When I sat down with Kevin Hyland in May 2019 to learn about his efforts to bring the UCI Road World Championships to Portland, he was a self-described “one man army.” Now he’s managing a Local Organizing Committee of over 40 people and their effort to win the 2026 bid is going full steam ahead.
You may have noticed your social media channels filled with the shiny new Portland Cycling Worlds logo and graphics this morning. That’s because venerable local company Chris King Precision Components has teamed up with Hyland to help with graphics and marketing efforts. King employees have also polished up the new website and set up social media accounts.
This marketing push has one goal: Build support that leads to an official letter of intent signed by the City of Portland by early June of this year. An online petition has been launched and Hyland hopes having thousands of signatures to add to his list of over 100 existing businesses and notable supporters will make a positive impression on Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and the rest of City Council.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI, cycling’s governing body) will make a selection for the 2026 World Championships host in September of this year. Hyland said he hopes to get council approval by June so he has time to apply for a major grant from Travel Oregon.
“Everyone we’ve met with — once we explain to them the benefits of this event to the city, region, and state — has given us their support and endorsement,” Hyland said in a conversation this morning.
And what’s not to like? The event will bring an estimated 1,000 professional athletes and 450,000 spectators to Portland from around the world for the 9 days of racing. Based on recent events in other host cities, Hyland forecasts a $120 million economic impact. And with Portland Cycling Worlds set up as a 501c3 non-profit, proceeds from the event will benefit cycling programs throughout Oregon. On the downside, previous events have run into some financial problems because potential benefits were oversold and risks were taken too lightly.
Hyland hopes to avoid that fate. Along with better marketing, growing support, and a fully-staffed Local Organizing Committee, he was thrilled when viewership data from the 2019 World Championships in Yorkshire, Englad were announced in January. According to statistics Yorkshire and surrounding environs were shown to 329 million people in 124 countries — a boon for that city’s brand and tourism economy. (By comparison, the NFL Super Bowl gets about 100 million television viewers.)
“All of this is building with the goal of being in a position to approach the mayor and city council in early June with a compelling case to support this effort,” Hyland said today.
Organizers need your help to keep the momentum going by signing the petition and following Portland Cycling Worlds on Facebook, Instagram, and on their website at PDXCyclingWorlds.com.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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Didn’t the last few WC host towns loose a lot money?
And from the article:
And its not just Bergen. In Ponferrada, Spain, host of the 2014 World Championships, the losses were estimated to be as high as nine million Euros, equal to almost 20 percent of the town’s annual budget. In this instance, the town was quite remote; ticket sales fell far short of expectations, and few sponsors signed up. Other recent host locales, including Richmond 2015 and the Yorkshire event of last year, have also been faced with dramatic shortfalls in expected tax revenues from the event, or other financial problems after the fact.
I hadn’t heard about that Paolo. Thanks for sharing. Will take a look at those stories and consider adding them to the post.
UPDATE: Edited the post to include a link to that VeloNews story and changed a few words to reflect the risks.
Paolo, thanks for looking into these prior Worlds for their costs & effects for the local economy. Ponferrada- as the article states it was “quite remote”. Population is about 65,000, and it’s 240 miles from Madrid, and 550 miles from Barcelona. Nearest airport is 75 miles away, and is domestic, with some seasonal int’l flights. It doesn’t meet the UCI’s new requirement of 10,000 hotel rooms. It would be like holding the worlds in Medford, which by the way has 217,000 people, and is only 365 miles from SF;
Bergen- When they submitted their bid they had commitments from major companies in the gas & oil industry. But after winning the bid, global prices dropped, and the companies backed out of their commitments. Bergen also chose to delay their UCI fee, and as they made payments in Swiss francs, while the Krone dropped significantly.
Plenty of lessons to be learned from both Bergen & Ponferrada.
Richmond’15, Innsbruck’18 and Yorkshire’19 did much better. Overall successes, with things to improve upon and many lessons learned, but financially- https://richmond2015.com/2015/12/18/estimated-economic-impact-of-2015-uci-road-world-championships-for-richmond-region-put-at-161-million-for-10-day-event/index.html
FYI- We’re projecting 225,000 individuals for the Men’s & Women’s Elite Road Races, with over 30,000 coming from out of state.
