It's the same article. Gazet van Antwerpen and Nieuwsblad along with Belang van Limburg are all part of the same media group: Mediahuis. So but for local news they usually have the same articles.
The budget for all Flemish races (well they include the Tour of Belgium and that of the Lowlands Tour in it, well run by Golazo) is €14 million: Half the organizers think that entry pay is inevitable in the long run.
Nick Nuyens [who is organizing Dwars door het Hageland] says:
If I go and see some football with my kids everybody finds it normal that I have to pay €2.5 for it while if you want to see the cycling top then it has to be for free. Weird!
The World’s top will once again cross the Flemish roads … for free. At least for the moment. Because the question is raised whether this will last or not, as it seems from a survey by your newspaper with the 22 greatest events.
For the biggest ones: Tour of Flanders, GPE3, Ghent-Wevelgem, you don’t need to worry. Organizers don’t think it is inevitable in the long run to make the spectators pay to see the race. They start from the principle that the race should be accessible for everyone. It’s most of all among the smaller race that the idea is more tempting.
It shouldn’t be surprising. Their budget is remarkably low and almost for 100% dependent on the sponsors, VIP and subsidies. 6 organizers admit that they are threatened by a lack of means but 90% of them admit that there’s one thing that they don’t lack and it’s spectators but apart from the Nokere Koerse, they are visiting the races for free. But making spectators pay will spark resistance.
A strong mentality change will be needed for it because people are so accustomed to races being for free.
Says Rob Discart of Golazo Sport, organizer of the Tour of Belgium among others [ not said in the article but also of 17 cyclocross races, of the Lowlands Tour, the Ghent Sixes and the Farewell Events for Nys & Cancellara, track & field events such as the Van Damme Memorial, triathlons and gymnastic events as well!!!].
For the moment only the Nokere Koerse is asking for 5€ in the “zone of truth”. Among others, the Tour of Limburg considers introducing this as well.
Cycling comes second to football in this country.With events such as the Tour of Flanders and Ghent-Wevelgem whereby the eyes of half of the sport loving world is directed towards Flanders, the whole sector still does it with a budget of €14 million. Next to nothing (I don’t know if there’s a word for Dutch “habbekrats”).
You can also see that with how the different organizers work. Flanders Classics, organizers of the Tour of Flanders does it with hardly 11 permanent partners and beside E3 & Golazo it’s the only organization with full-time people at their service. The rest fully turns with voluntary workers. So that’s cycling in Flanders. Absolute top sport but its races are depending on hundred brave souls who help after their own jobs and who are mainly ageing. It seems hard to motivate youngsters to jobs like holding cars off (“auto’s tegenhouden”) for one day. In a global sport world which is dominated by big figures, the fragility of the Flemish race world threatens to get only worse.
The €14 million clashes with the budget of Tomorrowland [an electronic music festival in Boom, Antwerp, in July], which 5 years ago was already turning around a €24 million budget. The Formula GP of Francorchamps alone has a €13 million yearly budget. Only the Tour of Flanders, the Queen of all these races, has a budget that easily exceeds €2 million but this too seems easily below the €4.5 million of the Van Damme Memorial [I repeat it’s a Golazo event
For the 22 asked races [sic] there’s a total €13.28 million. Given the fact that there are 31 Flemish races in the international pro calendar, it amounts to an estimated ~14 million for the total budget.
16 races acknowledged to be depending on pure sponsoring for at least 75%. For most of them it even goes up to 80% & more. To be conceded in that high percentage there’s also ‘hospitality’
(the rising sales of VIP packs) and one race even managed to find a lucrative name sponsor: don’t talk about “E3 Harelbeke” anymore but well “Record Bank E3 Harelbeke” [
]. But then again the sponsor share remains particularly high.
Top races don’t experience this as a problem now and trust their influence in order to find sponsors but for the many smaller races it’s rummaging (“wroeten”?). 6 races acknowledge that they are endangered by lack of money. One big sponsor retiring and they have a problem and even those who can manage it admit that it’s not easy.
In order to get one sponsor you first need to get a hundred time with your head against the wall
says Nick Nuyens.
Also remarkable is the share of town money. It’s a public secret that the Tour of Flanders gets €400,000 from start place Antwerp and finish place Oudenaarde. But all other races are just as well depending on subsidies for the rest of their income. 20% or more of their budget for 14 races comes from local authorities.
We are in a period in which all the authorities have to save money. We feel that in the race
Says Piet De Smet, organizer of the Scheldeprijs [and its wonderful route]
Only the major races gain income from TV rights but by far most races are already glad if they don’t have to pay in order to get on TV. Yet TV coverage is crucial. 14 of the 22 interviewed races acknowledge not to manage to exist without live TV coverage.