Public money and the "spectacle"

Mar 19, 2010
218
0
0
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/basque-official-suggests-fans-should-financially-support-races

While this public official does not seem to apreciate cycling for what it is, do you think:

-Public money should be used to finance sporting events?

-Do you think fans should pay entrance fees to parts of the race?

-As cycling fans, how much would you pay to see a mountain top finish for example?

Personally I think yes, fans should pay. There should be barriers, big screens showing the race, bus link to the "hotspots" from near by pre arranged parking, and of course hot dogs and beer wagons. I'd charge 10€ for all that and expect 30 000 fans on my mountain top: 300 000€ plus the same again from sponsorship. Plus another 50 000€ for selling trinkets... 650 000€?
 
I've never been to a race in Europe, but I go to the Philly bike race every year. The past few years, they have sold tickets for grandstand seats right along the finish line. The organizers had to do this because of the huge financial issues and concerns that there wouldn't even be a race. I don't mind because I always watch from the same spot and it's still free there.
 
My main concern is having huge crowds. I like big crowds. If it could be proved that such a move provided no hit in crowd attendance and enthusiasm AND made lots of money i might be behind it.

But remember you are sacrificing one of cyclings big boasts. That we are 100% free. I think this principle in and of itsel is worth a lot and i dont know if its worth sacrificing, even for money.


Also, how do you go about collecting money from 500 000 people on Alpe d huez?
 
The Hitch said:
My main concern is having huge crowds. I like big crowds. If it could be proved that such a move provided no hit in crowd attendance and enthusiasm AND made lots of money i might be behind it.

But remember you are sacrificing one of cyclings big boasts. That we are 100% free. I think this principle in and of itsel is worth a lot and i dont know if its worth sacrificing, even for money.


Also, how do you go about collecting money from 500 000 people on Alpe d huez?
What they can probably do is sell VIP places, which grants you a place at the finish on the grandstand and also provides you with meal, a visit to a teambus (without riders in it of course) and most importantly a meet and greet with the podium girls (just naming a few things).

But the appeal for cycling is that it is accessible. Charging tickets for a 1 minute shot of a peloton racing by doesn't make it more accessible. At all times there should be free places available everywhere (also at the finishing line).

Since the past elections of the Basque government (which were dubious to say the least) they seem to have their priorities wrong. They wanted to scale back sponsoring for Euskaltel, but at the same time they have paid money to greet the Vuelta on different days. They are Spanish-oriented and I have the feeling the normal Basque supporters are going to pay the price.
 
Mar 10, 2009
140
0
0
I am against the fees even though I think people love cycling so much they would pay in the end...

just taking into account those 500.000 people, they bring so much money to the region when they eat, drink, sleep...and dont just stay for a night to see some match...
 
Mar 26, 2009
2,532
0
0
Aren't the fans at Japan Cup paying?
I can't remember correctly but anyway it's a circuit race so you see the riders passing more than once.
 
Nov 10, 2010
3
0
0
are we forgetting something?

I would like to know if those roads that host the races are roads paid for with TAX dollars from the public. If so, then that official already has his fee. The proper use of tax dollars is going to be a hot button especially with all the talk of austerity issues facing several countries in Europe and the US.

Trying to gather funds from a crowd on the side of the road that only sees about 2 seconds of a 6 hour race might be a hard sell. It would be akin to trying to herd cats. I can understand if you tried to sell spots for a criterium or Kermesse, but you still have the issue of the public roads. The stadiums where people go and watch sporting events do not get used every day, the roads do. Those stadiums are for the sole purpose of entertainment and not daily functional use. Roads are seen as a functional use item, not entertainment. There would have to be a huge shift in thinking for this concept to fly.

I don't see a big deal though to have a grand stand section with an unobstructed view of the finish and jumbotron.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I can imagine they could charge for grandstand seats in prime positions etc, but from what evidence Ive seen of that it kills the atmosphere.

The "Vip" grandstands at about £120 a ticket in paris are devoid of any atmosphere, and at the vip tent in london the major or bloody london was standing chatting to someone drinking champagne and not even watching the cycling when wiggins, arguably britains biggest rider at the time came in on his tt.

I heard that it doesnt even cost for the velodrome in roubaix.

Im not opposed to race organisers putting up grandstands and charging for seats at a reasonable price, like 20e or something. But the "exclusive" grandstands that charge 100e+ a seat can sod right off.
 
I've read some great ideas from folk here in this thread--my only concern about the entire concept of changing fees to the fans for the spectacle?
that idea is going to tickle in Pat McQuaid's greed and is going to make him push for it, so he can get a piece of the tart. :(
 
Mar 19, 2010
218
0
0
Interesting views here.

