Now that the Dew Tour has come and gone, the debate has begun on whether the action sports event actually played a significant role in local commerce or if it was simply a draw for the daytrippers who traditionally tend not to be as beneficial to the economy.
This is a similar debate that revolves annually around the OC Air Show, an event held each June that is largely credited with bringing large crowds to a portion of town during the day but is not a “heads in beds” event.
Surely, there’s an aspect of the Dew Tour that is similar, but the main difference here is the Dew Tour put Ocean City front and center before a national audience.
That’s what all along has been the beauty of Ocean City landing the Dew Tour.
The Dew Tour’s announcement earlier this year that it was coming to Ocean City was not necessarily about what it would mean for cash registers and crowds, which were reportedly up 7 percent over the same weekend last year.
It was about the fact it would introduce Ocean City to a huge number of people, thanks to the national television programs on NBC and USA networks as well as the action sports athletes themselves and the supporting cast that made the Dew Tour possible.
Like anything, there are skeptics about the Dew Tour. They say it doesn’t bring the proper type of vacationer to town. The people it did attract did not spend any money. Only the Boardwalk businesses prospered as a result of it. Ocean City would have been packed, whether the Dew tour was here or not because of the weather and the fact it took place in late July.
The last aspect is undoubtedly true, and that much we knew as soon as the dates were announced for the Dew Tour.
In a perfect scenario, the Dew Tour would have come here in June, September or October, but that was not going to happen, largely because of our uncertain weather and organizers’ present lineup of stops.
Additionally, that’s not Ocean City’s call to make. If the Dew Tour seeks to hold its event in Ocean City, we need to aggressively rally to score the bid, no matter when it’s planned to be held.
That goes for the future as well. If the Dew Tour wants to return next July, and record crowd participation reported by Tour officials surely confirms they will at least consider it, Ocean City should once again do whatever it can to bring it back.
Those who were dismissive of the Dew Tour at this week’s City Council meeting are not seeing the full picture. This was always about the national exposure.
That type of tremendous marketing is priceless, and anyone that saw how Ocean City was portrayed by NBC during Saturday’s broadcast has to understand that. Ocean City looked beautiful, clean and inviting, and surely there were people watching who had never been here or probably even heard of it. That’s going to make a difference for the resort area down the road.