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Study reveals the economic impact of major UCI cycling events

Published September 9, 2019

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In 2018, the UCI World Championships and the rounds of the UCI World Cups in cycling’s various disciplines attracted some 10,000 athletes from 98 countries and were held in 24 countries on five continents.

For both athletes and fans alike, these competitions are among the biggest sporting events of the season, and not without good reason: a UCI World Championship crown or an overall UCI World Cup triumph represent success at the highest level.
The cities and regions hosting these events also reap some very significant rewards, among them a boost to both the local economy and their image. That was the finding of a study commissioned by the UCI and conducted by EY, and which focused on the UCI World Championships in road, track, mountain bike and Gran Fondo (a mass-participation event).
The study found that these four events generated an additional 60 million euros in economic activity for the local economies of the host cities and regions.
Held in Innsbruck-Tyrol (AUT), the 2018 UCI Road World Championships were a case in point: 
  • The event contributed around 40 million euros to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Innsbruck and the Tyrol region, the equivalent to 720 newly created jobs (in a year).
  • Visitors accounted for 89 per cent of the impact of the World Championships.
  • The hotel industry benefited more than any other from spending by foreign visitors, who spent an average of €74 per night as part of an average daily spend of €114.
  • Innsbruck and the Tyrol region made a big impact on visitors, with 85 per cent of them saying they saw the region as a future holiday destination, while 60 per cent of TV viewers said they wanted to visit the area.
  • The capital of Tyrol enjoyed increased visibility thanks to a total TV audience of 250 million viewers in 100 countries, 53 of them in Europe.
 It is a similar story with the other UCI events that formed part of the study (the 2018 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Apeldoorn (NED), the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Lenzerheide (SUI), and the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Varese (ITA)), which respectively contributed approximately 2.3 million euros, 11.5 million euros and 4.4 million euros to the GDP of the host cities and regions, while also leaving a sustainable cycling legacy.
UCI President David Lappartient said: “2018 was a year of spectacular and successful competitions, not least the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck-Tyrol and the Mountain Bike World Championships in Lenzerheide. I am delighted that the study conducted by EY in collaboration with the UCI has confirmed the extremely positive direct and indirect economic impact our events generate during and after competition. Our World Cups and our World Championships provide athletes with a magnificent stage on which to compete and are also strong drivers of economic development, in terms of cycling and tourism, in the regions that host them.”

Peter Arnold, a Partner in EY’s UK Economic Advisry team comments: “Cycling events have the potential to generate significant economic benefits to host regions, as illustrated by the range of examples showcased within this report. The broad appeal of these events and their ability to engage both local and international audiences can make them a great platform for host regions. By building connections with visitors and spectators, and by aligning these events with local economic and social policy goals, they can have a wide and enduring impact on a local area.”

Click here to read the EY study

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