Reno bike race could be asked to return tourism money
RENO (AP) – Organizers of the Tour de Nez bicycle race could be asked to return $20,000 to the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority because they didn’t deliver on television exposure.
Race director Tim Healion said organizers didn’t have the money to pay for a program to air on cable television’s Outdoor Life Network, and that having to pay back the money could doom the 14-year-old event.
The RSCVA, which works to attract visitors to Reno, said it helped sponsor the June event because of organizers’ pledge that it would produce and pay for the program – seen as a marketing tool for the region.
“We didn’t have the money to put the TV on,” Healion, owner of the Deux Gros Nez coffee house, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
“I was forced by my staff not to put a new mortgage on my house to do it. A half hour before the event, I called the producer and said we can’t do it.”
The RSCVA will try to reach a resolution this month, Vice President of Sales and Marketing Knud Svendsen said.
“We met briefly,” Svendsen said. “There really has not been a resolution to the quandary we both find ourselves in.”
Tour de Nez officials say while the television deal fell through, articles about the race appeared in dozens of newspapers. Many were in the San Francisco Bay area, an important market for Reno tourism.
They estimate newspaper and other media coverage had a combined marketing value of $1.7 million.
The RSCVA will suggest a resolution to its marketing committee, a special group of its board of directors, Aug. 15, Svendsen said.
The Tour de Nez lost $45,000 this year, and $55,000 last year, which is why the television contract was canceled, Healion said. It would have cost the event another $45,000 to produce the television show as promised, Healion said.
With such large losses year after year, paying $20,000 back to the RSCVA could kill the event, Healion said.