There seems to be a perfect storm brewing out there. First the ProTour creates a situation where sponsors are now required to pay a minimum of $10 million (US) a year to become title sponsor of a team. This is due to the requirements that all ProTour teams ride at all ProTour events. That means more riders/team and higher travel and logistics costs.
At $10 million with a minimum 3 year commitment, not many companies can afford that price tag. Now with Operation Puerto and Floyd Landis taking headlines away from race results and exposure opportunities, more sponsors are calling it quits.
You may even add to the list the departure of Lance Armstrong. Lance was able to deliver many Americans to the TV during the tour. A look at this year’s ratings show a big drop off from last year.
Are we seeing the beginning of a dark period for our beloved sport?