During the first Request For Proposal meeting in February for the annual Key West, Fla., offshore powerboat races, assistant city manager Gregory Veliz instructed representatives from Race World Offshore, the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1 and Super Boat International to “make your best deal” as bidders for the five-year race promoter contract. As they have been for at least the past five years to accommodate the longstanding cruise ship schedule—no ships come to port on Wednesday, Friday or Sunday during the annual race week—the races will be held during the first full week of November.
With the highest score of any bidder, Race World Offshore has a considerable advantage over its competitors heading into the final Key West City Planning Commission in early May. Photo from the 2018 RWO Mentor, Ohio, race courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Based on the scores of the five-member RFP ranking committee, it appears that Key West-based Race World Offshore founder Larry Bleil and chief operating officer Rodrick Cox took Veliz at his word and structured their proposal with strong financial incentives for the city. As reported earlier this week, Race World Offshore scored highest by earning 87 out of 100 possible points, followed by the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1 and Super Boat International tied at 82.4 points.
The scores that most separated Race World Offshore from its fellow bidders were in the Proposed Methodology and Approach to Administrative and Financial Management and Financial Impact to the City categories, each worth 30 points. Race World Offshore earned an average of 27 points in both categories, whereas Super Boat International earned an average of 24.8 points and 24.4 points in those categories and the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1 earned an average of 24.8 points and 23.4 points in those categories.
While the individual RFPs for each bidder have not been released, Race World Offshore predicted it would be profitable in its first year producing the races and included revenue sharing with the city as part of its proposal, according to Cox. The Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1, according to P1 head Azam Rangoonwala, predicted they would lose between $100,000 and $200,000 in their first year producing the races and did not offer revenue sharing. Super Boat International, which had not responded to an email inquiry regarding specifics of its RFP when this story went live, also reportedly did not offer revenue sharing with the city.
The Key West City Commissioners reportedly will meet in early May to review ranking committee results and make their final determination on awarding the contract.
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