‘Bike City’ reaps rewards

2014-09-11 00:00

SINCE the concerted effort to position Pietermaritzburg as Africa’s “Bike City” began in 2008, the collaboration between Cycling South Africa, event organisers and the province of KwaZulu-Natal has triggered economic revenue of over R170 million in the region, with associated media exposure and marketing value estimated at over R5 billion.

These figures emerged as part of a review of the past six years partnership to attract top cycling events to the city, one of only three worldwide to be formally endorsed by the international governing body the Union Cycliste International (UCI) as a global “Bike City”, the others being Copenhagen and Melbourne. The province committed R49 million to the hosting costs over this time period, which offered a huge return on investment for the province.

Between 2008 and 2014 the city has been responsible for hosting 27 different cycling events, from the national BMX championships to the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships in 2013 and the MTB Marathon World Championships in June of this year — two of the biggest mountain biking events in the world.

Over this time period R171 million in direct spend has been generated in businesses in the region from hosting the events, this is in comparison to the R49 million that it has cost the province to host the events which shows the success of these events.

Having hosted three UCI MTB World Cups at the Cascades MTB Park the UCI granted the city the opportunity to host its flagship mountain biking event in 2013 and when the numbers were crunched the MTB and Trials World Championships were responsible for generating a benefit of over R35 million. This is in contrast to the R5 million that was spent on hosting the global showpiece.

International events have formed the backbone of the recent success of Pietermaritzburg as a cycling hub with the 2010 UCI BMX World Championships at the Royal Showgrounds proving to be a successful platform layer for the rest of the international events that the city has organised. A vital aspect when it comes to revenue generated is television and media. These two elements have played a significant role in the success of these events in the past.

The province is not prepared to rest on its laurels when it comes to hosting major events and has developed a jam-packed schedule that already began in 2014 and heads into the next four years with a few MTB and BMX World Cup events as well as the African Continental Championships for both track and road in 2015.

With two African continental titles up for grabs in Pietermaritzburg in 2015 the city is also going to be hosting the UCI African Confederation Cycling Forum that will bring together the cycling bodies from all over the continent to discuss the future of the sport in Africa.

2016 will be the next year that the city will be hosting a World Championship with the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships using Pietermaritzburg as its chosen venue for the showpiece event. This will bring the total of World Championships hosted in Pietermaritzburg to six — the most ever by one city worldwide. It is also planned to stage the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships in the city.

Statistics

Number of events from 2008 to 2014 - 27

Total international and national riders + crew - 23 222

Total international and national media + officials - 1 529

Total number of international and national visitors (spectators) - 123 350

Total number of participants (riders, crew, media, spectators etc) - 148 101

Number of participants per event - 5 485

Foreign participants as a % of national participants - 16%

Total revenue raised for hosting the events - R170 553 040

Total no of TV hours: local & international - 1 700

Total number of events (2008 to 2018) - 71

Upcoming major events

2014

African Continental Champs - BMX October

Amashova - UWCT October

Development Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Road Series All Year

2015

African Continental Champs - Road February

African Continental Champs - Track February

International MTB Festival April

Karkloof Classic MTB Challenge May

UCI 1.2 Men & Women Road May

BMX National Championships July

UCI Africa Confederation Cycling Forum August

Amashova - UWCT October

Development Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Road Series All Year

2016

UCI Elite Track Challenge January

Para Cycling Track World Championships March

International MTB Festival incl XCO World Cup April

Karkloof Classic MTB Challenge May

UCI BMX Supercross World Cup May / June

UCI 1.2 Men & Women Road May

Amashova - UWCT October

Development Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Road Series All Year

2017

UCI Elite Track Challenge January

CSA Super Series - BMX, MTB, Road, Track & Para February

International MTB Festival April

UCI BMX Supercross World Cup May / June

UCI 1.2 Men & Women Road May

Development Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Road Series All Year

2018

UCI Elite Track Challenge January

African Super Series - BMX, MTB, Road, Track & Para February

International MTB Festival incl XCO World Cup April

UCI 1.2 Men & Women Road May

UCI BMX World Championships August

Development Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Series - MTB & BMX All Year

Provincial Road Series All Year

SA Track Championships January (2019)

African Super Series - BMX, MTB, Road, Track & Para February (2019).

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