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Amgen Bike Race Not Stopping In San Diego This Year; Escondido Not Disappointed

The Amgen bike race this summer will run from Sacramento to Pasadena, not even passing though San Diego. The route changes every year, but the city that hosted the start line, Escondido, was not disappointed by the decision.

Alfredo Velazco

Cyclists on the San Diego backcountry route of the Amgen bike tour, 2013

Aired 2/21/14 on KPBS News.

The route of the Amgen Bicycle Race will not include San Diego this year. Escondido, which hosted the starting line last summer, lost money on the enterprise.

In 2013, the well-known bike race was touted as a way to draw international attention to the city of Escondido. But it did not pay off the way Escondido city officials had hoped. In fact it cost the city more than $300,000.

Assistant City Manager Joyce Masterson said, after assessing the financial impacts, the city decided not to apply to be a host city again this year. Escondido ended up spending much more on the event than it profited in revenues.

“Because of some of the requirements that Amgen has, it makes it difficult,” Masterson said. “All of our hotels were full, so we did have a bump, but if we had had a three-star hotel, that would have been much better.”

Because of a requirement to put the athletes up in three-star hotels, they ended up staying in nearby Rancho Bernardo, which pays a transient occupancy tax to the city of San Diego.

Masterson said the city’s attempts to get local sponsorship was also hampered by a requirement that no sponsors compete with national sponsors. As an example, that excluded Escondido-based Stone Brewing Company from advertising since Anheuser-Busch was a national race sponsor.

Race day temperatures in Escondido soared to more than 100 degrees at 9 in the morning, and that did not help turnout.

The final tally showed the city invested $546,257 in the event, and only received about $173,914 in revenues and reimbursement.

Masterson said the city did see a 12 percent jump in TOT or tourist taxes from the year before.

The Escondido City Council did not consider the event a failure, Masterson said, because Escondido gained national and international media attention. But city leaders decided last summer to wait till they have a three-star hotel before applying to host such an event again.

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