YORK will pay a £500,000 ‘fee’ to host the Tour De France “Grand Depart” – but the event could be worth tens of millions of pounds, a report has revealed.
Global media coverage, involving as many as 350 international organisations, could alone be worth £15 million on the day the race leaves York.
Another £1.8 million could be spent on accommodation, with up to 10,000 bed nights needed in the area for teams and media employees.
Up to £6.2 million could be spent on food and catering that day, with a further £6 million of retail non-food spending expected.
A report going before City of York Council’s cabinet next Tuesday said: “This is an extremely large-scale event with an equally large potential economic benefit.”
But it stressed there would be major operational and logistical costs, including a £500,000 hosting fee, payable by the council in three stages, which will come out of the authority’s economic infrastructure fund.
It said work was under way to find opportunities to help meet costs such as route preparation, cleansing and event management, with bids for funding to be lodged with organisations including Sport England, British Cycling and the Arts Council.
“The city has experience of hosting festival and events, although clearly not on this scale, but all opportunities have to be taken to get support from existing resources,” said the report.
Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of the tourism organisation Visit York, said it hoped the Grand Depart would bring long-lasting benefits for the city.
But York Green councillor Dave Taylor slated the £500,000 fee. He said: “I think it’s a bit of a rip-off. I think the people of York were never asked if they wanted to spend half a million pounds on this.” He said the money could be better spent on improviving cycling facilities for York cyclists.
Liberal Democrat leader Carol Runciman said York must ensure hosting the Tour De France was more than just a spectacular occasion lasting one day, and instead brought lasting benefits.
Tory leader Ian Gillies said he supported an investment in the Grand Depart, as the indications were that it would be repaid many times.
Labour council leader James Alexander said the Tour was “massive for the York economy”, and the cost to the council was an investment in local businesses and in a legacy of more cycle journeys and sporting participation, benefitting the city for years to come.