I think differently. I think road racing has a lot more to offer. Rally works on having special safe viewing areas. And people pay and it works, for example this super special:



I'm surprised people the idea of dropping your car of 2hrs before the race passes jumping on a courtesy bus and going to a fan zone with memorabilia, hot dog stands, beer and big tv screens does appeal.

The logistics could be organized to catch the riders at more than one point too.

That sounds like an awesome day out to me. I used to love motor racing more for the environment, that watching cars going round in circle and hearing the standings over a tannoy. I couldn't stomach nocturnal endurance racing though!

Honestly, even stadium sports are rubbish for viewing live. It's the atmosphere that's brilliant.
 
Oct 28, 2010
37
0
0
The concept of charging for a bike race has it's pros and cons, many of which have already been mentioned. While the solution would seem to be having paying areas set up on the course, even this has issues such as the general public being priced out of the best locations (finish lines, mountain top finishes...). We don't want to lose the atmosphere, so if paid entry is to be introduced the cost must be capped at a reasonable level and the availability remain public.

I'd be in favour of having a paid option available if the spectacle was enhanced for your money (something more than having access to hotdogs and beer). But something tells me that won't happen unless prices are high. Patxi Mutiloa seemed to be arguing that spectators should pay for what we currently see for free. That moves us too far away from the essence of cycling.
 
Jul 24, 2009
239
0
0
Here in the West Country, the the regions of Somerset and Devon reported a GBP 5 million benefit to the economy from hosting two stages of the Tour of Britain.

The Tour of Britain.

If that's the Tour of Britain, then the grand tours shouldn't need to start charging any time soon.

I'm ideologically opposed to charging except for those daft seating area things on the finishing line. If someone's travelling from Australia, or America, or the Netherlands to be on Alpe d'Huez, the French economy benefits quite well enough without needing to take the mickey by charging them again.

I'd really like cycling to visit even more deprived areas - what better way to introduce people to our sport than by showing how accessible it is for all fans, regardless of income.
 
Skip Madness said:
Here in the West Country, the the regions of Somerset and Devon reported a GBP 5 million benefit to the economy from hosting two stages of the Tour of Britain.

The Tour of Britain.

If that's the Tour of Britain, then the grand tours shouldn't need to start charging any time soon.

I'm ideologically opposed to charging except for those daft seating area things on the finishing line. If someone's travelling from Australia, or America, or the Netherlands to be on Alpe d'Huez, the French economy benefits quite well enough without needing to take the mickey by charging them again.

I'd really like cycling to visit even more deprived areas - what better way to introduce people to our sport than by showing how accessible it is for all fans, regardless of income.
Here in britain, i can think of at least a few "deprived areas" where having a cycling race pass would guarantee chavs taking shots with bb guns at the riders ala 2009 where freire and dean got hit.

But that 5 million figure is outstanding. I really dont see how it works. 90% of people at the TOB will live nearby and the TOB certainatly doesnt get much coverage.

Then again i never quite understood how a gas company like Liquigas can get money from sponsoring a cycling team. A bike manufacture maybe. A drink, no doubt. But a gas company, or a bank for that matter.
 
-Public funding

Yes, if that's good for society

-Entrance fees

No, keep viewing by the road available to everyone

If you start charging for certain positions you might get smaller numbers, which would be a disaster in terms of the spectacle.

Just maybe, you could charge a very small fee to ensure basic services on say, a popular MTF.
 
Jul 2, 2009
2,392
0
0
The Hitch said:
Here in britain, i can think of at least a few "deprived areas" where having a cycling race pass would guarantee chavs taking shots with bb guns at the riders ala 2009 where freire and dean got hit.

But that 5 million figure is outstanding. I really dont see how it works. 90% of people at the TOB will live nearby and the TOB certainatly doesnt get much coverage.

Then again i never quite understood how a gas company like Liquigas can get money from sponsoring a cycling team. A bike manufacture maybe. A drink, no doubt. But a gas company, or a bank for that matter.
On your three points:

1. They really wouldn't. The chavs pick on small targets, not those with crowds and police outriders.

2. 5m seems rather high, but they did have a L'Etape-style cyclosportive down there.

3. I read or heard a Liquigas guy saying that a large amount of their market is in rural communities and the Giro, especially, is a great way of reaching them.
 
Chatted with my other half about this at breakfast. As far as I see it, we already 'pay' in two respects:

1. Event entrance fees

We already pay at the big cyclo-cross events here in BE and I'm happy with it: it's a circuit-based event and you get parking and portable toilets etc, so you get your money's worth, plus it roots out the timewasters and the cretins who only want to get on YouTube.

