Way back on March 5, the Sea Otter Classic was ‘postponed’ due to growing concerns over the Covid-19 outbreak. This was one of the first signs that something very serious was hitting the U.S. shores. Little was known about the virus at the time and what its impacts would be in the US. But first on its sights seemed to be large events, gatherings, and sporting events. Next to cancel was the NBA season, announced on March 11.
Cyclists around the globe were stunned as this seemed unthinkable for a key outdoor event. But given the massive international presence (of manufacturers and sponsors) in this event and the mounting travel restrictions, folks started to digest the news and the reality.
A glimmer of hope was offered as the organizers called it a ‘postponement’, moving the event to an October date in the same venue. It was a good move to buy time and understanding of the true impact of the virus. But as the situation was declared a pandemic in Mid-March, the forecast for holding such an event looked grim.
Today, Sea Otter Organizers confirmed what many had suspected as the event was officially canceled. Here is today’s update from CEO, Frank Yohannan
Dear Sea Otter Classic Supporter,
First of all, thank you for your overwhelming support of the Sea Otter Classic. As previously noted, our management team has been preparing to host the event in October. After frequent discussions with Monterey County health officials, it has become clear that we cannot host an event that will meet our health and safety standards. This has always been our top priority. Consequently, we have decided to cancel the Sea Otter Classic scheduled for October 1-4, 2020. The Bicycle Leadership Conference is also canceled. More information regarding the cancellation of the Sea Otter Classic and the Bicycle Leadership Conference will be available on July 17th.
While a year without Sea Otter is hard to comprehend, we knew this was a possibility. So, we’ve been developing a new event to keep us all connected. We are pleased to bring you Sea Otter Play presented by Continental! This premier immersive virtual experience will feature over 350 innovative cycling companies in a digital format. The event will include several cycling challenges, fundraising for COVID-19 relief, and cycling’s largest digital festival. Our partners from Sea Otter Europe, Sea Otter Canada, and Sea Otter Australia will join us in this inaugural event.
“As a presenting sponsor of all Sea Otter global events, Sea Otter Play represents an innovative opportunity to connect with riders around the world,” Oliver Anhuth, Global Head of Marketing for Continental Bicycle Tires.
Sea Otter Play will be held during September 2020. The ride challenges will start on September 1st and the festival will be held September 17-20. The industry response to this event has been terrific. For many sponsors and exhibitors, this will be their first opportunity to showcase their latest innovations to a global audience. We’re excited about what our September event will bring to the cycling industry and are making every effort to ensure your faith in us is rewarded with fun for you and your family.
“With new challenges come new opportunities. SRAM is excited to take part in Sea Otter Play.” David Zimberoff, vice president of marketing at SRAM.
Thank you again for your support during these challenging times. We encourage you to stay connected to our events and social channels for news and updates in the coming weeks. From all of us at the Sea Otter Classic, be safe. We look forward to hosting you digitally in September and being back with you in Monterey in April 2021!
President & CEO
Sea Otter Classic, Inc.
What do you think of the decision? Were you planning to still attend a fall event? What does the future hold for the Sea Otter Classic