Thanks again, Kevin
C’mon, think of the climate impacts of all these people traveling here.
MORG, I won’t argue with your concern for environmental impact of travel, but I can tell you that we do have a Sustainability Initiative as part of our plan- All official event cars must be electric; Earn the UCI’s Green label by making the Portland Worlds the greenest in history; Earn ISO 20121 Sports Event Certification; Earn Evergreen certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. Any other thinks we should look at? Thanks for your help! Kevin
middle of the road guy,
I head the sustainability committee for the Portland World Cycling Championships. At the urging of Kevin and all of the leadership team, we have dug deep into many of the concerns you raise. Especially when it comes to Electric Cars, we have had communications with automakers about the possibility of featuring their cars in the race caravan, support staff and all other vehicles related to the race. I cannot tell you how excited some of them are to “launch” in an event like this. They see this as a major opportunity for them to overcome some of the range anxiety issues some consumers have with going all-electric.
As Kevin already said, we would love to hear more input from you on what we can do to mitigate the environmental impact of this event.
Anyone else find it ironic that one of the, if not thee, least bicycle-friendly bridges is being used to promote a cycling event… instead of say Tilikum Crossing?
Not really, given the importance and love for the St. Johns to so many riders. Whereas the Tilikum is sort of a joke in terms of it not really accessing anything — at least not for the training/serious type of riders.
In other words, while I agree the St. Johns sucks in terms of danger and infrastructure, it absolutely holds a place in many hearts for its majestic visuals and its position as a gateway to so much great riding.
How would you get a peloton of 150+ riders across the Tilikum bridge, considering it has two lanes with rail lines on it or two outside paths that are 12 feet wide? You’d have to lay down a different surface for the middle lanes, and even then it would have a ton of hazards if you used multiple lanes.
SE Rider, pls email me. I’d like your input on AS route planning. Thanks! Kevin Info@pdxcyclingworlds.com
UCI wants to get into gravel. They know that’s the future of the sport, for now.
If you really want to get UCI here, pitch a World Gravel Championship to them.
And to clarify my comment, I’m not necessarily in favor of a UCI Gravel championship; I just think that’s a more likely possibility to succeed than a road race based in Portland. Thanks.
Maybe for participants, but for spectators road cycling is still VERY popular (esp. in Europe).
Gravel worlds would be a slam dunk
I’d love to see it and good luck to you! We don’t know all the reasons why the one-day Grand Prix of Portland road race folded, but we have a good idea, and hopefully you’re looking at that event and building on lessons learned.
Professional cycling does not have the following that people suspect it does in Portland, and you’re likely to get a ton of pushback for any road closure without a nearby parallel route…the traffic control costs alone almost sunk the Portland Marathon and they bring in $150 a person. Can you give a hint on where the road race event course would be?
Andy, many reasons for the 1-day Grand Prix being abandoned, and plenty of lessons to be learned for sure; We anticipate drawing people from all over the western US & Canada. 4 of the top 10 markets for TdF TV viewing in 2015 were on the west coast. After doing some modeling, it’s estimated there are over 120,000 core cyclists (25+ times/year) in the metro area, and there are over 12.5M core cyclists in the western US & Canada. Largest bike club in the USA is Cascade in Seattle. Calif & Colo are #1 & 2 USAC memberships & OBRA would be #4. In their heyday, the Tours of Calif & Utah along with the Colorado Classic drew 3M spectators; And because these athletes compete for their countries, ala Olympics, and not for their trade teams, we think this will be a huge community event for Greater Ptld.
All 11 races will finish on Naito Prkwy. We want to run all TTs on the east side of the River. The road races will come into the city and race on a circuit of less than 15k. We’d love to have the Grand depart for Women’s RR at Multnomah Falls, and the Men’s RR in McMinnville. Specific streets/routes are still being determined.