Baltimore, MD, United States (4E Sports) – Volvo Ocean Race organizers have replaced Baltimore as host of the only US stopover of the global race in 2015 due to conflict with the Preakness Stakes race.
In January, Baltimore received a letter from the Volvo Ocean Race congratulating the city for being picked to host the event.
Days later, race organizers removed Baltimore and gave the hosting job to Newport, Rhode Island. The official announcement of the switch is expected at 2:30 p.m. at the Rhode Island State House in Providence.
According to Baltimore officials, Volvo withdrew its accreditation after city officials refused to grant its request to move the Preakness Stakes to other date.
“We were shocked,” said Robert Housman, executive director of Ocean Racing USA, the Baltimore bidder. “It would be discouraging to work hard on something and lose, but clearly they moved the finish line. We won on the merits of our bid and that’s a fact.”
“It was unfortunate. The city and state partners worked in good faith,” said Ryan O’Doherty, spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
The two-week event could have contributed an estimated $ 40 million to Baltimore’s economy.
On Jan. 22, Volvo officials sent a letter to Housman and other members of the bidding team congratulating them on winning not only the 2014-15 edition of the race but also the race in 2017-18.
“We are really delighted to once again welcome Baltimore as a city in the Volvo Ocean Race. We have both visited Baltimore as race entries in the past and have great memories from those race,” wrote Volvo race CEO Knut Frostad.
However, city and bid officials said they received a call from race organizers on Feb. 1, saying that they would award the race to Newport if Baltimore didn’t budge to their request to move Preakness Stakes to another date.
That afternoon, Newport officials received a call, congratulating them on winning the Volvo stopover.
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