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Women’s Tour organizers looking for £75,000 to produce live race broadcast

Race organizer SweetSpot says it is still searching for a title sponsor for the women's race, which starts in two months.

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The organizers of the Women’s Tour have made an appeal for additional funding to produce a live broadcast of the race for the first time.

SweetSpot, which also organizes the men’s race the Tour of Britain, is looking for £75,000 ($98,000) to plug the gap it needs to produce live television images for the six-day race. The organizer estimates that the addition of live television to the race will see a 20% increase on its overall budget.

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Since its inaugural edition in 2014, the Women’s Tour has not had a live broadcast, but it has produced highlights packages several hours after each stage’s conclusion. It announced last year that it planned to have a live broadcast for 2021, but it failed to get the funding it needed.

The Women’s Tour, which was won by Demi Vollering last year, was one of several races that was canceled altogether in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and it was postponed from June to October last year for the same reason. In a press release Wednesday, SweetSpot said the lack of events for 18 months has made it harder to get the money it needs.

“The race has been seeking funding to deliver a live broadcast of the event since UCI Women’s WorldTour rules were updated for the 2020 season,” a statement from SweetSpot said. “Adding a live broadcast increases the Women’s Tour’s overheads by approximately 20%: a sum far from inconsequential given that we are only two years removed from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the enforced cancellation of the 2020 race.

“Combined with the impact restrictions had on organizing events in the UK last year, SweetSpot missed out on a year-and-a-half of revenue as a result.”

The route for stages 1, 3, and 6 of this year’s eighth edition of the race were unveiled Wednesday with the race setting out from Colchester on June 6 and finishing in Oxford on June 11.

Over the years, the Women’s Tour has always had a named sponsor with investment company AJ Bell the most recent. However, two months out from this year’s edition, the organizer is still seeking a big backer for the race.

“Efforts to secure a title sponsor for the Women’s Tour have so far proved unsuccessful. As it stands, the 2022 race will be the first in event history to be without a naming rights partner,” the statement said.

“Despite a pro-active approach by the organizers, and discussions aplenty for well over a year, there is still a funding shortfall. Any company looking at being forever linked to helping the Women’s Tour achieve this important milestone can take advantage of a new partnership package offering sponsorship rights for any live TV broadcast.”

From Fall 2021