Study: Tour of Mo. spectators spent $38.1M -

Study: Tour of Mo. spectators spent $38.1M

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- About half a million people watched the weeklong Tour of Missouri bicycle race last month and they spent $38.1 million, according to a study presented Thursday.

Spectators from outside Missouri spent $20.6 million, the economic analysis prepared by IFM Sports said. Those closest to the race course spent $5.6 million, while Missouri residents who lived farther from the race spent $11.9 million.

Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who presented the report during a Missouri Tourism Commission meeting in Branson, has been the race's most vocal supporter. He says it was a success and generated revenue for state government.

Missouri's three-year sponsorship deal ended with this year's race. The Tourism Commission had paid $1.5 million each year.

Some Tourism Commission members at the meeting questioned if the race was worth it, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

Marci Bennett, a Democratic member from St. Joseph, said the economic impact wasn't worth the cost for cities to sponsor the beginning or end of a race. The penultimate day of the 2009 race ended in St. Joseph.

"It's just a whole lot of work for 15 minutes," Bennett said, referring to how fast the cyclists speed through towns.

In Springfield -- which was on the race route last year but not in 2009 -- the city's tourism leader said youth soccer tournaments and a recent professional bull-riding competition drew more overnight visitors.

Kinder told tourism officials the race attracts international attention for Missouri cities.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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