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Records Set for Economic Impact and Media Coverage for the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 10, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two months after the completion of the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional stage race, event organizers confirmed that new records were set for economic impact, national audiences, and media coverage. A quantitative research study completed last week reveals that out-of-state spectators contributed as much as $14 million in direct economic impact for the state of Utah. Tour organizers also confirmed that national television viewership almost doubled from last year, media impressions grew by nearly 50 percent and the Tour earned $8.5 million in publicity value.

"The Tour of Utah has enjoyed tremendous growth this year. Judging by the excitement of the crowds, the cycling fans who tuned in online and on FOX Sports Network, and the positive feedback from the key stakeholders, the Tour of Utah has a solid foundation in place for the future. It is great to hear partners like the Utah Sports Commission confirm that the Tour of Utah has become one of the largest sporting events in the state. The gears have already started turning for 2013," said Steve Miller, President of the Tour of Utah.

Miller confirmed that next year's event would continue as a six-day, 2.1-rated UCI stage race. It will retain its position on the international cycling calendar during the first full week of August, Tuesday, August 6 to Sunday, August 11, 2013. The overall route and host cities will be announced in the coming months.

IFM North America, an independent and international leader in sports marketing and research, managed the survey process from data collection to analysis. This included measurement of economic impact, sponsorship awareness and spectator profiles related to the cycling event, which took place August 7-12, 2012. Data was collected by crowd intercept surveys at all start and finish host venue locations during race week - Ogden, Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Lehi, Salt Lake City, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort and Park City.

IFM NA worked in association with Dr. Angeline Close of the University of Texas at Austin to collect and process completed surveys during race week. They found that Tour fans stayed 4.3 consecutive nights for the event, and that 14% of the total attendance traveled from outside the state of Utah to watch the race. Of the estimated fans who traveled from out of state, the majority confirmed they visited Utah specifically to watch the Tour of Utah. The average daily expenditure for out-of-state spectators was calculated to be $353 per person, based on five comprehensive factors: lodging, food/beverage, transportation, retail/groceries, and other sightseeing/ entertainment. A total of $12-14 million in economic impact was directly linked to out-of-state fans.

The methodology divided spectators into three distinct groups – out-of-state fans, Utah residents who traveled more than 50 miles to attend a stage, and local residents who wanted to watch the event. Only visitor dollars from out-of-state fans were tabulated in the final report, so that the analysis aligned in a similar fashion with other Utah sporting event studies conducted by the Utah Sports Commission, one of the Tour of Utah's top partners.

"Utah has a solid reputation for hosting some of the best international sporting events in the world, showcasing Utah as the State of Sport for winter and summer. The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah has grown significantly in just the past two years and has become a centerpiece for summer, now one of the largest outdoor sporting events for our state," said Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission.

The Utah Sports Commission is focused on sport development to grow Utah's economy and leverage the state's world-class sports assets to enhance Utah's position in the global sports marketplace. In 2011-2012, the Sports Commission partnered with 44 world-class sporting events across the state. An estimated $1.8 million in funding was provided to sports events, resulting in an estimated $146 million in economic impact to the state of Utah. Twenty-seven of these events hosted also had a major national and international television component to them generating an estimated $46 million in media value to the state.

The Tour of Utah also generates solid exposure for Utah across multiple media channels. Media coverage of the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah grew 49% from the year before, with an estimated 37.2 million media impressions and $8.5 million in earned publicity value. It is also the second year for national television coverage on FOX Sports Network and live webcasting to a worldwide audience. FOX Sports Network aired 12 hours of live coverage over the six days of racing, reaching an average of 67 million homes. Live coverage was a significant factor in raising the number of households to 637,000 people who watched the race daily, an increase of 75% from the year before. The Tour of Utah web site received 113,000 visits during race week, with 362,530 page views. In addition, 64% of site visits viewed the Tour Tracker® component, which provided start-to-finish audio and video coverage of the race on the web site and with various mobile applications. The Tour Tracker® experience was viewed in 123 countries and had more than 10,500 mobile downloads.

The Tour of Utah gained attention in its eighth year in 2012 for increased race mileage, more elevation gain, and stronger international field of competition. The race route covered 543 miles of diverse and mountainous terrain with 38,500 feet of elevation gain. Mileage increased 33% and vertical feet of climbing increased 25% from 2011, solidifying the event as "America's Toughest Stage RaceTM". Seven of this year's 17 professional teams competed at the Tour de France, including the BMC Racing Team, which featured 2012 overall Tour of Utah winner Johann Tschopp of Switzerland.

The Utah Sports Commission supports the Tour of Utah as it looks to expand in 2013 to the southern part of the state. An exploratory committee has received positive feedback from more than seven communities interested in hosting the multi-day stage race in Southern Utah. The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. More information about the Tour of Utah and its partners can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com, with 2012 race archives on Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo.

About the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is a six-day, professional bicycle stage race along the Rocky Mountain's Wasatch Range. Known as "America's Toughest Stage RaceTM," the race covered 543 miles of racing with 38,500 vertical feet of climbing through some of Utah's most beautiful and challenging terrain. 2012 marked the eighth year for the Tour of Utah, which is now a UCI 2.1-rated stage race for the best professional cyclists in the world. The event is owned and operated by the Utah Cycling Partnership. Larry H. Miller Group of Companies continues as the title sponsor. www.tourofutah.com.

About Utah Sports Commission

The Utah Sports Commission is a not-for-profit 501c3 charitable organization governed by an all-volunteer Board of Trustees consisting of statewide sports, business, community, and government leaders. The Sports Commission was created to be a catalyst for Utah in its Olympic legacy efforts and to help enhance Utah's economy, image and quality of life through the attraction, promotion and development of national and international sports. The Sports Commission works closely with communities, sports entities, and organizations to provide event services ranging from the bid process, on-site logistics, volunteer coordination, sponsorships and promotional opportunities and other related services. For more information, visit www.utahsportscommission.com

About IFM North America

IFM North America is an international research consultancy that focuses on the value of sports properties and assets, and the economic activity surrounding sporting events, leagues and their communities. IFM is based in Germany, with an American headquarters based in St. Louis, Mo. Its clients have included Major League Baseball, International Cycling Union, International Tennis Federation and National Basketball Association. IFM NA has a strong background in professional cycling, having experience with tracking cycling audiences in over 65 countries and performing similar economic impact work for more than 10 stage races, including Tour of Missouri and USA Pro Cycling Challenge. In addition, IFM NA has had the privilege of working with many top cycling teams - BMC Racing Team, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, Team Type 1-Sanofi, and, previously, Team Highroad.

About Event Sponsorship Measurement

Dr. Angeline Close Scheinbaum is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in the study and analysis of sports sponsorship, event sponsorship measurement and impact on fans, sponsors and communities and non-profits. She previously worked at UNLV and the University of Georgia. She and her husband Ben Scheinbaum are partners in Event Sponsorship Measurement LLC.

Media Contact:
Jackie Tyson, Media Relations Manager
TourofUtahPR@pelotonsports.net * 678-362-6228

Photo Credit: Tour of Utah – Brent Asay.

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[Image] AC 3624 Levi and huge crowds PC finish
Source: Larry H. Miller Tour ofUtah