Last week's Friendship Tour Soviet-U.S. gymnastics exhibition activities lost money, said organizer Rich Wilson.
"Unless we have major sponsors, we realize there is really no way we can sponsor that caliber of event again in a community of 13,000 people because we don't have the money to subsidize the events," Wilson said.Promoters had hoped ticket sales for the main event, the Friday night gymnastic exhibition, would subsidize other activities like the free drug-free gymnastic program attended by 5,000 school children.
People enthusiastically participated in the parade, drug-free program, exposition, barbecue dinner and other free or inexpensive events but their response to the $25 ticket price for the main event was lukewarm.
The gymnastic exhibition raised about $52,000, about half what was needed to break even on the week's activities. The price tag for bringing the exhibition to Cedar City was $71,055. Even though the U.S. athletes donated their time for the youth drug-free exhibition, that show cost another $25,500.
Other free events, including the parade, Western specialty acts and Western village, had a price tag of about $11,000 despite the time donated by volunteers.
Wilson said community and state businessmen and other sponsors donated a total of $27,000.
Although he is also coordinator for the Utah Summer Games held each year in Cedar City, the funds are completely separate and no Summer Games funds will be used for the Friendship Tour. So Wilson now must find funding to pay the rest of the bills.
The gymnastic exhibition was well attended, but many of the 4,000 occupied seats were filled by students, to whom $10 tickets were made available during the final week when it became apparent the Centrum was not going to sell out.
"To me, the success of the whole week was the youth drug-free exhibition where young people had the opportunity to hear from and watch wonderful world-class role models," Wilson said. "I'd do it all again if I could afford to provide that kind of quality experience for our kids."
But he said, "We may not be able to bring worldclass events like this to Cedar City again because, when you bid against national competitors, the costs are overwhelming. The gymnastic event has to carry all the other events."
Despite the financial aspects, the Friendship Tour and surrounding Western festivities were a boon to the community, especially in the value of the media attention to future economic growth, said Wilson.
Officials from a manufacturing company, which has not been named at its request, looked at Salt Lake City and Orem and were investigating Cedar City when they heard about the Friendship Tour.
"They flew back out to see if everything was really for real here and were impressed at what a town of this size could do," said Wilson.