Raleigh tourism agency to pay $125,000 for Rock 'n' Roll marathon next year

ccampbell@newsobserver.comApril 2, 2013 

— The city’s tourism agency will pay $125,000 to bring the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon Series to Raleigh next year, according to contract details released Tuesday.

The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, a division of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, negotiated the contract for the event, which is held in more than 30 cities worldwide and features about 40 local and regional bands playing along the route of the footrace.

The contract calls for the Sports Alliance to pay the for-profit Competitor Group Inc. an annual $100,000 hosting fee, plus an additional $25,000 to offset the cost of city services such as traffic control. The agreement runs through 2016 with an optional two-year renewal.

The City of Raleigh will not contribute financially to the event; the Sports Alliance is funded primarily by hotel room taxes.

“From our perspective, it’s all about the return on investment,” Alliance director Scott Dupree said. “We’re anticipating that this is going to generate $2 million in direct visitor spending.”

Registration for the marathon opened Monday with discounted rates for runners willing to sign up more than a year in advance.

By Tuesday, nearly 2,000 runners from 33 states had registered for the April 2014 race. Organizers expect to have 7,500 signed up by race day.

The financial support for Rock ’n’ Roll has drawn fire from some runners who say local races don’t get the same boost. The City of Oaks Marathon, which expects to draw up to 7,000 runners in November, has received $49,000 from the Convention and Visitors Bureau since the annual race was started in 2007.

The Rock ’n’ Roll contract also tops what the tourism agency is paying for the Ironman Triathlon, which is coming to the Triangle in June. Organizers of that event will get $50,000.

“This is not something the running community is welcoming with open arms,” said Butch Robertson, whose Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon and 5K will be bumped from its usual April weekend by the Rock ’n’ Roll race.

Robertson’s race, which also features live music along the route, was moved several years ago from downtown to the PNC Arena area in West Raleigh because of noise complaints. Rock ’n’ Roll has begun developing its course with help from Raleigh police. Dupree says the exact route will be announced this summer and will be a “postcard route” showcasing the city’s sights, including downtown.

Campbell: 919-829-4802 or twitter.com/RaleighReporter

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