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Coalition announces quest to bring Ironman to Central Oregon

    The Central Oregon Visitors Association (“COVA”), Oregon Sports Authority and two Bend, Oregon companies, local promoter Lay It Out Events and sports business consultant G2 Strategic, announced today that they have partnered to form a coalition to bid for Central Oregon to host a West Coast United States Ironman® event starting in Fall 2013.

    The coalition will respond to a Request For Proposals (RFP) issued by Tampa, Florida-based World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The group must submit its proposal by January 31, 2012.

    WTC currently owns, operates or produces over 90 Ironman® and Ironman 70.3® events worldwide, annually, on six continents and 30 countries. While WTC offers several Ironman 70.3® events on the West Coast, they will add a full-distance Ironman® staged in Washington, Oregon or California, where there are currently none. A full-distance Ironman® event includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run. WTC intends to award the event for a 5-year term.

    “We are thrilled about the potential to bring an Ironman® event to Central Oregon,” said COVA President & CEO, Alana Hughson. “These athletes, sponsors and their traveling parties will fill our hotels, restaurants and other attractions,” said Hughson.

    Based on economic impact analysis provided by WTC, an Ironman® event could bring as many as 10,000 people to Central Oregon over the course of several days, including 2500-3000 athletes, families and sponsors. In some communities, direct spending reaches as high as $10 million, and hotel bookings typically run from 8000-12,000 room nights over a 4-5 day period.

    “We think there is no better place than Central Oregon to host an Ironman® event,” said Lay It Out Events President Aaron Switzer. “We have wonderful resorts and hotels throughout the region, a great downtown core in Bend, a vibrant athletic and cultural community and some of the most scenic and challenging routing options in the world in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook Counties. I’m sure we will face plenty of excellent competition, but we are optimistic that all of the stakeholders in our community will rally around the opportunity to host an event of this magnitude.”

    Oregon Sports Authority Executive Director Drew Mahalic added, “This would be a real coup if we can help our coalition secure an Ironman® race for Central Oregon. It directly aligns with our statewide promotion of a wide-range of athletic events and healthy lifestyles. Moreover, the demographics of the approximately 10,000 athletes and guests that can be expected are very attractive, with an average household income of $174,000.”

    The coalition is in the process of structuring its proposal and analyzing various bid options. “We want to put our best foot forward,” said G2 Strategic CEO Marshall Glickman. “This is why it is so important that we are able to partner with our regional tourism agency, as well as the Oregon Sports Authority, who has years of experience and expertise in bidding for sporting events of this scale. The Oregon Sports Authority board represents a who’s who of Oregon companies that understand the role that world-class sporting events can have on our economy and image, and their support will be critical to the viability of our proposal.”

    The coalition has retained Portland, Oregon-based Weinstein PR, in association with Brian Berger Public Relations, to assist in strategy to secure the event for Central Oregon. The host city for the West Coast Ironman® race is expected to be announced in May 2012.

    — News Release, December 7, 2011


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