Organisers of the Tour de France’s Yorkshire visit have responded to claims that tickets costing up to £85 for its Team Presentation are overpriced.
The traditional ceremony is being billed as the “biggest ever” by tourism bosses who have commissioned Martin Green, head of ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics, to transform the event.
Sports stars including Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish will be among the cyclists from all 22 Tour teams to grace the stage as part of the show at the First Direct Arena, in Leeds, on July 3.
Tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire has responded to online criticism over its pricing for an event which has been free in previous years, stating it is “self funding” and will be “the biggest ever in the history of the Tour”.
Tickets costing £45 to £85 will be available from Friday at 9am.
Philip McDonald, sociology of sport lecturer at Leeds Trinity University, was among the fans to criticise organisers, describing the pricing as “outrageous”.
He said: “These events are traditionally free. With the exception of the one in 2011 they do not charge people for these things.
“It does seem otherwise free events are being priced out of the range of the majority of families.”
The show will take place just two days before the Tour de France gets underway in Yorkshire on July 5 and 6.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “This is a not-for-profit event and ticket revenue will fund the event and help ensure that we deliver the biggest Team Presentation ceremony ever. We are working with ASO, the Tour de France’s organisers, to do just that. Prices are in line with other similar events at the arena such as BBC Sports Personality of the Year.”
It is expected to be the largest scale Team Presentation in Le Tour’s 111-year history and will see teams joined on stage by live entertainment. The identities of the acts are to be announced in the coming weeks.
Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, said: “We hope it will become a template for Team Presentations in the future. It shows how much passion there is for cycling in the UK and Yorkshire’s Grand Depart.”
The 2013 Team Presentation in Corsica was free as was the one in London’s Trafalgar Square event the last time Le Tour visited Great Britain in 2007, although tickets were sold for the 2011 presentation in France’s Vendée region. Visit www.firstdirectarena.com for ticketing information.