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Kinder unveils economic impact of his bicycle baby, the Tour of Missouri

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 1, 2009 - Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, chairman of the Missouri Tourism Commission, laid out to the panel today the economic impact results from this month's Tour of Missouri bicycle race, which he helped create three years ago.

Today's release of the results by Kinder, the only statewide Republican officeholder at the moment, also is likely aimed at countering the cool reception the race and the commission has received from Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.

Nixon had initially cut the funding for this year's Tour of Missouri, but restored the money in response to urging from urban leaders (many of them Democrats) and bicycle enthusiasts. (Lance Armstrong weighed in with a call to Nixon shortly after this year's race concluded.)

It's unclear if the Tour will continue with any state money, or if enthusiasts and organizers will need to rely solely on private funds.

At today’s commission meeting in Branson, Kinder "pledged his support for a 2010 race and urged fellow commissioners to also support bringing the event back for a fourth year."

"The 2009 Tour of Missouri was met with tremendous support all across our state and I am proud to report that the numbers prove the same,” Kinder said in a statement, citing the race as "the largest sporting event ever held in our state.”

"Throughout the week, 500,000 spectators were estimated to have watched the race at one of the 11 host cities or somewhere along the 600 mile route, which passed through many communities in Missouri. In 2008, an estimated 434,000 spectators saw the Tour at some time during the seven stages. In 2007, there were nearly 368,000 spectators who watched the race. 

"The total economic impact by spectators during the seven-day event was $38.1 million, that’s up from $29.8 million in 2008 and $26.2 million in 2007.

“This year’s race was a huge success thanks to the tremendous efforts of each of our host cities, corporate sponsors, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Department of Transportation and spectators from across the world,” Kinder continued. “I am very pleased that for the state’s investment of $1.5 million in the Tour of Missouri, we were able to return over $38 million to communities in our state.”

Other stats:

  • During the seven day event, the average out-of-state visitor spent more than $220 per day during their visit, which averaged more than four days apiece.
  • In planning their trip, 83 percent of non-Missourians said the Tour of Missouri was the reason they came to spend time in Missouri.

The study was conducted by IFM Sports, described as "an international leader in sports marketing and research. IFM is a global company based in Germany with American operations based in St. Louis."
Kinder said that the Tour’s official website, https://www.tourofmissouri.com,, "received hits from visitors in 153 countries and territories. An estimated audience of 5.6 million people watched nightly highlight shows on the Versus television network and an estimated 1.4 million people watched highlight shows on Fox Sports Midwest and Fox Sports Kansas City."

This year's race also benefiting from the heightened ranking awarding the Tour of Missouri after the 2008 race by the International Cycling Union, the sanctioning body for professional cycling. According to Kinder, the Tour of Missouri is now "one of the top five races outside of Europe. The increased international appeal helped attract seven pro tour teams who competed just weeks before in the Tour de France."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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