After years of financial mismanagement, threat of lawsuit and declining ridership, El Tour de Tucson in Arizona, USA has a new title sponsor to keep the 37th edition alive.
Banner-University Medicine, a local health care firm, has signed on as a $175,000 title sponsor of the November 23, 2019 El Tour de Tucson, one of the largest gran fondo style rides in North America with close to 5000 riders.
Further, a new El Tour de Tucson CEO, Charlene Grabowski, took charge of the event in August with the departure of longtime CEO and founder Richard DeBernardis.
Earlier this year the event’s financial problems became public with the threat of lawsuit from local government over unpaid bills. The bills have since been paid, but financial challenges remain.
Ridership has declined 30% over the last decade according research by the Arizona Daily Star. Sponsorship also declined, while operating expenses increased.
In addition to a new CEO and title sponsor, El Tour de Tucson is eliminating the 75-mile ride option for 2019 to help simplify the event and cut expenses. Riders may choose 25, 50 or the traditional El Tour de Tucson 100 mile route.