Volusia County Denies Funding Request for Sports Festival

Volusia County Denies Funding Request for Sports Festival

The 2023 Clash Endurance Sports Festival will have to get by with only the best wishes of the Volusia County Council. At a meeting in late November, the Council unanimously rejected a request for nearly $75,000 from event organizers.

In his presentation to the County Council, Clash Endurance Executive Vice President Andre Lapar said the 2023 event has been designated as the U.S. Triathlon Long Course Championship and attracts athletes from around the country. He said the three-day event offers visitors a chance to get a close look at what Daytona Beach and Volusia County has to offer.

“We are an outdoor-based fitness activity, which is the kind of visitor we want in the county,” he said. “They tend to be higher net worth, well-seasoned travelers that tend to stay for three to four nights.”

Lapar said the event, now in its fifth year, has grown.

“We’ve got a drastically larger impact from athletes coming from outside the region,” he said.

The event is held at the Daytona International Speedway, something the company has done at other venues including Road Atlanta Speedway and Watkins Glen in New York State.

Lapar said the company aims to raise the profile of the Volusia County event.

“I would love to establish Daytona as one of the marquee triathlon events on the calendar,” he said.

While supporting the event as something good for the region, County Council members were less enthusiastic about providing funding.

“The issue I do have is this is an ask for public money,” said Council member Troy Kent, who said he needs to be able to answer questions from constituents about spending public money to help a for-profit company. “What do I say to them when they say how is giving away our tax dollars to a for-profit company helping us as Volusia County residents?”

Lapar acknowledged that was a valid concern and said the post-pandemic economic environment presents the event with the chance to become bigger.

He said Covid “rocked” the event space and has “cleared out the underbrush” of smaller competitions and created opportunities for growth.

“We want to capitalize on that growth,” Lapar said. “Our margins are razor thin. We are not coming here to make a quick buck.”

Council Member David Santiago said he would like to see the event grow, but suggested organizers come back in a year to request assistance for the 2024 event.