Title of newspaper to the left says "It's double wellens' value"
When asked how he can request such a high start money, Nys confirms what anyone who has seen him live knows as truth - he brings in the spectators by the bus-load. Considering a race entry fee usually varies from 8€ to 15€, and that he attracts more than 1000 Sven-Nys-specific
fans, it seems like a fair price.
This season, Nys plans to do about ten fewer races which means ten fewer times to see him so theoretically his fans will make every effort to attend ALL his events. That alone should increase his per-event spectatorship. And when you combine that with Nys' stated intention to give his best at every race he attends, you can be assured that additional folks will pay the price to see it.
Title of newspaper reads, "Is Sven Nys too expensive?"
Zonhoven Start Money Requested
Sven Nys - 8000€
Lars Boom - 6000€
Bart Wellens - 4250€
Niels Albert - 3500€
Erwin Vervecken - 3250€
Zdenek Stybar - 3000€
Klaas Vantournout - 2000€
Richard Groenendaal - 1800€
Sven Vanthourenhout - 1500€
Kevin Pauwels - 900€
Ben Berden - 400€
Jan Verstraeten - 300€
After this info was made public, Lars Boom understandably increased his start money asking price to match Sven Nys. Heck, he IS wearing the World Champion Jersey. But does he bring in the crowds like Nys...should that be the question?
This topic has been hot since the beginning of the cross season with Ben Berden one of the first to speak up about the high start monies asked by the top guys. With the start money increasing every year disproportionately faster than the increasing number of spectators, the money has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is the proverbial pocket of the lesser known cyclists like Berden and the many others who rely on start money to cover costs for their season.
Is it not fair to pay the top guys what they are worth? Should we put a cap on their start money? How do you fairly judge what a person is worth?
What may just happen is you'll have maybe 12-18 top racers per race - a very small field. Or maybe the organizers will open up the events to anyone so that it is a full field at the start line while the rest of the race may play out like a circus as most of the field will be lapped five times per race. If there is no longer money to spare for the decent racers outside of the top 15, it may just kill the sport.
Good thing women race for the pleasure, not for the money - as if there were an option.