img_51361114091For one year at least, the Navesink River off Rumson’s Victory Park will be home to America’s largest collegiate rowing event.

Officials of the Dad Vail Regatta made it official Monday night: the Philly-based college rowing event will be moving to Rumson for 2010, with the possibility of an extended stay.

That’s according to a report in today’s Philadelphia Daily News, citing regatta spokesman Harry Stinger as its source.

Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl also confirmed the decision by the Dad Vail organizing committee, and told the News he’s “thrilled” at the potential economic jolt the event could bring to the region. Some 3,000 rowers from 120 U.S. and Canadian colleges traditionally participate in about 150 races over the course of the weekend-long event.

Ekdahl also said he believes the event “gives us and the sport instant credibility in the Two River area.” Ekdahl said. A crew program was launched three years ago under the joint auspices of the borough recreation department and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High.

From the News:

The decision came after Rumson officials approached the regatta’s organizing committee and offered to host the race and contribute $250,000 toward the costs of staging the event, which can cost up to $500,000 a year.

The regatta – the nation’s largest – began suffering financially after corporate sponsorship and competition revenue dropped by more than 60 percent as costs for staging the 2009 race increased.

“Various factors, primarily economic in nature, prompted the decision to relocate to the Navesink for the 2010, two-day competition,” according to a draft of a Dad Vail news release obtained by the Daily News.

“Rumson, New Jersey, representatives approached us after learning that we have a need to restore financial reserves and made a very compelling proposal to host the event in 2010,” Dad Vail President Jim Hanna said in the release. “Their support will preclude the need for large increases in registration fees to participating crews while continuing to benefit the Philadelphia community rowing programs.”

Race organizers made the decision before they met with Philadelphia city officials Friday, but delayed the announcement, said a source familiar with the move.

A decision on 2011 will not be made until after next year’s race, according to KYW radio.

From the News:

“We’re only talking in terms of 2010, we haven’t gone beyond that,” Ekdahl said. “But the expectation is that if we bring the sponsorship required and do a good job of hosting the race, they would consider us again in 2011.”