Daily Record Business Writer
March 2, 2009 11:08 AM
After kicking off its season in Baltimore for the last two years, the 2009 AST Dew Tour will bypass Baltimore, state officials announced Monday.
Last June’s stop drew more than 52,500 fans to the parking lots surrounding M&T Bank Stadium over four days and generated about $10 million in economic impact, according to city tourism officials. Michael Frenz, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said they were disappointed in the decision but he hoped the loss would be buffered by other sporting events coming to Baltimore this year.
“The economic impact is not so great for us to say all is lost,” he said, noting that the state Office of Sports Marketing’s director, Terry Hasseltine, is continuing to work on bringing new and return events to Maryland such as the NCAA men’s lacrosse final four, which Baltimore will host again in 2010 and 2011.
The stadium authority said a conflict with the Orioles’ schedule in June and a change in the tour’s format contributed to the decision.
“We’re disappointed they are not coming this summer and we welcome them back in the future,” said Frenz.
Representatives for the Dew Tour, now part of the Alliance of Action Sports, did not respond to requests for comment.
Anirban Basu, CEO of Sage Policy Group in Baltimore, pointed out that while losing the Dew Tour and its economic impact is a loss, it’s just one event at a time when the city is becoming a more marketable entertainment destination option.
“Because of our location at the heart of the East Coast, we will remain an attractive place to host events,” he said. “You win some and you lose some, but the fact of the matter is Baltimore remains competitive in a very competitive market.”
Chicago will replace Baltimore as the tour’s opening stop in June. Also new to the tour’s schedule is Boston in July, replacing Cleveland as the second tour stop. Basu noted the two new cities’ geographic influence may have played a part in adding them to the tour.
“Boston is in a very competitive market up there and it is the heart of New England; Chicago is the focal point of the American Midwest,” he said. “And Baltimore, by contrast, is one of many mid-Atlantic cities.”
The first two tour stops were also contracted into two-day, single
sport events this year — Chicago’s will be a BMX event and Boston will host a skateboard competition at TD Banknorth Garden.
The tour will finish its summer schedule with three-day, multisport events in Portland, Ore., in August, Salt Lake City in September and Orlando in October.