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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

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Tour Series brings big cash boost and lasting legacy for Barrow

THE CYCLE race which transformed Barrow town centre three months ago has been hailed as one of the most successful Tour Series events ever.

Pearl Izumi Tour Series Cycling, BAE Systems Barrow Stage. CHRIS WEST REF: 50063305B000

The event organisers SweetSpot have praised the organisation of Cumbria County Council and Barrow Borough Council, the inclusive community feel to the event and the support of BAE Systems and the Evening Mail in a new report analysing the Pearl Izumi Tour Series BAE Systems Barrow race held on May 15. The report also calculates the economic impact of the event, saying it gave the town a net economic boost of £100,393, with a slightly larger net economic boost to Cumbria of £116,770.

Local retailers, restaurants, pubs and taxi firms all benefited from the event, according to new research compiled by data analysts Frontline. The event has also helped create a lasting legacy of passion for cycling in the area.

It has been calculated that 12,000 spectators attended the race, putting Barrow on a par with far bigger cities hosting the ten-race 2014 Tour Series (Edinburgh had 13,000 spectators, Durham 12,500 and Canary Wharf 12,000). Of the Barrow spectators, 13% came from outside Cumbria, 85% of whom stayed overnight. The average spend of overnight visitors was £143.29 per group in the 24 hours they stayed and the average spend per group of day visitors was £88.09 (average group size was 3 people).

Two-thirds (66%) of spectators came with their families and 95% of visitors described the event as “very enjoyable”, with an average rating of 4.8 on a scale of 1-5. According to the survey, 67% of people said the race had inspired them to cycle more often.

The Barrow race scored the third highest viewing figures on ITV4’s highlights programme (330,000 viewers for main programme and repeat episode, behind Canary Wharf’s 428,000 and Stoke-on-Trent’s 419,000 viewers).

The event transformed Barrow town centre into an incredible 1.1km cycling circuit for the day, with community and amateur races leading up to the big event.

Local partners involved in staging the event included event sponsor Cumbria County Council, co-sponsor BAE Systems, Barrow Borough Council and emergency services. Local media partner North West Evening Mail also helped promote the event and help create a lasting legacy.

Cllr David Southward, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for economic development, said:

“It’s great news that a net six-figure sum has been generated in the local economy thanks to the Tour Series coming to Barrow. We already knew it had been a big success in terms of local people and businesses getting behind the event and everyone enjoying themselves, but it’s also important that local cash tills have also felt the benefits. We have forged a close working relationship with the organisers of the Tour of Britain and Tour Series and recognise the economic boost that events like this bring to the area. We are already working with them on options for future years.”

Jackie Arnold, Head of Strategy at BAE Systems Submarines said: “We are delighted that we helped bring such a high profile race to Barrow that the whole community enjoyed. We support a range of community initiatives through our corporate responsibility strategy to help strengthen the local economy, so the race generating such a boost for Barrow is very welcome news. It was a perfect opportunity to show visitors what a great place Barrow is to live and work.”

Mayor of Barrow Cllr Marie Derbyshire said: “I’m particularly pleased to see that Barrow did so well in terms of television viewing figures as it really was a great opportunity to showcase the town to a wider audience. Hopefully we will enjoy the economic benefits not only on the night itself, but in the longer term. It’s also great to see that the research showed that everyone enjoyed themselves and also that so many people felt inspired to cycle more themselves.”

Alastair Grant, Commercial Director of Pearl Izumi Tour Series organisers SweetSpot, said: “The success of the event is testament to the positive and helpful attitude of our partners at Cumbria County Council and their local partners in Barrow, plus of course the enthusiasm we saw from spectators, not just on the day of the race, but in advance of it too. The whole of Barrow seemed to embrace the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, and it has left a very positive impression in our minds, and the minds of our partners and sponsors, so we can definitely consider the Barrow race to be a huge success.”

The net economic benefit is calculated by analysing the spending patterns of 547 Tour spectators shown in a web-based survey. It takes the gross expenditure in the town at the event (£495,654) and then irons out the money that would have been spent in the town anyway if the event hadn’t happened, money that would have been spent in other local businesses if the event hadn’t happened and the ‘leakage’of money spent outside the area (eg petrol or a packed lunch bought at the start of the journey outside Cumbria) to calculate the net economic benefit of £100,393 for Barrow and £116,770 for Cumbria.

Of the £495,654 gross expenditure, the largest area of expenditure by visitors to the event was food and drink, with £110,042 spent. Other significant areas of spending included merchandise and sponsor stands (£72,717) additional shopping in the town (£67,140), entertainment (£44,610) and accommodation (£26,130).

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