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.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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