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Background: I recently competed in the Tour of the Catskills in New York. Unfortunately, this year was the last year that this event will be held, due to financial stresses. I'm not very familiar with the costs associated with hosting a multi-day stage race - about how much does it cost to put on a similar stage race?

By "similar", I mean a 3 day stage race, consisting of a time trial, two road races, chip timing, leaders' jerseys (GC, KOM and points - at least 63 total @21 jerseys/stage) and multiple category races (5, 4, 3, P/1/2) for both men and women.

I'm having a difficult time finding resources online that give any sort of estimate for the costs of organizing bike races. I found this site which gave the numbers for a one day race (~$3K), but not only was this post from 5 years ago, it didn't look like the race had timing or leaders' jerseys and is not a multi-day event.

What's a typical cost (estimate) for this type of event?

Edit: I'm not looking for an exact number. I just want a ballpark answer; something to give me an idea of the financial resources it takes to run one of these events. For instance, even saying something like,

"I ran a road race last year with chip timing and it cost us $X. We didn't have leaders' jerseys, but a custom jersey costs about $Y. Therefore, for a stage race, you could expect to spend about $3X + $63Y"

would be really beneficial to me and anyone looking into hosting a stage race, since this information seems to be very difficult to find for cycling races.

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    Why not talk to the existing even organizers and ask them? Much of the cost is going to be specific to the location. – paparazzo Sep 4 '15 at 17:12
  • The Tour of the Catskills didn't have chip timing, so an estimate from them would be deficient. I'm actually guessing a lot of the costs will be independent of location for the most part (within a specific country, the US in this case). – altomnr Sep 4 '15 at 18:27
  • I don't believe that to be true. Permitting costs will vary by location at the state or city level (permitting on federal land may be similar across the country). Additionally, non-volunteer services will also vary by location and economy. – Deleted User Sep 4 '15 at 18:40
  • True, the exact costs will be different depending on location. However, one can still provide a valid, albeit rough, estimate of how much these events cost. For instance, you can tell me that a new race bike will cost around $3K...that price will vary depending on my area, but at least I have an idea what I'm getting into. I'm hoping this question not only helps me, but also helps anyone else by saying, "You should probably plan on spending $100K (or $50K, etc)". I'm just looking for an estimate. – altomnr Sep 4 '15 at 18:53
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    @altomnr I estimate $100k for a three stage race. – jqning Sep 4 '15 at 18:56
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If that event truly folded because of financial pressure one could assume the total cost of the stage race approached the revenue generated by the race which was likely between $65,000 and $80,000 based off the pre-registration numbers shown for the race on BikeReg.

With that said, I can roughly estimate some fees based off the USAC fee schedule, my personal experience with races my team produces and conversations I've had with other Race Directors:

  • $1500 - Volunteer food/drinks (~$10 per volunteer. Estimate this event needs 125-150 volunteers based on size of circuit and road race courses)
  • $225 - USAC Permits (Class D event, $75 per day)
  • $3359 - USAC Per Day Per Racer Insurance ($3.60 per racer per day)
  • $300 - USAC Chief Ref ($100 per day)
  • $240 - USAC Chief Judge ($80 per day)
  • $420 - Additional USAC Non-Moto Refs/Judges ($70 per day each)
  • $80 - USAC Chief Timer (Time trial. $80 per day)
  • $1260 - USAC Moto Refs ($70 per day per each)
  • $875 - USAC Officals Per Diem ($35 per day requiring overnight)
  • $2500 - USAC Officals Hotel Expenses (will depend on local rates, assumes 25 nights at $100 each)
  • $???? - USAC Offical Travel Cost ($.046 per mile)
  • $550 - USAC Additional 4mm event liability Insurance
  • $950 - USAC Non-Owned/Hired Motorcycle Insurance ($100 each named driver for first 5, $50 each after. Need 14 refs to cover stage 3 road race)
  • $600 - USAC Non-Owned/Hired Automobile Insurance ($30 each named driver, need 6 for stage 2 circuit race, 14 for stage 3 road race. Assume no overlap of drivers between day)
  • USAC Offical Travel Cost ($.046 per mile)
  • $1890 - Leader Jerseys (Voler Full Custom $63 each)
  • $1500 - Neutral Support (Sram $500 per day for 1/2/3 field, cost might actually have gone up)
  • $9320 - Prize List
  • $200 - Bib Numbers
  • $350 - Timing Chips (passive, $0.70 each)
  • $3300 - Timing Services ($3 per racer per day, $1,100 minimum per day. Note: Timing for the time trial may be higher.)
  • $1800 - Portable Toilets ($100 per day each. 4, 6, 6 needed)
  • $933 - Local Association Fees (Varies for different LA's but estimate at $1.00 per racer per day)

The following items will also need to be considered but could vary greatly based local:

  • Trophies
  • Other Hotel costs (Think Key race personnel/volunteers)
  • Onsite Medics (2 each day)
  • Onsite Ambulance (if required)
  • USAC Fees for any additional named parties on the insurance certificate
  • USAC Fees for any pre-race meetings with Officials
  • Fencing
  • Police Support
  • Generators
  • Tents/Tables/Chairs
  • City/County/State Permits
  • Traffic Saftey Plan
  • Announcer
  • Sound System Rental
  • Misc Office Supplies
  • Volunteer Safety Gear
  • Water/Sports Drink for Participants
  • Vendor Permits
  • Trash Removal
  • Traffic Cones/Saftey Tape
  • Signage
  • Street Sweeping
  • Road Repairs
  • Venue Rental fees
  • Fuel costs for pace cars/wheel vans

It is worth noting the way a stage race is composed can dramatically change the cost of putting on the event. For instance the Tour of the Catskills is a 3 day event but only has 3 stages. If the race was held as a 2 day event a number of costs such as those for officials, permits, medical support, neutral support etc. would be lower.

Additionally the sheer number of race categories and the fact all of the Stage 3 races are on the road at the same time increases the cost quite a bit. In stage 3 you have 7 separate fields racing at the same time which means you need to find and pay insurance for 14 moto refs, 7 pace cars, 7 wheel vans.... A more typical Amateur 2 day, 3 stage race composed of a road race, time trial and criterium or very short circuit race would be much less costly to produce than the Tour of the Catskills.

One thing not included above is an estimate of any in-kind sponsorship support received. At the very least you would want to make sure you have enough sponsors to provide prizes for any of the fields that are receiving merchandise prizes instead of cash prizes. Ideally you would want to find in-kind sponsors cover as many of the misc. services required by the race as possible. This can have a dramatic effect on the profitability of a race.

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