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Amgen Will Return to Morro Bay, Pismo Next May

The greatest cyclists in the world will return to the Central Coast when the Amgen Tour of California rolls through the state from May 12-19, 2019.
The Tour is planning to return to SLO County making one stop and one start here after skipping over the county in 2018 due to the closure of Hwy 1 through Big Sur.
Morro Bay will probably host the finish of the third stage of the Tour, which will start in Monterey and end on Harbor Street by the Post Office.
The next day, the fourth leg of the 7-stage race, will start in Pismo Beach at the Pier and head south. The overall race traverses some 750 miles — from Sacramento to Long Beach.
Since its inception, the Tour has traditionally cut through the Central Coast go- ing down Scenic Hwy 1 through Big Sur and stopping somewhere in the county.
Cambria has hosted a couple of finishes and Morro Bay has hosted a start in 2016 and a finish in 2017. San Luis Obispo has also hosted the race, as has Pismo Beach.
Though the exact stage routes and host cities have yet to be announced, the Morro Bay City Council on Oct. 18 agreed to spend up to $65,000 out of the Tourism Business Improvement District’s (TBID) fund reserves.
Also, Visit SLOCAL, the countywide TBID into which Morro Bay motel owners also pay, will allocate $50,000 to be split between Morro Bay and Pismo Beach.
The Visit SLOCAL directors will ultimately decide how to split that money, so Morro Bay could get more or less than a 50:50 split, though the City Tourism Man- ager, Jennifer Little, is optimistic.
“It is likely the City would receive at least $30,000 from Visit SLOCAL for a stage finish,” Little said in a staff report.
So the costs for hosting Amgen could total $85,000 to $95,000 with the City on the hook for up to $65,000, but the potential exposure from a worldwide audience that watches the race live on TV and the Internet is almost priceless.
“There are many important considerations to factor into a decision about hosting a large-scale event like Amgen in Morro Bay,” Little said in her report. “Considerations include City costs to host the event, staff time to coordinate logistics and volunteer support, and disruptions to businesses and residents from road closures.
Bay News • November 8 – November 22, 2018 • 25
“Those considerations are balanced against the fact the race presents a rare opportunity to display our quaint seaside fishing and arts community to millions of people from over 200 countries through Amgen exposure.”
Little said her staff thinks it’s worth the hassle. “Staff believes the tourism marketing potential provided by hosting Amgen outweigh the other considerations and, as such, is recommending the use of TBID accumulation funds in the amount of $55,000 to $65,000 to host the Highway 1 stage finish in Morro Bay.”
In 2017, when the Tour finished the third stage here, the event drew about 2,000 people to town, many who were following the tour throughout the race, including hundreds of journalists from across the globe. Fans lined The Embarcadero and Harbor Street to cheer the riders as they flew past.
City Manager Scott Collins believes the event will be good for the city and produce a measure of civic pride in host- ing the best cycling athletes in the world. And, “It’s happening in the mid-week,” Collins said. “So that’s good too.”
Though the full route has not been announced by AEG, the company that puts on the race sponsored by the medical firm, Amgen, “We’re locked in,” Collins said.
It’ll be a bit trickier this time around because unlike before, there isn’t some- one with the City that’s readily available to take this on.
“The last time they were here,” Collins said, “we had Ikani [the former deputy city manager] to run the event.” Ikani
Taumoepeau was the deputy city man- ager in 2017 and coordinated the entire effort from the City’s perspective, and in 2016, DCM Sam Taylor was in charge.
Taylor left in late 2016 and Ikani left for a job in Ojai over a year ago and the position remains unfilled.
Collins plans to put Little and her small staff in charge of the event and she plans to hire an event coordinator. In the approved event budget, it lists $12,000 for an event planner.
Other budgeted expenses are $40,000 for 350-400 Amgen Team room nights; $17,000 for Amgen Team meal; $4,000 for media meals; $3,000 for port-a-potties; $5,250 for communications; and $5,000 under “miscellaneous,” for a grand total of $86,250.
Subtract the $30,000 from Visit SLOCAL and the City’s expected bud- get comes down to $56,750 for the event.
Under “Income to the Community” heading, the budget estimates revenues of $72,982 going to pay for mo- tel rooms, with $10,217 in room taxes and fees (which go back to the City and TBID); an estimated $10,217 in “VIP” packages, with $1,402 in taxes; and $34,629 in general room bookings from fans, and another $4,848 in taxes.

Potential sales taxes are not estimated but they could be expected to be relatively small.
The deal with Amgen calls for one meal for the Amgen teams and race crews, plus two meals for journalists, which in 2017 the City hired caterers to provide, and Little said they planned to do that next year as well.
Last time, the City made use of its Community Volunteer group to help with the road closures and dozens of other volunteers to assist with the numerous tasks that must be attended to.
That’ll likely be the case again in 2019, and those interested in volunteering should be on the lookout for announcements from the City over the coming months, especially as the race draws closer.
As to the route the riders will take, the plan right now is to use the same one they used in 2017. That route saw them come to Morro Bay on Hwy 1 (via a ride through Downtown SLO but they’ll approach Morro Bay from the north in 2019).
They will turn on South Bay Boulevard and then onto Lower State Park Road for a ride along the estuary. They follow that road up onto Main Street and then turn on Marina Street down to the Embarcadero.
They’ll go on Embarcadero for a couple of blocks and turn up Harbor Street and head into town, with the finish line at Napa Avenue and Harbor Street.
The Tour of California, which also has an abbreviated race for women, features riders from 34 countries. With cycling becoming more and more popular — in 2017 Visit California estimated 3.8 million visitors included biking in their vacation plans — the 2018 Amgen Tour was seen by an estimated 15.92 million worldwide TV viewers, and 125 million checked in on the race via social media.
For more information about the Amgen Tour of California, see: www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

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