Pro Challenge cycling race host cities report steady sales tax collections without event | AspenTimes.com

Pro Challenge cycling race host cities report steady sales tax collections without event

Jason Blevins
The Denver Post

Cyclists head down Mill Street toward Hopkins Avenue in Aspen during the start of Stage 4 in the 2015 USA Pro Challenge. The race didn't return in 2016 yet host cities, including Aspen, reported sales tax increases for the month of August.

The absence of the USA Pro Cycling race that reportedly pumped $130 million into Colorado's economy had little impact on August traffic and spending in the race's longtime host cities.

Sales tax collections in Breckenridge, Aspen and Steamboat Springs climbed this August even without the race, which organizers said lured 1 million spectators every year since 2011. August 2016 revenues dipped in Vail, which last hosted the race in 2014.

"In Aspen, we understood the race would be a long-term payout. With the television coverage, this was a long-term play for positive effects on our brand," said Debbie Braun, chief of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association which helped organize the race in Aspen for five years.

The fact that visitation and sales tax revenues continued to climb without the race this August proves the strategy worked, the host towns' tourism cheerleaders say.

In Breckenridge, more than 5,000 people attended the August Spartan Race, which filled a hole left by the Pro Challenge. And those Spartan participants and spectators paid for their own rooms — unlike the Pro Challenge, which asked hosts to provide hundreds of free rooms to accommodate organizers, athletes and their teams every year between 2011 and 2015.

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