A live broadcast from the Jizera Mountains to dozens of the world’s countries, elite cross-country skiing stars on the start line in Bedřichov, and another significant boost for the prestige of Czech sport. This and much more thanks to the inclusion of the famous Jizerská 50 in the Visma Ski Classics. However, its addition to the tour was not certain just a few weeks ago.
'We were very hesitant to sign a new contract, primarily due to considerably increasing financial demands.' Negotiations lasted more than six months. Ultimately, a partnership with the renowned tour was agreed not only for Jizerská 50, but also for the benefit of the Liberec region and Czech skiing as a whole. 'From 2020, the Jizerská 50 will be part of the series, which contains the biggest and most prestigious races in the world,' explains Marek Tesař from RAUL, a marketing agency and partner of the Jizerská 50. 'To stand alongside legendary races such as Vasaloppet, Marcialonga, and Birkebeiner is a key factor for foreign prestige and the attractiveness of the race for foreign competitors.'
Funds will now be gathered by race representatives with the help of partners and other entities. 'I often hear that, thanks to the entry fees from racers and contributions from partners, we should be able to cover all of the expenses. However, that isn’t true. Organising an event in winter conditions is so demanding that other costs connected with participation in the Visma Ski Classics series are beyond our means. This is another reason why I believe that additional partners and entities which will profit from the inclusion of the Jizerská 50 in the series will help us with these costs,' continues Tesař.
Who exactly does he mean? 'In this regard we will rely on support from the Liberec Region, CzechTourism, and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, all of whom have provided us with long-term backing. We are also hoping for increased support from the City of Liberec. It is precisely with these backers that we would like work on developing the international profile of the race, because we maintain that it is also great news for them that Czech sport and the Jizera Mountains will be seen in a positive light in dozens of countries,' Tesař firmly believes.
What’s more, there is another convincing argument for inviting racers from all over the world to the Jizera Mountains. As the statistics show, 3,000 people travel to the Jizerská 50 from abroad, spending an average of 2.8 days in the vicinity of the race. This represents substantial benefits not only for local companies and enterprises, but also for the municipality. 'Yes, that is precisely what we are trying to point out, because the influx of visitors from abroad, who come here for the Ski Classics and for more events besides, is beneficial for everyone involved,' Tesař concludes.