Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jan 31st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

On a Roll

news_SprintFinish.GWRace 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.

This year, Santa Cruz once again hosts Tour of California on Tuesday, May 18. The Stage 3 finish line will be located on Beach Street, directly in front of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. As race day approaches, local coordinators and city officials are confident that hosting again this year will prove beneficial to Santa Cruz in the long run, though they warn not to expect any short-term miracles.

“Last year we really were not able to track anything significant directly in terms of overnight business,” says Maggie Ivy, CEO and executive vice president of the Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Center. “But the race was held in February, in a particularly bad month economically.”

But Ivy, and City Councilmember Cynthia Mathews, says that the point of hosting a leg of the race in Santa Cruz is to boost visibility for the city and encourage outdoors-based tourism. “The main objective we have in mind this year is positioning Santa Cruz, through visibility in this major race, as a destination for active recreation,” Mathews says. “We do anticipate there will be some immediate positive economic spin-off, but in the longer term we see it as giving us incredible visibility.”

news_PelotonClimbBut visibility comes with a hefty price tag. The budget for hosting the race this year has risen $120,000 from 2009, to a total of close to $200,000—the higher costs reflects 200 additional hotel rooms purchased by the city for racers, overtime staff costs for the city, and the price of providing additional police officers from Santa Cruz and surrounding cities on race day, among other items. At least $60,000 of that money will come from City Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funds, says Tina Shull, city council affairs manager, with another $30,000 in reserve if needed. “We’ll use the $30,000 if necessary, but I don’t think we’re going to have to go there,” she says.

In fact, the vast majority of the budget has been raised in other ways, says Jennifer Karno, the head coordinator for the race’s Santa Cruz leg. “We have had three main streams of funding, and all of them have been successful,” she says. “Sponsorship, events, and merchandise. Our goal is that with all these income streams, we can slash the amount that the Redevelopment Agency has contributed. The days leading up to the tour will be our big selling push.”

Karno, too, believes that the real benefits of the race are difficult to measure in purely monetary terms. “Bicycle racing is one of the most heavily spectated sports in the world,” she says. “It’s hard to have a measure on the incredible international and national exposure that Santa Cruz gets from this tour. It’s difficult to say, for example, how many people will plan on coming to Santa Cruz on vacation because they saw us on the news—you can’t pay for that kind of marketing.”

Ivy agrees, but says it will take three to five years before the results are seen. “In terms of long-term positioning and name recognition, it’s a phenomenal opportunity,” she says. “The imagery of last year’s race, where cyclists rode across the Golden Gate Bridge and landed less than two hours later in this coastal community—that’s incredible exposure for us from a marketing perspective.”

Despite the scope of the opportunity, officials say it is too soon to know whether the city will be able to host again next year. “It’s very expensive to put this on,” says Karno. “It’s an enormous amount of work from really just a couple of key members in the city making this happen. It’s a lot for the city to bear.”

 

amgen_how_doAmgen Tour of California, Santa Cruz Events

Spring Bike Week: May 9-15
Amgen Fun and Fitness Festival Saturday, May 15, 2010 - 9:00am
"Race Across the Sky" Amgen Tour of California Movie Night
Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 7:00pm
Stage Finish - Lifestyle Festival Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 11:00am
Stage Finish - Boardwalk's Beach Bandstand Entertainment
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 11:15am
Enjoy special FREE entertainment on the Boardwalk's Beach Bandstand throughout the day:
11:15am- Watsonville Taiko Drummers with Scotts Valley Tae Kwon Do Academy
12:15pm- Mountain Bike Stunt Show with Mike Steidley & Casey Holm presented by Kenda & Haro Bikes
1:00pm- Watsonville Taiko Drummers with Scotts Valley Tae Kwon Do Academy
2:00pm- Mountain Bike Stunt Show with Mike Steidley & Casey Holm presented by Kenda & Haro Bikes
Stage Finish - Breakaway Mile Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 2:30pm
Stage Finish - Bicycle Trip After-Party
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 - 4:00pm
See Listing of area events >

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots