I have really been concerned about the future of sponsorship in our sport. I have been wondering if we are in the middle of the perfect storm that may create serious problems in getting and maintaining sponsorships.
- The ProTour has forced teams to dramatically up their budgets, thus limiting the number of companies able to foot the bill
- Operation Puerto is giving current sponsors the kind of publicity they never anticipated
- Floyd Landis
- The retirement of Lance Armstrong has TV ratings significantly lower in the US and abroad.
Within this maelstrom lies T-Mobile. If any sponsor wanted out, no one would fault T-Mobile. It has been “all in” around Jan Ullrich and it seems that the bet has been lost.
That puts this quote in greater context.
“After 15 years of involvement with the sport, you don’t just throw your sponsorship away. We, as the management of T-Mobile Corporation, believe in cycling and we believe in the image of clean cycling.”
T-Mobile is really making a go of this. To prove this, it has extended its sponsorship agreement another two years, It has have replaced the entire management team, 11 riders, and even Catherine Zeta-Jones. Sorry, I have a problem with the last one. Maybe they got a little carried away in their sacking.
Sponsorship is our life blood. Our sport is not played in stadiums or any place where you would have to pay to attend. TV money tends to go to the organizer. Therefore the money in the sport is all on the sponsor’s back. For the first time in my life, I may be pulling for the boys in magenta (don’t say pink).