The Pain in Spain

The Spanish economy is in deep trouble, suffering from the fallout of a burst housing bubble and chronic unemployment. There are worries for the country’s banks and also its regions. Economists fret the Kingdom could need financial assistance from its peers within the Euro-zone or indeed from the IMF. Whatever happens, money is tight.

Note the background sponsor Bancaja was forced to merge to stay afloat

So it’s against this backdrop that today we learn the Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana is being scrapped. A shortage of funds had seen the race off the calendar already but plans were afoot to reinstall the race for 2011, only these have now been buried. I suspect it won’t be the last race to go.

Generally the Spanish calendar can be full with a lot of regional tours. Fans are already familiar with the often deserted TV images from the Vuelta and the smaller races face a harder struggle to attract support.

A day’s TV filming can cost up to €80,000 a day for the helicopters, camera crews and precious satellite bandwith and this cost is normally borne by the organisers. They hope to be able to sell the race to sponsors and attract teams with the lure of TV coverage. Only it means massive cost and the smaller races struggle to find the cash. This is true for France and Italy too of course, whether several races are run on a shoestring budget and the loss of a sponsor or backing from regional government means the race is finished.

Profiting from a crisis
Looking at the calendar you can’t help feel there are many disparate events on the calendar, with races clashing across Europe. Whilst this doesn’t mean there is a surplus of events, there is scope to rejig the calendar to ensure the loss of any races allows other races to gain a firmer footing on the calendar, to ensure vacant spots can be filled whilst weekends where major races clash don’t see a smaller tier event trying to compete.