1,700 intercept surveys that were completed by individuals over the seven-day event. These individuals specifically stated that they were at a Host Venue to see the Tour and were from out of state. Analysis of the data was conducted by Input Technologies and North Georgia College and State University.
"We are proud that in five years we have been able to continue the momentum as a top-rated, international sporting event, as a significant annual event that drives tourism dollars into the local economies, and also as a vehicle to promote awareness and funding for cancer research with the Georgia Cancer Coalition. It is a true success story of a public-private partnership," said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports, the sports agency licensed to operate the Tour, who has been involved with the event since its start in 2003.
Dry weather and a highly competitive professional field of athletes, including five teams who have competed in the Tour de France, accounted for driving Tour attendance over the half million mark for the fourth consecutive year. There were over 80,000 people along the final circuit course in downtown Atlanta on Sunday, April 22 and an estimated 40,000 spectators leading into the signature Brasstown Bald Mountain climb.
"The crowd was remarkable all week. Events like this have a profound impact on young minds. I know from my own conversations and experiences that there will be a young American standing on an international podium somewhere in six or seven years who saw this event and got interested in this sport as a result of seeing it (here in Georgia)," said Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling.
The Tour de Georgia focuses each season on being a sports property that is more than a bike race. The positive economic impact is also complemented by positive publicity and fundraising generated for the official beneficiary, the Georgia Cancer Coalition. The 2007 Tour de Georgia reached its highest level in five years fundraising dollars for The Coalition, with donations pledges totaling over $80,000.
"As a partner with the Tour de Georgia for a fifth consecutive year, we are very pleased to see that the event continues to strengthen in many areas. This year we saw a 60% increase in fundraising from just the year before. Both the BriarRose Grand Peloton and the Live Healthy Georgia Expo remain the centerpieces for us to engage visitors from across the state and make a positive impact in funding cancer research. It's a very rewarding partnership," said Bill Todd, president and CEO of the Georgia Cancer Coalition.
The majority of the donations were generated by the second annual BriarRose Grand Peloton, a recreational bicycle ride that attracted over 100 participants. New fundraising activities for 2007 included a juke box raffle from Waffle House, a Lexus of South Atlanta vehicle raffle in Peachtree City and a recreational bicycle event hosted by Jittery Joe's in Buford, Ga.
The Tour de Georgia gained international stature in 2004 when Tour de France champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong won the event. In 2005 the Tour de Georgia was elevated to a 2. Hors Classe (2.HC) road cycling competition by the world's governing body of the sport, the Union Cycliste International (UCI). This made the Tour de Georgia one of the highest rated stage races outside of Europe, and gained the distinction as a tune-up event for the world's best cyclists who planned to compete in the Tour de France in July. And this year, at 667-miles of racing, the Tour de Georgia became the longest professional stage race in North America. The 2007 Tour was won by 23-year-old rising star Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia) of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team.
ABOUT THE TOUR DE GEORGIA
The Tour de Georgia is North America's premier, professional cycling event and rolling festival of community activities. The Tour was first held in 2003 and has become a spring tradition with a varying route of over 650 miles of racing. Over 2.8 million spectators have traveled to Georgia to watch the event in the past five years, and direct economic impact has totaled over $148 million. The event is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (2.HC ranking), and USA Cycling, Inc. (USA Cycling Pro Tour Calendar), making the event one of the top stage races for elite athletes around the world. Two of the past four winners have also on the Tour de France, including 2004 champion Lance Armstrong. The Tours official beneficiary is the Georgia Cancer Coalition. The Tour de Georgia is owned by the Georgia Partnership for Economic Development (GPED) and is managed by Medalist Sports (www.medalistsports.com). Route maps, host venue information, merchandise offerings and sponsor news are available at the official website, www.tourdegeorgia.com.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state's sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a location for film, video and music projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. For more information, please visit www.georgia.org.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA CANCER COALITION
The Georgia Cancer Coalition is an independent, 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization located in downtown Atlanta. The Coalition was incorporated under the laws of the state of Georgia effective July 27, 2001. Both the Internal Revenue Service and the Georgia Department of Revenue have granted tax-exempt status to the Coalition. The mission of the Georgia Cancer Coalition is to reduce the number of cancer deaths in the state. In so doing, Georgia intends to become a national leader in cancer control by accelerating prevention, early detection, treatment and research. The Georgia Cancer Coalition brings together leading Georgia hospitals, universities, biotech firms, civic groups, non-profits, and government agencies to provide cancer research, prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer. The Coalition was created to coordinate cancer-dedicated expenditures from the State's share of the National Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund. The Coalition is registered as a Charitable Organization with the Secretary of State. The official website is www.georgiacancer.org.
ABOUT MEDALIST SPORTS
Medalist Sports is a full-service international sports marketing company. Medalist Sports specializes in the planning, promotion and management of multi-day, multi-jurisdiction sports and special events. The Medalist Sports team has experience in all facets of the successful management and promotion of world-class sporting events. Clients and event experience include the Tour de Georgia, Amgen Tour of California, Tour of Missouri, USA Cycling Professional Championships and the Lance Armstrong Foundation/LiveStrong Challenge Series. Medalist Sports' headquarters are located south of metro Atlanta at P.O. Box 415, Tyrone, GA 30290. The company website is www.medalistsports.com.
ABOUT INPUT TECHNOLOGIES
Input Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of data automation solutions aimed solely at automating all the mission critical data acquisition activities of organizations. Input does this by extracting data from documents like demographic questionnaires, invoices, employee related documentation, loan applications and checks and also from electronic input media like web pages, PDF etc. The company has more than 50 years of cumulative experience in business process optimization and integration with special attention in data collection for companies. The role Input Technologies, Inc. played in the Ford Tour de Georgia was to design demographic questionnaires, extract and collect data from the completed questionnaires and to assist with the analysis of the data. For more information visit, www.inputtech.com.
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