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by Mark Zalewski
February 22, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Jules wins Tour de la Provence opener; Cycling Australia appoints former Victorian premier Steve Bracks to head board; One step at a time: Teenage phenom Adrien Costa looks to build on breakthrough season; Stig Broeckx continuing to make progress in recovery; Hearing delayed for doctor at centre of UK Anti-Doping investigation; Boardman: Froome is a statesman of the sport; Liège-Bastogne-Liège announces wildcard teams, route changes; First year team Aqua Blue Sport racking up wildcard invites; Pay to watch cycling from the roadside?; Emirates joins as sponsor of Team UAE Abu Dhabi; NASCAR champions ride for cyclist safety; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Marianne Vos; Space Horse Disc – Loaded Touring.
One of the beautiful aspects of cycling is how accessible it is to the masses. While you can buy fancy VIP access at the finish lines of many big races, one can also simply stand on the side of the road and watch the race go by. But some race organisers in Belgium are pondering how to monetize that in order to deal with the costs of putting on races.
Around half of the 22 organisers surveyed by Het Nieuwsblad said that charging spectators to watch the race in person will become necessary in order to cover the increasing expenses of producing the race. The notion was especially popular with smaller race organisers who have less budget from sponsorship and other revenue streams.
The 1.HC Nokere-Koerse already charges fans 5 euros to spectate in the final 30 kilometres, and the Ronde van Limburg is considering doing something similar this year.
“If I’m watching football with my children, everyone finds it normal that I had to pay 2.5 euros,” said Nick Nuyens, organizer of Dwars door het Hageland. “But if you want to see world class riders on the bike, it must be free. Weird.”
Organisers of the larger races like the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem said they have no plans to charge spectators. However, those races also have large cash sponsors, VIP packages and TV rights revenues to fund the events. The newspaper also has a poll asking spectators their opinion, with 28 percent saying they would pay to watch in key areas of a race.
Click through to read more at Het Nieuwsblad.