After five years, eight events and an estimated $75 million of economic impact to Utah, the Dew Tour action sports series will no longer come to the “State of Sport.”
Long considered the most popular stop on both the summer and winter Dew Tours, Salt Lake City and Utah were left out of a sweeping rebranding that condenses what last year was seven events into three.
Alli Sports, which operates the Dew Tour, as well as other action sports events, announced Monday that it will hold summer events in Ocean City, Md., San Francisco and a winter stop in Breckenridge, Colo. Each is signed on for two years, meaning the earliest the Dew Tour could return to Utah is 2014.
“A lot has changed since we started the tour,” Dew Tour General Manager Chris Prybylo said Monday. “So we were looking to create some bigger events, some more premium events versus the tour model.”
The Dew Tour, which featured skateboarding and BMX events, was held in downtown Salt Lake City in late summer starting in 2007, and in 2010 set an attendance record of 60,500. That number was eclipsed last year in Ocean City where 73,000 people watched.
Snowbasin holds the winter record for attendance, with 44,300 in 2011.
“It certainly wasn’t due to the lack of success of the [Utah] events at all,” Prybylo said. “It was more just that the Utah structure didn’t fit at this time. We will explore other opportunities, and Utah will always be one of our first calls as things change and we look to the future.”
Professional BMX rider Colton Satterfield, 22, lives in Salt Lake City and criticized the Dew Tour for leaving his hometown out of its plans.
“I think when Dew Tour started it was more for the riders,” Satterfield said. “And it still is. I’m sure it’s going to be a good contest, but it’s definitely not as much for the riders as it is for profit.”
In 2010, the Winter Dew Tour debuted at Snowbasin, and each of the last two years served as the tour championships site for disciplines in skiing and snowboarding.
Resort spokesman Jason Dyer said Snowbasin was unable to host the winter event in December, when the Breckenridge stop will take place, due to concerns that the resort would not have enough snow by then to create a 22-foot superpipe.
The move, which comes as title sponsor Mountain Dew takes more control of the operations, is aimed at creating bigger, more focused events that will receive more premium air time from NBC, which bought Alli Sports a year ago.
Utah Sports Commission CEO Jeff Robbins said Utah faced several challenges, including being unable to negotiate with the Dew Tour each year until the end of the legislative session after funding was approved.
Robbins said the state will pursue other events to compensate for the loss of the Dew Tour, but that the exit wasn’t without precedent.
“A lot of these events will run a little bit of a life cycle in communities,” he said. “Most major sporting events will stay in a place from one or two years to several years based on the success of the event.”
The winter Dew Tour was also a boom to the city of Ogden, which hosted concerts on 25th Street. Ice Cube performed in 2010. Robbins estimated that the winter Dew Tour directly generated $6 million for Utah each year.
“It’s a setback for a short period of time,” Dave Hardman, president of the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce, said. “But it’s not everything that we hang our hat on.”
Combined with the summer event, the Utah Dew Tour stops contributed about $16 million annually to the local economy, according to Robbins.
The Dew Tour has trimmed its expenses in recent years, going from five summer stops in 2010 to four in 2009. SportsBusiness Journal reported Monday that Mountain Dew, which is taking a more active interest in the operations, will invest $8 million to $10 million in the three-stop series, slightly more than it did in the seven-stop tour.
Satterfield said Salt Lake City is home to a vibrant BMX and skate culture, in addition to a general appreciation of action sports, and that there is room for an event to replace the Dew Tour.
“I would love to be able to create something of similar caliber and same big-named riders for SLC in Dew Tour’s place,” he said in a text message. “I think it is a mistake that SLC Is left out and whoever fills the void first will be the smartest.”