Planning for next year’s USA Pro Challenge bike race in Aspen is already underway. Despite some complaints this year because of road closures it appears the bike race has the support of local government officials and will become a yearly event. This despite a lack of evidence showing any economic gains for the upper valley. Aspen Public Radio's Roger Adams explains:
Steve Skadron is Aspen’s Mayor . This week Aspen Public Radio asked him what the was the economic boost from hosting the USA Pro Challenge bicycle race.
“It's a hard thing to answer," he said, "because what I want to say to you is, yes, there is valuable return to the city. But if you're asking me to kind of quantify that return based on sales numbers; did I see a spike in sales that day or the week of the race. The answer's no we didn't. So I can't say it does not return anything because the benefit will be, we'll know in the long run.”
It turns out the promise of long term economic benefits is about all anyone can truly say when it comes to big city backed events. Dr. Philip Porter is an economist with the University of South Florida in Tampa. He published a paper last month on the economic effects on cities that have hosted events like Superbowls and, as Tampa did last year, the Republican National Convention. Porter finds that there have been no benefits and in fact have cost more than they brought in.
More from Dr. Philip Porter:
Link to Tampa Bay Times report on economic impact of the Republican National Convention on Tampa in 2012.