The decision to postpone the U.S. national cyclocross championship due to concerns over tree damage in Austin’s Zilker Park cost racers over $250,000, according to a survey conducted by Matthew Montesano, an amateur racer in Minnesota. Though he admits he is not a statistician, the results of his attempt to quantify the costs of postponement shed light on the magnitude of the decision.
Fourty-four percent of racers who competed on Monday responded to the survey. The average cost of their extended stay (including airfare penalties, hotel and car rental extensions, as well as miscellaneous costs) averaged $902 per participant, according to Montesano. Given that 278 people raced on Monday — 22 percent fewer than were scheduled to race on Sunday — the total estimated cost to racers (not including vendors, spectators, media, officials, and others) was $250,756.
Of those costs, some 90 percent were covered by the participants themselves. Few professional riders had their entire expenses offset by sponsor dollars, according to the data. Furthermore, he points out that the survey likely yields lower average costs because many of the larger professional teams — those teams that have larger support staffs and would likely incur more expenses to stay — had few or no riders respond to the survey.
Montesano’s full report can be found here.
The author admits that there are limitations to his survey, including the fact that he is not a “professional data person.”
“As I said above, there is some more number-crunching that could be done in order to generate a range of costs based on the range of data,” Montesano wrote. “I know how to clean up an Excel spreadsheet and generate some numbers, but I’m sure that there are people out there who could do a more sophisticated analysis and generate some numbers that could be more powerful. I’m happy to share anonymized data with anybody who’s interested in doing that.”