“If we have to put up all the money and not generate any revenue for five years, we will,” Leiweke said at a Los Angeles press conference March 25th. The event has $35 million in committed funding for the next five years.
The Tour of California is slated for early next year. Sponsors have yet to be announced and the route isn’t set, although AEG hinted at “northern California redwoods and wine country,” the Pacific coast and a finish line in SoCal.
The “rolling festival” will have up to 18 international teams. Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan (currently the state’s secretary of education) and USA Cycling CEO Gerard Bisceglia are backing the event. It is expected to have the largest purse prize in the history of cycling in the U.S., which would put it above $150,000.
“This is not a one- or two-year and out event; this is a long-term commitment,” Leiweke said. “We are committed to make this one of the two or three best cycling events in the world. We are going to do it the right way, and we want to rival the Tour de France.”
The event’s name is subject to change.
On a side note, Leiweke, who also serves as president of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, said during the conference that although he would not comment on the use of replacement players in the NHL, the lack of a new agreement with the players’ association indicates the NHL will be looking at that strategy, the Los Angeles Times said.