SBJ/January 22 - 28, 2007/This Weeks News

Dew Tour looks for leadoff site

Officials for the Dew Action Sports Tour know where the series will end in 2007 but still haven’t determined where it will begin.

San Jose, previously a Dew Tour
stop, is an outside contender for the
last of five slots.

The tour’s two-year contracts with the initial host cities of Louisville, Denver, Portland, San Jose and Orlando expired last fall, and officials will announce today that the tour’s second through fifth stops will be Cleveland, Portland, Salt Lake City and Orlando, respectively.

The first stop, however, has not been determined. Either Louisville or Baltimore is expected to claim it, though San Jose remains an outside contender, said tour president Wade Martin.

“It’s weighing the known versus a desire to expand geographically a bit and get into the East Coast,” Martin said.

A decision is expected for the event, scheduled for June 21-24, by early February, following a final review of the cities’ bids, which include marketing and volunteer support, venue opportunities and financial inducements.

Some sponsors and marketers affiliated with the tour are surprised Louisville remains a candidate. Portions of the event take place in the University of Louisville’s old basketball arena, which lacks the amenities of other arenas such as Amway Arena (formerly TD Waterhouse Centre) in Orlando, and some sponsors believe the market has not responded to the tour in its two years there.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said Doug Palladini, vice president of marketing for Vans, a tour sponsor. “They need to make a move.”

The tour’s decision to drop Denver in favor of Cleveland has been praised by most involved. In the past, many sponsors and action sports experts said the tour received little marketing support or publicity in Denver, characterizing the town’s treatment of the tour as no different than that of the circus when it comes to town.

Cleveland earned a strong reputation for embracing action sports when it hosted the Gravity Games from 2002 to 2004. Martin, who worked on those events, is familiar with the market and the logistics of staging the event on the shores of Lake Erie near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The move from San Jose to Salt Lake City was triggered by the tour’s decision to bump back its September date a week, so it wouldn’t fall the week after Labor Day. That pushed it directly into the start of hockey season and meant San Jose’s HP Pavilion would be unavailable for use. Salt Lake City offered an alternative with EnergySolutions Arena. The tour saw no need to leave Portland or Orlando. Both cities delivered the best three-day attendance in 2006, with 50,060 and 59,470 people, respectively. And Martin said the tour wanted to stay in markets that were working.

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