By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Stakeholders in the big professional bike race held in Philadelphia every June are trying to figure out whether they can still stage this year’s race, one of cycling’s biggest one-day events in the United States.
The effort comes after its organizer said the race would be canceled this year because of financial issues (see related story).
Today, US Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.) was at a Main Street restaurant in Manayunk, mere yards from the annual race course. He entered the picture when race cofounder David Chauner decided earlier this week to take a year off, since he had not lined up a title sponsor in these tough economic times.
Brady (far right in photo), who has a track record of locating sponsors at the last minute for special events — including the Mummers’ Parade and the Dad Vail Regatta — says he has been trying to gauge whether there’s sponsorship money out there, ready and willing to step in.
“We’ve got to try to find some sponsors, not a sponsor, to try to put up what needs to be put up and get this done in 2013,” Brady said today.
Adding to the dilemma is the fact that Chauner (third from left in photo) is still on the hook for a $320,000 city services bill from last year, for traffic and crowd control and cleanup.
Chauner says he’s lined up a partner for next year — Front Row Marketing, a division of Comcast-Spectacor — which will help secure long-term naming rights and sponsors for next year and beyond, but not in time for the race this June.
“Unless a significant amount of money — 1.2 to 1.5 million — came in in the next few days, it’s really impossible to pull it off,” Chauner says.