2. Local economy

When the OHN and the Ronde are not passing through, Geraardsbergen is a sleepy old town at almost any other time of the year (correct me if I'm wrong, Gregg G and Il Fiammingo). They put in portable toilets (yes I mentioned them again, but having grown up with shoddy British public events, for me they symbolise a lot here) and they get bags of pitch / shop revenue.

Two things we discussed for which we'd pay could certainly be improved in our opinion:

1. Good faith contributions

We had a good thread on here earlier in the year about fans' impact on the environment. I would pay for my spot on the Muur if I thought they were going to use some of the cash for local environmental projects. And I would pay to keep the race and the tradition going - it was shameful that the Paris-Roubaix espoirs almost got canned for 2011 due to police budget reallocation. Times are hard, but €2 x 50,000 fans is €100k for the race coffers (provided that it's only for that and not the organisers' back pockets). Organisers can profit from the sponsorship and telly rights, the race can benefit from the fans.

2. Merchandising

Organisers need to sort out their merch. How hard can it be for a publicity caravan to contain one van that stops for 10 minutes to sell replica non-Chinese yellow jerseys or organic fibre t-shirts? Just as more gigs with more 'officially sanctioned' merch could save the music industry, in the same way it could help cycling. A friend of mine was at the Tour just a few years ago and all he could get from the whole race village was the last Le Tour umbrella they had. Come on, ASO!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The Hitch said:
But that 5 million figure is outstanding. I really dont see how it works. 90% of people at the TOB will live nearby and the TOB certainatly doesnt get much coverage.
Well youve got hotel accomadation for the entire tour, support team etc. People taking a day off to watch the race, spending it in local shops etc, people who travel into the county to watch the race, a fair few people will go down to north devon from wales etc. And the knock on effect from tourism I guess.

There must be a pretty good reason why devon/somerset have clubbed together and had the tob for three years in a row now.
 
If a town has got its act together, they can generate funds from the influx of visitors, even apart from the businesses in the town increasing turnover for a day or two.

I watched the 2007 TdF pass through Kent in Tonbridge: knowing that the race would only draw people's attention to the road for 1/2 hour for the caravan and 1/2 a minute for the riders, the castle and park each hosted a fair (medieval in the castle for the Mrs, sports themed in the park for me) lasting all afternoon, with plenty of stall holders playing handsomely for a pitch with a virtual guarantee of thousands of visitors, and day-licences to be sold to plenty of caterers.

Such revenue should have gone a long way to defraying the local costs of the race passing through. French towns are obviously well aware of the benefits, as so many of them plead and compete for the right to host starts or finishes.
 
Traditionally the moving caravan of a pro bike race in Europe is like a travelling circus, which, in the remote villiages of industrial, coal mining towns of the north, or the lazy, agricultural villiages of the south, allowed the proletariate (and most cyclists came form this class) a free oppurtunity to witness among the most human of sporting dramas in existence practically (in certain cases actually) pass by their front doors.

This has been both the beauty and raison d'etre of a non-stadium sport that has therefore represented a microcosm of the hardships, adversities and joys of the working class in the post-industrial era and has thus come to be signifed with them. And in this significance, they have found in cycling a reality which has intimate physical and symbolic connections with their lives. This is why in Italy cycling is regarded as lo sport piu popolare ("the most popular sport" - in the sense being of and for the people, not in being actually more popular than soccer, which it is not).

To ask the tifosi now to pay to watch what has hitherto been an open and free event running through their towns and the public's countryside, seems like a smack in the face to all their common struggles represented and acted out heroically and historically in the very unfolding of the races. Such affinity between the cyclist and the workers of society, has always been where the romance of the sport has lied for me.

In this sense the stadium sports, where private purchase is the only way to gain entrance to the events, seem much more congenial with the bourgeois society upon which the comforts of private wealth have been based in the collective idea of the developed world since the late XIX century.

Consequently let the non-stadium events in bike racing remain the greatest example of free collective entertainment there is, where everyone has the same chance at "being there" irrespective of income, class, race, sex, etc., and so let only the personal desire to watch from the mountainside or cobbled villiage alley or country path (often walking miles to get there) be the commanding rule.

