Justin Robinson at the finish. © Joe Sales

Mud = $ for Bend. © Joe Sales

by Josh Liberles

Bend, Oregon – Based on just-completed research, cyclocross events can be significant money-makers for US communities. The USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships this past December brought 2,460 visitors and $1.09 million in direct tourist spending to Bend, according to a recent economic impact study commissioned by Visit Bend and performed by Central Oregon Research Services. This equated to $462,000 in labor income and 17 full- or part-time jobs.

Trying to convince your town to support cyclocross? This study is great ammunition to champion your cause.

“We could not have asked for a better turnout for these championships during one of Bend’s slowest tourism periods of the year,” said Doug LaPlaca, president and CEO of Visit Bend. “Not only was the short-term economic impact significant, but the editorial coverage and word-of-mouth exposure will have significant long-term benefits for the community as well.”

Visitors came from 43 states and stayed for 3.6 nights, on average.  Apparently some of the ‘cross community has some cake, too; those in town for the Championships were twice as likely as typical Americans to have household incomes over $100k.

The event could even have impact on the area’s hurting real estate market. According to the study, 10% of respondents were “definitely” interested in purchasing real estate in Bend as a result of their visit, while 39% were “possibly” interested. 42% of the participants had never been to Bend before.

“If we can get someone to visit Bend one time, we are confident that not only will they return, but they will encourage their friends and family to visit the destination as well,” said LaPlaca. “What’s more, with such a high percentage of event attendees indicating that they were likely to consider moving to Bend or buying real estate as a result of attending Cyclocross Nationals, there is an additional long-term real estate benefit to hosting events such as this.”

With the World Championships coming stateside for the first time ever – Masters in 2012 and 2013, Elites in 2013 – will you contribute even more than this to Louisville’s economy? Take the poll on the right of the home page.