The national organisers of the Tour of Britain have hailed the success of the Northumberland stages of the race – and want to bring the race back to the county in 2017.
Figures from a new report from race organisers, Sweetspot, show that the direct economic impact of hosting the Aviva Tour of Britain in Northumberland was £2.13m.
The county hosted the event, the UK’s largest professional cycle race, over two days in September with 20 of the world’s best cycling teams racing across Northumberland to an exciting race finish in Blyth with a race start in Prudhoe the following day.
The total number of spectators who watched the race in Northumberland was 115,000. Of these 21 per cent came from outside the north east region and 23 per cent stayed overnight.
Coun Val Tyler, Cabinet member for Arts, Leisure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “Northumberland is an incredibly exciting destination for major sporting events and the legacy of a race like this is priceless – it inspires residents and visitors to get active and stay healthy by cycling, and it has promoted the county across the world as a fabulous place to visit.”
Northumberland County Council worked with Active Northumberland, sponsors Northumbrian Water and race organisers SweetSpot to bring the race to the county. Blyth and Prudhoe town councils also contributed financially to the event in their towns.
Over 67 per cent of attendees were inspired to cycle more often and over 10,500 children from 63 schools watched the race in an organised group.
Alastair Grant, commercial director from race organisers, Sweetpot, said: “The 2015 Northumberland stages have been a great success.
“We were delighted at the way the race was delivered and the way that residents and visitors really got behind the event.
“The race start in Prudhoe and the finish in Blyth were fabulous. The atmosphere across the whole county was wonderful and so colourful and the towns and villages really made it a special event.”
The race visited 29 communities in Northumberland and there were five organised community events.
David Hall, Head of Leisure, Strategy and Transformation at Northumbrian Water, said: “People across the county gave fantastic support to the cyclists and the atmosphere over the two days was unique.
“Schools, community groups and businesses and places like Prudhoe, Alnwick, Hexham and Warkworth really went the extra mile to decorate their roads, shops, churches, schools and high streets in the Northumberland colours. It was a fabulous event and we all hope to see the Tour back here in 2017.”
Mick Bennett, race director from organisers Sweetpot, said: “The race finish in Blyth was a great occasion with so many schoolchildren coming out in huge numbers and the community really got behind the Tour.
“We saw lots of support across the county and it was terrific to see communities getting behind the event.”
Over the two days, the TV audience average viewing figures for the Northumberland stages was over 300,000. The audience for the Stage highlights ‘Edinburgh to Blyth’ was 519,000 – the highest figure for all eight stages.
The programmes were broadcast by 13 Broadcasters in 129 countries or territories - a total potential reach of 116.5 million people.www.activenorthumberland.org.uk