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Dew Tour likely to land in Ocean City in July

The Dew Tour will likely be back in Maryland this July, but the extreme athletes will be doing their tricks with the Atlantic Ocean and the beach as a backdrop.

The event features an array of extreme sports, most notably skateboarding, and is tentatively scheduled for July 21-24 in Ocean City. Officials from the Alliance of Action Sports, or Alli, which coordinates the Dew Tour, filed an application Feb. 8 to Ocean City officials. They are expected to present the company’s application to the mayor and City Council members Tuesday.

“I suspect the mayor and City Council will approve it,” said Ocean City Special Events Director John Sullivan. Sullivan said the high-profile event will bring a lot of television coverage to the area, something that would appeal to city officials. The only concerns the city might have are costs on more police coverage and some lost revenue in parking, but so far the costs on the city don’t seem enough to outweigh the benefits, Sullivan said.

“On the surface, this looks like it could be excellent exposure,” said Brent Ashley, an Ocean City council member. Ashley, who is past president of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce and served on the board for the city’s tourism bureau, said he thinks this will be Ocean City’s first high-profile event.

Ocean City Mayor Richard W. Meehan could not be reached for comment.

The event will be broadcasted live for two hours on July 23 and 24 on NBC Universal, domestically and internationally, and the event is expected to get coverage on USA Network and MTV as well, according to Alli’s application.

The Camden Yards sports complex hosted the Dew Tour in 2007 and 2008, but a scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles prevented the tour from returning in 2009.

Terry Hasseltine, the state’s director of sports marketing, said Alli officials contacted him last month about bringing the tour back to the state. Hasseltine has worked with Dew Tour officials since 2005, when he was deputy executive director for the Kentucky Sports Authority.

Alli officials have visited Ocean City in the past couple weeks, Hasseltine said. Ocean City’s reputation as a beachfront destination made it stand out from other East Coast spots, he said.

Beyond the televised coverage, Hasseltine said he expects the Dew Tour to have an economic impact of $11 million to $12 million.

“This is a phenomenal event, there’s high value in it, and we’re very proud to have it back in Maryland,” Hasseltine said.

Ocean City would be the first stop on the multi-city tour. The other cities have not yet been announced. Alli officials could not be reached for comment.

Sponsors for the event would include Mountain Dew, Nike, Toyota, PlayStation, PowerBar and JCPenney, among others.

When the tour came to Baltimore in 2008, it drew more than 52,500 fans to the Camden Yards parking lots and created about $10 million in economic impact, according to city tourism leaders. The tour drew more than 55,000 action sports fans in its inaugural Baltimore stop in 2007.

Stephanie Murdoch, president of Skatepark of Baltimore Inc., said the Dew Tour will have a tremendous impact on the local skateboarding community if it comes back this summer. Skatepark of Baltimore partnered with the Dew Tour when it was in Baltimore and received hundreds of dollars in donations and attention for skateboarding advocacy in the city.

“If Ocean City is chosen, I think that’s just wonderful,” Murdoch said. “We’d love to have an opportunity to partner with them.”

The nonprofit organization is working with the Department of Recreation and Parks to raise money for a new skateboard park to open in 2012. The city will match money raised dollar for dollar up to $75,000.