Philly close to three-year deal with TD Bank

Organiser promises rider prizes will be paid

TD Bank is close to renewing a three-year term as title sponsor of the Philadelphia International Championships. Dave Chauner, president of the event's organizing committee Pro Cycling Tour (PCT) welcomes the thought of a lengthy sponsorship extension following the economic downturn that nearly resulted in the collapse of the nations iconic 250-kilometre one-day classic.

"They worked with us and many of the same people with Commerce Bank realized what a valuable branding opportunity it was," Chauner said. "It doesn't make sense to do it for one year and keep changing. We insisted on a three contract with our sponsors. We are still crawling out of the economic downturn but we are seeing a lot of interest in other sponsorships. I'm very optimistic about next year."

The TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships will continue in 2010 in its 26th season. Formerly the USPRO Championships, it has undergone three name changes in the last decade. It began as the CoreStates and was passed to First Union in 1998, and then Wachovia in 2002 and finally Commerce Bank in 2006. Last year, the Canadian bank Toronto Dominion (TD) bought the Commerce Bank and inherited the final year of a four-year term to sponsor the bike race.

No contract has been signed to date however, Chauner is optimistic that TD Bank will sign the dotted line soon. "The ink isn't on the paper yet but all deals are negotiated and the contract is in their hand. We have no reason to believe they won't sign."

According to Chauner, it costs two million dollars to run the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships. The race fell into jeopardy in August of 2008 when the city of Philadelphia requested the PCT cover nearly $250,000 in costs for police road closures and other city fees. The event also lost $225,000 from long-term sponsors CSC and last year's sponsor Rock Racing.

Furthermore, the tough economic crisis precluded long-time broadcasters WPVI-TV from televising the race. "I think the race ran extremely smooth and it was as good of a race as we've ever had," Chauner said. "In order to keep the event the way it was in the past, we have to get back to live TV. National and international coverage and that is what we've secured."

The Pro Cycling Tour confirmed a new media partner to be announced at a later date. "We restructured and worked a relationship with a major media partner to bring the race back to live status which will be a major support for the event," Chauner said. "We are creating a broader interest and more awareness of this event. I think this new media partner is going to be huge."

Chauner admitted that the Pro Cycling Tour has outstanding payments to make and the majority of those debts are owed in rider-prize funds. "We will pay them," Chauner said. "We have to wait anyway until all drug testing is back before we can pay prize money, usually in the fourth quarter. Its normal but, it is later than we would have liked and they will be paid."

At this time the PCT will not to bring back the Triple Crown series in 2010. The series included three events held over one week that began with the Lehigh Valley Classic followed by the Reading Classic and concluded with the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships. "We have no plans to add the other two races back next year," Chauner said. "We will keep our eyes open for additional sponsorship and we want to get that back on track for 2011."

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