There was nothing nefarious about the Dew Tour’s decision to not return to Ocean City in 2015 for a fifth year. It was simply a business decision — a wise one at that — by organizers aimed at continuing to evolve the brand, and the sponsors that make it possible, across the country.
In fact, a mutual love fest exists between Ocean City and the Dew Tour by all accounts. Aside from the public comments confirming the point, the statistics do not lie. Attendance at the beach events in Ocean City shattered previous records each year, Dew Tour officials cited. Additionally, rarely in its history has the Dew Tour — emphasis on the “Tour” word here — stayed in one locale for an extended period of time.
The fact Ocean City hosted the Dew Tour as long as it did — from 2011 to 2014 — is a testament to the solid relationship between the two entities as well as Ocean City’s ability and willingness to successfully be the site.
The Dew Tour, to keep its brand fresh and growing, was wise to seek another site. It gets stale staying in the same place for too long and targeting new growth areas is a must under its business model, which relies heavily on sponsorship dollars.
That doesn’t mean Ocean City businesses, residents and visitors should not be disappointed. The Dew Tour was a spectacle unlike any other Ocean City has ever seen. The village that was built on the sand each of the last four summers was a sight to behold and its tremendous and unique appeal to the young will probably never be matched by future events.
For Ocean City, the true reward from the Dew Tour was the national exposure. During its four-year run, tens of millions of dollars of marketing and advertising were provided on national television. That impact is difficult to quantify in terms of direct spending in Ocean City over the long term, but ask Boardwalk businesses and hotels about the short-term sales impact of hosting the event and they will tell you it was huge.
The reaction this week about the Dew Tour leaving Ocean City was equally predictable and confusing. It’s understandable for there to be “bummer” feelings, but there’s no reason for people to seek out scapegoats. Ocean City did not lose this event through malfeasance, greed or poor communication.
It was never intended for the Dew Tour to be an event like the White Marlin Open or the Air Show, summer staples that people plan their vacations around each year. Those with knowledge about the event and its history understand this well. It was not going to be here forever. Those who thought that would be the case were simply naïve and unaware of how these sorts of branded events operate.
Ocean City should be grateful it was here as long as it was. Two years was all we expected and we got four. It was a great run.