The Women’s Tour last week put out an urgent call for sponsors as it is yet to secure the funds needed to run the 2023 edition of the race, and now it is also turning to crowdfunding to try to fill the gap.
The British race, which in 2018 was at the forefront of the move to prize money parity with the support of then title sponsor OVO Energy, has encountered a number of financial challenges since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, the prize money was lowered when the Women’s Tour returned from a one-year absence in 2021, while in 2022 it launched a successful appeal to help it fund live TV coverage, which is now a requirement for all Women’s WorldTour races.
For 2023, the race, scheduled to run from June 7-11, has secured the support of cottages.com, Brother UK, Accurist and cycleGuard. However, SKODA, which last year was announced as a partner through to 2024, is no longer on board and there are also more sponsorship slots still to be filled. They include four jersey classifications, and individual stage partnership packages, including naming rights for selected days.
Organiser SweetSpot announced that it is seeking funds to help cover “ever-increasing organisational costs,” as well as the shortfall from sponsorship income for the Women’s Tour, which has dropped a stage this year to make it a five-day event.
“We have witnessed fans make a significant impact on elite cycling events from a commercial and emotional perspective in similar campaigns,” said Women’s Tour PR & digital manager Nick Bull. “ Having been inundated with messages from people wishing to show their support for the race over the past week, launching a crowdfunding campaign seemed the logical thing to do.”
Organisers added that they hoped the crowdfunding campaign will generate additional commercial interest in the race which was last year won by Elisa Longo Borghini and also has Marianne Vos and Lizzie Deignan – twice – on its list of winners.
Supporters donating from £5 will have their name included on a heroes’ wall that will be on display at each stage start and finish at the 2023 race, as well as printed in the official race roadbook. After less than a day, £2,831 of the targeted £100,000 had been raised. The donations will be refunded should the race not take place.
It’s not the only UK event to feel the pinch this year, with the National Road Series down two events for the men’s and one for the women while SweetSpot last month announced…
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