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Richmond 2015 has 98 percent of funds needed to pay for world championships

Richmond 2015 has 98 percent of funds needed to pay for world championships

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Richmond 2015 is tantalizingly close to raising the $21.5 million needed to stage the UCI Road World Championships that begin Saturday.

The nonprofit said Thursday that it has raised about 98 percent of the money needed to put on the races, meaning that it’s highly likely that once revenue from the event is counted the race organizer will have, or exceed, the funds needed to stage the nine-day race.

Reaching the threshold comes with a sponsorship agreement with Owens & Minor Inc., the global medical supply and logistics company, that was announced Thursday.

While financial details of the deal were not disclosed, the Hanover County-based company’s sponsorship puts the group at “around 98 percent of what we need,” said Paul Shanks, director of communications and digital marketing for Richmond 2015. “We have a number of revenue streams that should close out the gap.”

Revenue generated from the event, which is expected to cover about $2.1 million of the race budget, will come from several sources, including hospitality sales, TV broadcast fees and royalties from the official travel program as well as merchandise, concessions and beer sales.

The world championships, one of professional cycling’s most prestigious competitions, is expected to draw 450,000 spectators over nine days and about 300 million television viewers world wide.

The world championships officially start Saturday with a practice session followed by the first races of the event on Sunday.

Organizers are holding the opening ceremonies tonight on Brown’s Island. The sold-out event features a concert by the Richmond Symphony with “American Idol” alum Rayvon Owen performing the national anthem.

While the world championships will race through the city and the region, Richmond 2015 is a private nonprofit contractually obligated to pay for staging the races. If it had been unable to meet it’s budget, Richmond 2015 would have been on the hook for the difference.

If it came to that, Shanks said Thursday the organization would find a way to bridge the gap.

Richmond 2015 has raised the money through sponsorships with the corporate community as well as from commitments from the state, city and other localities that are hosting portions of the race.

The state has contributed $4 million, including a $2 million sponsorship agreement between the race organizer and Virginia Tourism Corp. The city has put in $2 million as well as in-kind services. The rest is coming mostly from corporate sponsors.

Having Owens & Minor on board as another sponsor “is a key piece of the puzzle and it is exciting to have another great local company to show their support for the championships,” Shanks said Thursday.

Owens & Minor’s partnership will give it the naming rights to the Race Daily, a daily update on all the happenings at the world championships that will be emailed and distributed in the Markel VIP Pavilion, Libby Hill VIP Pavilion and FanFest in the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

“Owens & Minor is known worldwide for its expertise in the healthcare industry and respected in Richmond for its ongoing commitment to our community,” said Wilson Flohr, CEO of Richmond 2015. “We’re grateful for their partnership in what will be nine exciting days of racing.”

Besides Owens & Minor, other corporate sponsors for the event are Altria Group, Anthem, CarMax, ChildFund International, Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, Davenport & Co., Dominion Resources, Genworth Financial, Hourigan Construction, Hunton & Williams, Kings Dominion, Lansing Building Products, Lexus, Markel Corp., Martin’s Food Markets, Michelob Ultra, McGuireWoods, Norfolk Southern, Piascik, The Community Foundation Serving Richmond & Central Virginia, TowneBank, University of Richmond, VCU Health, Virginia is for Lovers, WestRock (formerly MeadWestvaco) and Williams Mullen.

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