For the second year in a row, the Tour of the Gila bicycle race has lost its title sponsor. Outside Magazine has declined to renew as the title sponsor, citing a different marketing direction. "They have changed their strategy on how they're participating and because they've changed their strategy, we had to change ours," Outside spokeswoman Josephine Parr told the Associated Press on Monday. "But I understand it's a beautiful race and some of our editors participated on a personal level last year and I think they will again this year."
Previous to Outside Magazine, National Geographic Adventure Magazine was the main sponsor but withdrew for 2005. Race co-director Jack Brennan said the 20th edition of the race will take place without a title sponsor even though it will mean a loss of $10,000, or 10 percent of the budget. He added that the tour has lasted this long because of the community's financial support, volunteers and the help of various government agencies.
Tour sponsorship director Lanny Olson said the annual race is recognized as a quality event on the National Racing Calendar, but it's also one of only two races in the series that aren't in major metropolitan areas. That means no television coverage, which is critical to corporate sponsors.
"The race brings about 800 people to Silver City and keeps them here for five days," he told the AP. "It's probably the best week of the year for area hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and local merchants in general."
Olson says that the community will find a way to replace the ten percent void Outside Magazine is leaving. "There's no budget cut," he said Monday. "We're gonna make that up from other sources of funding. We're just gonna need to build upon the local support that we already have."