The eighth edition of the triathlon is the last contractually obligated to the City of Trees.

The Ironman 70.3 Boise starts Saturday at 10 a.m. at Lucky Peak Reservoir with its traditional 1.2-mile swim. But the eighth edition of the triathlon is the last contractually obligated to the City of Trees.

A five-year contract between the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau and the for-profit World Triathlon Corp. expires after Saturday’s race. Carrie Westergard, the executive director of the visitors bureau, said she’s heard plenty of rumors of the race not returning.

But she said she wants to see the race return and the visitors bureau and World Triathlon Corp. are negotiating a new contract.

“We’ve had several conversations,” Westergard said. “The last one was within a week. Of course there is the buzz around town that this is the last year because there isn’t a signed contract for the future. However, in talking to them, they feel this is a very viable and positive market for them.

“Without putting words in their mouth, I’ve been feeling very good about our conversations. We’ve talked about in the next two weeks we’ll be negotiating for the future.”

The current contract requires the visitors bureau to pay World Triathlon Corp. a $50,000 annual sponsorship fee. Ironman then runs the race with local contractors and volunteers.

Westergard said $50,000 is more than the visitors bureau pays any other event to come to town, including the Albertsons Boise Open golf tournament, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl college football game or the Treefort music festival.

“We’ll be negotiating that fee,” Westergard said. “I don’t know what it will be in the future.”

The Coeur d’Alene Area Chamber of Commerce pays $100,000 a year for its full-length Ironman race. It contemplated ending its contract early last winter, citing the cost. But it decided to finish its contract, which ends in 2017, after hearing strong business and community support.

“I believe the community loves this event as well,” Westergard said. “They do bring a lot of people to the area for the event. Also, it’s a big economic impact for the area with all the local vendors they use and services they use. They definitely give back to local nonprofits. It’s a positive impact.”

Read more: Idahostatesman.com

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