Bike race sponsorship would cost $10K
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — The Crossroads Classic cycling event could call Salisbury home this year, but the proposed sponsorship would cost tourism officials $10,000.
The Salisbury Rowan Joint Tourism Marketing Committee, a partnership between the Salisbury and Rowan tourism development authorities, didn’t make a decision at its meeting Thursday. It plans to ask next week if Charlotte Sports Cycling, the group that manages the event, can offer a $5,000 sponsorship instead.
Executive Director James Meacham said that for the past several years, Salisbury has been one of five cities to host a race during the Crossroads Classic.
“They’ve never specifically picked one city as the host city for this event,” Meacham said. “They’re coming to us and proposing to keep the five-day race, but they would do three days in Salisbury and essentially position us as the host city for the event.”
Two local events would be added to the Thursday race through downtown Salisbury — a High Rock Road Race on Saturday and a City Park Race on Sunday. Wednesday’s and Friday’s races would be held in downtown Concord and downtown Statesville, respectively.
The sponsor’s name would be added to the name of the event — for example, “Crossroads Classic presented by Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.”
Meacham said this is a great, well-run event, but he doesn’t think it’s worth $10,000 to be a primary sponsor.
“We could probably get $10,000 in hotel revenue generated, but it’s risky,” he said.
He said it is worth trying to get the event to Salisbury.
About 350 participants per race are expected, and those who stay in hotels likely will stay in Salisbury, he said.
Betz McKeown, marketing and promotions manager for Downtown Salisbury Inc., said the cost does seem high and asked what Meacham thought the sponsorship was worth. He replied with $5,000, depending on how many people would stay in Rowan County and for how long.
More than 133 hotel room nights at $75 per night would make money for the local tourism industry, Meacham said after the meeting. If the sponsorship cost is cut in half, only 67 room nights would be needed to cover it.
Christine Wilson, a community volunteer to the committee, asked how many cyclists would be traveling far enough to stay in a hotel and how many stays the event has brought Rowan County in the past.
Meacham replied that there haven’t been many, because the participants were spread out among five cities on five different nights. He said he would ask for a breakdown of where last year’s participants came from and where they stayed.
Krista Osterweil, general manager of Hampton Inn, asked if the county could save money by spending it specifically on marketing.
“Things like event T-shirts and event banners — none of it will have an impact, because it’s just for the day of the race,” Osterweil said. “We need to be paying for things ahead of time that will get them here.”
Included in the proposal are local newspaper advertisements, articles in Endurance Magazine, event brochures and posters and the event website.
Meacham said he would ask a representative from Charlotte Sports Cycling to answer the board’s questions next week at a special meeting, where it will then decide whether or not to accept the sponsorship.
“We want the event and we want the business — at that time of year, we need the business,” he said. “But we want to make sure … it’s a good investment that has a return back to it.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.