Rug pulled from under Johan’s feet

In a surprising move, Discovery Channel opted not to renew it’s sponsorship of it’s professional cycling team. The current contract expires at the end of this season. Cycling News was able to get a quote from Sean Yates.

“It was unexpected,” he stated. “They have been involved for three years. I guess the primary reason they came into the sport was because of Lance… he is no longer here as an active rider although he is involved with the team. Three years is one of the shorter periods of sponsorship that I can remember for a top team. I would say that normally the optimum amount of time is five or six years to gain the maximum amount of publicity, of payback, so one would have thought that they would have continued a bit more. But no, that’s not the case.”

This could prove difficult to get a new sponsor while trying to bring Ivan Basso back into the pro ranks. The negative publicity surrounding Ivan may prove difficult to overcome when trying to find some one with deep pockets as well as a thick skin.

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4 Responses to Rug pulled from under Johan’s feet

  1. Chris says:

    It’s hard to argue that this has nothing to do with Johan’s signing Ivan Basso.

  2. pelotonjim says:

    I would agree. I thought he would have given Discovery a heads up on the intent to sign.

  3. Theresa says:

    Bill Campbell, the guy who wanted the sponsership, and said go ahead on the Basso deal, got replaced by some dude who doesn’t like cycling…see Rant’s post on this, it put it into perspective.

  4. Ed says:

    I think it’s a combination three things: 1. the perception, on the part of Discover Channel’s corporate organization, of American’s waning enthusiasm for cycling since Lance’s departure.
    2. the lack of corporate enthusiasm for cycling sponsorship in general since Discovery performed badly in the Tour last year.(Discovery Channel only wants to sponsor winners) and 3. their Madison avenue-derived, hyper-sensitivity about the public’s perception of them hiring a disgraced European to lead Lance’s old team.

    None of the three has merit except in terms of value for sponsorship dollars invested. If DC-corporate calculated that they would not reap the same benefits as they would if say Lance were still riding and winning, then who’s to say that it was a bad decision to pull out?

    What American companies don’t understand is that cycling sponsorships are more of a long term investment. It takes time to develope a competitive team. American companies are used to immediate return for their advertising dollars and their attention spans are very short if the sponsored thing is underperforming.

    Somebody should re-recruit 7-Eleven. Those were good times.

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