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Colorado Springs tourism ad piggybacks on bike race to reach global audience

By: Elise Schmelzer elise.schmelzer@gazette.com
June 20, 2014 Updated: June 20, 2014 at 6:31 pm
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A new Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau ad contacted with Windstar Studios will air during the USA Pro Challenge cycling race in August. Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette

The USA Pro Challenge bike race will bring bicyclists from all over the world to Colorado Springs in August - and perhaps, with the help of a new ad, draw tourists from some of those same countries in the future.

The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau contracted with local Windstar Studios to produce a 30-second commercial that will air internationally on two NBC broadcast channels and online during the bike race. The commercial will highlight the region as a year-round destination for tourists and outdoor recreation.

The TV ad will be broadcast in 177 countries and reach at least 14.5 million in Europe, one of Colorado Spring's biggest sources of tourists, said Doug Price, president of the bureau. The online ads will reach about 7.6 million viewers.

"This is a chance to really showcase our city and our region at a time when the whole world is looking at Colorado," he said. "This is the perfect opportunity to get Colorado Springs out there."

The bureau bought the ads and time slots for $65,000, with a $43,000 contribution from the city's Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax, and an undisclosed contribution from Colorado Springs Sports Corp.

Marketed as the largest annual spectator event in Colorado, the USA Pro Challenge is estimated to attract more than 1 million spectators and generate about $100 million statewide throughout the week, said Amy Long, vice president of marketing and partnerships at the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Although estimates aren't available for the economic impact the race is expected to have on Colorado Springs, Price anticipates it will bolster a tourism season that is already off to a good start.

The seven-stage race takes place from Aug. 18 to 24. The fourth stage will take place in Colorado Springs on Aug. 21, when bikers will race 70 miles on a loop that starts at The Broadmoor, goes through the Garden of the Gods and finishes downtown.

Six companies bid for the production contract, but the bureau chose Windstar because its package offered additional days of shooting and access to raw footage that could be used later.

"Having lived and worked in Colorado Springs for 30 years, we are honored to create a commercial that captures the beauty and lifestyle of our hometown," Windstar Studios President Dane Scott said in a news release.

The bureau also bought a 60-second commercial about two-sport Paralympic athlete Allison Jones, a Colorado Springs native. The ad will be produced by the race's parent company, Classic Bicycle Racing, and air internationally on the NBC Sports Network.

The Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau is a nonprofit dedicated to marketing the Pikes Peak region. It will receive more than $2.6 million from the lodging tax this year, about two-thirds of the tax's annual revenue.

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