Cycling race organizers have, and continue to have, other ways to profit, just like the local economies do well by having a classic or stage of the Tour pass by their shops and restaurants. I'm not for it.
 
rhubroma said:
I think the panem et circenses angle (if you'll excuse my brutalisation of your eloquence) is just one way of looking at it. I would be happy to make a small contribution provided it was used to support the wellbeing of the land and of the race. Sponsors will come and go but the flora, fauna and tradition should be eternal. In the context of the state of the world we live in today, some races may yet need our support to keep coming by every year. :)
 
L'arriviste said:
I think the panem et circenses angle (if you'll excuse my brutalisation of your eloquence) is just one way of looking at it. I would be happy to make a small contribution provided it was used to support the wellbeing of the land and of the race. Sponsors will come and go but the flora, fauna and tradition should be eternal. In the context of the state of the world we live in today, some races may yet need our support to keep coming by every year. :)
No I like your point and even more your use of Martial's famous expression.

It would be hard, though, to come up with a way to pay for helping to clean the environment in a manner that is distinct from the sponsors profiteering from us roadside spectators.

I can see the point about having fans pay for grandstand seats at the finish line (only here would I be willing to think otherwise, becuase they decide to pay for a certain priviledge a là VIP treatment). But again drawing the line between what for me is an undesirable form of profiteering and maintaining the romantic tradition of social solidarity that only a non-stadium, roadside sport such as cylcing can offer the masses, is a very tenuous divide.
 
Apr 1, 2010
459
0
0
I've never been to a bike race beyond the local Crit or Cyclo-cross event, but I think it would be worth a few (insert your monetary system here) to keep races alive. It shouldn't have to be a large amount, maybe 5 Eur to enter the Roubaix stadium, the Kapelmuur, Poggio, Alpe D'Huez and other iconic locations could help bring some serious money to the race without significantly changing the races atmosphere. I like the Idea that part of the money goes to the preservation of the area. I do agree with others here, that not all areas should have a fee, the "free to the public" idea of cycling is great should be protected.

All in all - if fees can keep the races afloat/profitable when they wouldn't be otherwise, then I'm all for them.
 
Oh I think the best way to continue to promote the sport in areas today where it has not been very popular, is to keep public access to the road events free.

In areas where the sport isn't of much interest and/or perhaps the economic plight of the masses isn't what it is in the West, then expecting people to pay is a sure way to make any initiatives dead in the water.

And if there is no money to buy the sponsors products anyway in those places then this naturally is a problem, but not merely a cycling one. By contrast in Europe where the sport is most popular, sponsors get a return on their investments or else there wouldn't be any. Thus no reason to move toward a privatization of event access through ticket sales. If not for the greater benefit of the organizers and perhaps the UCI, who already make out financially well and eat all the profits. I mean we're not talking about a bunch of poor slobs to feel sorry for who are putting on the major calendar events.
 
rhubroma said:
No I like your point and even more your use of Martial's famous expression.

It would be hard, though, to come up with a way to pay for helping to clean the environment in a manner that is distinct from the sponsors profiteering from us roadside spectators.

I can see the point about having fans pay for grandstand seats at the finish line (only here would I be willing to think otherwise, becuase they decide to pay for a certain priviledge a là VIP treatment). But again drawing the line between what for me is an undesirable form of profiteering and maintaining the romantic tradition of social solidarity that only a non-stadium, roadside sport such as cylcing can offer the masses, is very tenuous divide.
You're right about that distinction. :) On the subject of VIP treatment, that's a growth industry:

On the Muur van Geraardsbergen, before the Kapelmuur and 't Hemelryck brasserie, there is a fence running alongside the cobbles. Behind this fence, whose dense metal mesh is as tightly woven as you'd expect of a property boundary, are the grounds of a hotel.

On the day of the Ronde, the hotel erects a marquee, installs a couple of big screens and puts on dinner while you await the arrival of the race at its climactic and (typically) most crucial point. I looked into it for 2010 but I balked at the minimum €170, for which you got a finger buffet and free beer. And the VIP view from behind that fence. ;)
 
L'arriviste said:
You're right about that distinction. :) On the subject of VIP treatment, that's a growth industry:

On the Muur van Geraardsbergen, before the Kapelmuur and 't Hemelryck brasserie, there is a fence running alongside the cobbles. Behind this fence, whose dense metal mesh is as tightly woven as you'd expect of a property boundary, are the grounds of a hotel.

On the day of the Ronde, the hotel erects a marquee, installs a couple of big screens and puts on dinner while you await the arrival of the race at its climactic and (typically) most crucial point. I looked into it for 2010 but I balked at the minimum €170, for which you got a finger buffet and free beer. And the VIP view from behind that fence. ;)
Well the entrepreneurs will always try to take advantage of an opportunity I guess. :D

This is, however, a private initiative offered by a separate entity from the race organization, where nothing is enforced upon the common spectator, thus doesn't affect the spirit of free spectator access that has always been a special and unique element of pro cycling.

PS: Ohh how I'd love to be at the brasserie, though, watching the race after some good frittes and moules and a triple or two!
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY