Race organizers, city officials hope the high cost of being an AMGEN host pays off
On a rainy afternoon last February, nearly 15,000 people gathered in Downtown Santa Cruz to watch as bicycle superstar Lance Armstrong streaked into town, one blur of a jersey among many, as part of the Amgen Tour of California, the grueling nine-day, 750-mile bike race along the length of the state.
The city spent close to $80,000 to host the Stage 2 finish line, hoping that it would act as an immediate boon for local business and tourism. They were disappointed. City reports concluded that the overall revenue from sales tax was minimal and that hotel occupancy numbers didn’t experience a significant rise, although some downtown businesses—mainly coffee shops and restaurants—did see substantially increased profits the day of the race.