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IMG Responds To Guardian Article on Etape Pennines Charity Contributions

by Henry Peacock

IMG has issued a response to an article published on The Guardian website regarding funds raised from their Etape series events. The article claimed that none of the funds raised from the entry of their newest closed road cycling event, the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines, goes to the charity and that it was misleading for those taking part.

The writer of the article says that the high entry fee of £61 for the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines does not justify just the closed road element of the events. The article has received lots of attention from the public. 

The 'charity' bike ride where no money goes to charity article reads: "Together with its well established big brother north of the border, the Etape Caledonia, it charges the highest entry fee on the sportive calendar - £61. Yet none of that goes to the charity.

"Instead, all profits go to one of the richest showbiz and sport talent agencies in the world, IMG, which includes Rafael Nadal, Justin Timberlake and Tyra Banks among its clients."

IMG issued a statement regarding the article, in this they outlined that the headline partner Marie Curie Cancer Care has never received any of the entry fees for the events and they as the organisers have never claimed that it has. James Robinson, Managing Director of IMG Challenger World said:

"So far this year, MCCC have raised over £220,000 through being the headline partner and official charity. This total will rise again after the new Etape Pennines takes place this autumn. We also actively and exclusively encourage our participants to fundraise for Marie Curie Cancer Care as part of the challenge for a good cause. We are pleased that many take the decision to do this and benefit the charity. MCCC are extremely happy with the relationship and the structure of the partnership."

He continued: "As a private company we invested heavily in the development of the events in the early years and we work hard to ensure our events are of the highest quality, and attract strong participation. The successful model for charity partnerships and fundraising is largely the same across all major mass participation events.

"This is designed to enable the charity to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds per annum with minimised commercial risk while also not diverting valuable internal and limited resources away from their primary cause - to offer one to one support to individuals and their families at some of their most difficult and challenging times."

With more and more charities using cycling as a successful outlet for fundraising, this debate gives a useful insight into the commercial arrangements between events companies and charities.

1 Comment

15th October 2012 10:16am wrote:

What IMG does not reveal is that the charity has to pay to have its name associated with the event. In the case of the Etape Caledonia Marie Curie Cancer Care (MCCC), having outbid Macmillan Cancer Support, has so far PAID IMG £100K.

Participants in the 2011 and 2012 Etape Caledonia events raised £260K for MCCC. This means that effectively £1 of every £2.60 raised by them has gone to IMG. This is £100K of event income for IMG, ADDITIONAL to around £280K of entry fee income.

Yes, more money will come to MCCC from Etape Pennines, but at what cost to the charity ?