USA Pro Cycling Challenge Still Set To Lose Money As Lack Of Title Sponsor Continues
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge will hold its fourth edition this August, and event Founder & Owner Rick Schaden hopes that he will "lose only" $2M on this year's race, according to Jason Blevins of the DENVER POST. That would mean the event has lost more than $20M in four years, but it is "on track to turn a profit in year five" even without a title sponsor. The race costs $10-11M annually to host, and Schaden said, "It's not the kind of thing you sign up for saying, 'Boy we are going to get rich doing this.' It's a privately funded community asset. My father and I look at it as giving back to the community." Blevins reported the Pro Challenge does not have a "big title sponsor or vast conglomerate behind it, but it does have patient, wealthy investors." Schaden said that the race's lack of a title sponsor is "intentional." He noted that the U.S. Opens of golf and tennis, the Kentucky Derby and The Masters "don't have title sponsors." Schaden also said that "there are dangers that come with relying on a single entity." Not only does the race "hang on the whims of a single company, the race becomes part of that sponsor's brand, so when it becomes time to change title sponsors, new companies face the daunting task of re-branding." USA Pro Challenge CEO & Chair Shawn Hunter said that a title sponsor also "dilutes the value of the investment" of mid-level sponsors. Hunter said that those mid-level investments "will help the race reach break-even without a title sponsor." But Blevins noted a title sponsor "is where the profits begin." The other way to "make money in stage racing is through television," but "first you pay to get the TV time." Hunter "is negotiating now with NBC to increase last year's 23 hours of live coverage." But for Schaden to "see cash rolling in, it's going to take the right title sponsor" (DENVER POST, 4/21).