In search of….Sponsors

Attention all sponsors! In aisle 4 we have a deal on professional cycling. Why pay above retail prices on NASCAR and Formula 1 we have a great deal for you here get great exposure at post-Lance prices.

The current state of cycling could have multiple sponsors walking away at the end of the season. This could create a large upheaval in the sport. The constraints of the ProTour force teams to field large teams racing all over Europe. In addition, Pat McQuaid’s frequent flier card has racked up tons of miles to other countries looking for more ProTour venues.

It is clear that Pat McQuaid is looking to dilute Europe’s (read ASOs) power base thus creating more power for the UCI. In doing so, he has created the need for global sponsors who are willing to foot the bill for a more global ProTour.

For the sport to survive and ultimately thrive we need to begin to attract sponsors who will benefit from cycling and the audience it draws. In this first post, I’ll outline some of the things a new sponsor should consider. Many of the figures I have are a little dated (2004 and 2005) and a little US centric but you go with what you got.

1) Consider the Market. In the US for 2005, Cycling is an untapped gold mine. Here are some basic figures. I’ve been told that the Tour viewers were off 15% in 2006.

  • 12M cycling fans in US
  • 500,000 daily viewers of the Tour de France on Versus/Outdoor Life Network (OLN)
  • 300,000 viewers of most cycling programs on Versus/OLN
  • $90,000 Average Annual Household Income for the 12M cycling fans
  • 4.3 Million Recreational Cyclists
  • 48 Million Adults
  • Male/Female 45% – 50%
  • Median age 32
  • Median Household Income $60K
  • 70% College Graduates
  • Cycling is the #1 fitness activity of doctors and lawyers over 40

Not a bad place to start.

2) Know your venue for advertising. The Grand Tours. The Grandest is Le Tour.

  • #1 International cycling event where 1,000,000,000 plus people read, watch or hear about the Tour de France each day of the race
  • 20 million live spectators annually
  • Third most broadly televised sporting event worldwide behind World Cup soccer and the Olympics
  • Eurosport has over 1 million viewers daily
  • More than 555,000,000 television viewers in more than 170 countries
  • 170 Countries carry coverage . (1489 hours in Europe, 508 hours in US, 354 hours in Asia)
  • 16 million page views and 2.5 million unique visitors to letour.com

3) What’s the ROI?

More Than $52M in Domestic Real Value (Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide)

  • Television Race Programming, News Coverage and Talk Shows
  • Print and Internet Editorial Coverage
  • Outdoor Signage and Vehicle
  • Television Documentary
  • Book Publishing
  • Personal and Team Appearances

This figure does not include the ROI from the Sponsor tent at a major race. Trust me, a lot of business goes on in the sponsor tent. Also keep in mind that the sponsor name is synonymous with the team. In auto racing,the driver or team owner is the only identification of the team. For example, who sponsors Scott Dixon for the Indy 500? The web site lists his name, his team owner and his car. No sponsor. It took me about 5 minutes of looking to find the answer. Target. You never hear “Team Target Scott Dixon” mentioned. Just Scott Dixon.

Something to think about. In a later post, I’ll list some ideas on potential sponsors. I’d love to hear yours.

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2 Responses to In search of….Sponsors

  1. Debby says:

    Excellent Post!

    I did a humorous version of the sponsor question in a blog post, if you’re interested:

    http://knitseashore.typepad.com/she_cycles/2007/02/fun_with_sponso.html

    Have a great weekend and lots of good riding!

  2. pelotonjim says:

    Very clever. Some of yours are on my “serious” list. Uh Oh

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