Businessmen from Colorado and Virginia have formed a new company that will promote races in their home states while seeking a more financially stable business model, according to an announcement today from the RPM Events Group.
Colorado's Ken Gart and David Koff have joined forces with Richmond world championships organiser Tim Miller to form RPM Events Group in hopes of continuing "the competitive racing culture both communities have embraced for many years." "We have assembled a group of community-minded investors as well as a strong leadership team whose sole mission is to broaden the enthusiasm for cycling," said Gart, chairman of the new company. "This new bike series will provide communities with sustainable, engaging cycling events for participants and fans to enjoy."
In its Tuesday announcement, the company said it is moving away from the model of week-long stage races that travel to multiple locations, favoring a "spoke-and-hub" model that will cut costs. RPM Events said the group's approach is designed to leverage the sport's enthusiastic following, including the growing mass-participation craze, while keeping costs from outpacing revenue. "We are shifting our thinking away from week-long stage races to a hub-and-series concept to contain costs, open up new revenue streams and create exciting and engaging community events," said Koff, RPM Events Group CEO. "While the format is different, we are deeply indebted to and respectful of the previous efforts in Colorado and Virginia and hope to build on their success."
Miller, the new company's chief operating officer, said the latest effort is about more than promoting bike races. "This is about creating sports and entertainment properties that are not only memorable for the spectators, but valuable to the host cities and sponsors, and sustainable into the future," Miller said. "I am looking forward to working with a group of forward-thinking professionals and developing an exciting new approach to the sport."
Colorado most recently hosted the USA Pro Challenge from 2011 through 2015, but the 2.HC race reportedly lost more than $20 million over its five-year run. The group that organized the race folded earlier this year after announcing the race would not return in 2016. Richmond, Virginia, hosted the UCI Road World Championships in 2015 and recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the event by repainting the finish line stripes on the downtown circuit. "Virginia knows first-hand how important cycling is not just for personal fitness, but for the economic fitness of our communities," said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. "People all over the world have been buzzing about Richmond and the Commonwealth of Virginia since the world's best cyclists competed for world titles here in front of 645,000 spectators and 142 million TV viewers over nine days last September."
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said cycling is an important part of his state's culture, and he is excited that professional racing will return. "The fact that this new endeavor is being led by a group of well-established, savvy investors who are passionate about their communities and the sport, gives us an enormous amount of confidence and pride," he said.
USA Cycling and the UCI have been petitioned for sanctioning and calendar placement, the results of which will be announced during the 2016 Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, this October. Race operations for these events will be managed by Medalist Sports, which currently organizes the Tour of Utah, The Tour of Alberta and USA Cycling's US Pro Championships, as well as other events.
Gart is the former President of Gart Brothers Sporting Goods Company, a family owned and operated corporation from 1983 to 1992. Gart led the formation of B-Cycle (Denver's bike sharing system) in 2008 and chaired that board for roughly four years. He worked with Governor Bill Ritter to spearhead an effort to bring world-class professional cycling back to Colorado. Gart is currently working for Hickenlooper as his volunteer "Bike Czar."
For the past 11 years, Koff has been a senior partner at InterMedia Partners, a media-focused private equity fund. Previously, Koff was at Liberty Media Corporation, where he served as President of European Operations. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President at Liberty Media, in charge of content investments.
Miller began his career at the original Medalist Sports, working as part of the Media and Public Relations team for the Tour DuPont. In 2003 he founded the CapTech Classic, a USA Cycling National Racing Calendar event, which he developed and ran until 2006. In 2010 he led the effort to bid on the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, and was ultimately named Chief Operating Officer of the Organizing Committee.
Originally published in www.cyclingnews.com on 21 September 2015.