Grand Depart organisers confirm £1m losses

Huge crowds watched the Grand Depart.
Huge crowds watched the Grand Depart.
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The organisers of the Grand Depart decided against scaling back the event despite knowing they were facing a £1m funding shortfall, it has emerged.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s annual accounts confirm they made a loss of £1.05m in the year to March 2015.

A directors’ report blames lack of expected central Government support, but also admits attempts to plug the gap didn’t work, with merchandising proving to be loss-making.

The report said the board was aware they were facing a shortfall of £1m against costs of £2.2m but “felt that having committed to staging the Grand Depart, it would be wrong to scale back on the ambition of ensuring it delivered maximum impact in terms of raising Yorkshire’s profile and economic impact.”

WtY tried to raise extra money through sponsorship and commercial income, including ticket sales for the team presentation, and merchandising.

It added: “Considerable additional income was generated, but in the event tickets for the team presentation did not sell as well as predicted, and merchandising proved to be a loss-making venture, which far from solving the problem through delivering good profit, compounded it through having to write off stock.”

Its forward financial plan states that the organisation will “rebuild its base over the next few years”. With Government funding of around £1.8m for the next three years and local authority support, they aim to grow tourism in Yorkshire by one per cent or £660m by 2020.

WtY said they were on track to deliver a “modest surplus” this financial year: “Local authorities and the WtY board backed us to deliver the Grand Départ and they were delighted with the result. The Tour de France brought an estimated boost of £102m to the Yorkshire economy, and its legacy event the Tour de Yorkshire generated an additional £50m this year.”

A not for profit organisation any surplus is reinvested in promoting Yorkshire.