2020 Reno Air Races canceled due to COVID-19
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Reno Air Racing Association has announced it is canceling the 2020 STIHL National Championship Air Races originally scheduled for Sept. 16–20.
The Reno Air Racing Association Board of Directors cited concern for the safety and health of everyone involved and the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and government-imposed restrictions for large scale events,
The non-profit says it has turned it attention to the event in 2021.
“This decision was not made lightly,” said Fred Telling, CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association in a news release. “It’s difficult to capture the sadness we feel for our September Family who we won’t have the chance to see this year. However, we need to approach this with safety for all involved as our highest priority. We recognize and appreciate the great responsibilities Nevada’s government leaders bear as they weigh health concerns against economic well-being for Nevada as a whole.”
The organization says the University of Nevada, Reno conducted an economic impact study of the 2019 STIHL National Championship Air Races and found the event brought in nearly 70,000 total unique attendees, while generating over $100 million in total economic impact to the Reno-Tahoe region by non-local visitors.
Tony Logoteta, COO of the Reno Air Racing Association says besides the uncertainty around the state of the pandemic in September and safely hosting a large event in that climate, they took a look at the long-term ramifications.
“Beyond health and safety, our primary focus has to be the long-term viability of this iconic event rather than a high-risk gamble on the current year,” said Logoteta in a news release. “It’s been a challenging year for everyone and we have seen the financial effects across all revenue streams. It’s time for us to take a step back and assess our situation so that we can work toward ensuring the future of air racing beginning in 2021.”
Logoteta says the organization saw an 80% overall decrease in revenue from March to June 2020 compared to 2019.
“We typically have a no refund policy on tickets because they are so essential to our ongoing operating income but given the circumstances, we will be providing more options for those who have already purchased tickets,” said Logoteta in a news release. “With that being said we are hoping that patrons will rollover their ticket purchases to the 2021 event or, if they are able, donate this year’s purchase as a tax-deductible contribution to help keep the Reno Air Races alive.”
The non-profit is asking ticket holders to submit their preference online by July 15, 2020. The organization says requests will be collected and evaluated, and processing will begin later in July. If no request is made the purchase will automatically rollover to the 2021 event.
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