Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Your Name Here: Sponsoring a Pro Cycling Team

As any cyclists knows, the Tour of California is in full swing.  Or it's over.  Or it's about to start.  Or it's been cancelled due to lack of sponsorship.

Just admit it, you're not paying attention, which is why you may be surprised that Cannondale-Drapac manager Jonathan Vaughters says that "pro cycling is the best sponsorship deal in sports:"

Indeed, according to Vaughters, Cannondale-Drapac could have been Team Netflix:

But this time I was waiting for a call from Netflix. We had put together a plan to kick off its European-branding campaign in a way nothing else could. We were in talks to announce a naming-rights sponsorship of our top-level cycling team just before the start of the Tour de France, the world's largest annual sporting event.

If only the streaming giant wasn't so short-sighted:

"We can't promote that," I was told. Which was too bad, for Netflix. They’d missed out on the best deal in sports sponsorship, especially when it comes to the younger generation.

Did they really miss out on a fabulous marketing opportunity though?  Taylor Phinney has been the next big thing in cycling for the past eight years now, and Toms Skujins's recent crash underscores how quickly even a top-tier bike race can devolve into a rolling shitshow:

Skujins immediately tried to get back up as a neutral service mechanic picked his bike up, but struggled to stand after appearing to hit his head.

He then tried to mount his bike but then crashed on his left-hand side as he continued to look dazed.

Appearing to try to retrieve his Garmin which had fallen off in the second crash, Skujins then almost collided with riders chasing on as they came past and he tried to cross the road back to where his bike was.


Meanwhile, there were floods of messages across social media from shocked viewers who were clear the Skujins shouldn’t have been allowed to continue the race.

Unfortunately his team car was some way behind with Skujins in the breakaway, and phone and TV signal wasn’t allowing the team back at the buses to see what was happening on the road.
In no way is this to blame anybody for what happened, nor is it to suggest frightening injuries don't occur in other sports, but I also doubt the marketing people at Netflix are exactly kicking themselves right now for not putting their logo on that torn jersey.

I'm also not sure cycling has some magical pull for "millennials:"

Traditional team sports do not have the same appeal to millennials that they did to older generations; millennials want to participate in sports and their orbiting cultures, not simply sit in recliners with their remotes and consume them. This tech-savvy generation is finding ways around traditional broadcasting avenues, streaming huge amounts of content, sports included.

It's really time we stopped talking about millennials as though they're a different form of human.  They're not.  Trust me, I live right next to a college, and I can assure you that the dumb traditional sports bro is in no way a dying breed.  By the same token, the Europhile streaming "alt-sports" such as cycling is just as likely to be an aging Fred as a so-called millennial.  In fact, they're probably more likely to be older, since they have office doors they can close.

And sure, young people seem to like riding bikes in cities, but does that really translate into wanting to watch bike racing on TV?

Go to any major city, and you’ll see millennials cruising around on their bicycles, and there are bike lanes popping up everywhere. In no other sport is there a line that connects the kids out learning to ride bikes and bike commuters to amateur racers and world-class professional cyclists. They all experience a similar thing.

I absolutely agree that adult cycling fans are much more likely to be riders themselves than, say, adult baseball fans are to be baseball players.  However, I'm not sure the average urban "millennial" commuting in one of those new protected bike lanes gives a shit about pro cycling.  I also think the thing about cycling being the only sport in which there's "a line that connects the kids...to amateur racers and world-class professional cyclists" is totally untrue.  What do you call Little League?  You can plug your kid into traditional sports right out of the womb, but good luck entering your grade-schooler into a bicycle race.  In fact, good luck finding a grade-schooler who even knows how to ride a bicycle.

Of course, one way in which cycling is different from many other sports is that the sponsor's name becomes the team name, and so the spectators effectively become fans of that company:

Sponsors of teams usurp those ad buys because they’re woven into the stories of the athletes and the race itself. Most of us tune out ads during a football game, but it’s impossible to ignore sponsors in cycling. They’re on the clothing, but they’re also on the air for hours each race, and then in the media all day, as commentators announce the team names and myriad publications cover every race. Sponsors become part of a team’s identity. That’s just not for sale in any another sport.

However, there's only one problem with that: they're still just team names.  See, people tend to take names for granted, and therefore it's incredibly easy to not give a shit what these companies actually do, even if you're a fan of the teams they sponsor.  For example, I've seen the name "Cannondale-Drapac" every day for months, and while obviously I know what Cannondale is it wasn't until I started writing this very blog post that I even bothered to look up Drapac--and in case you're wondering, here's what I came up with:

Drapac Capital Partners is a property funds management business that identifies value through unorthodox means.

With Australian origins and an established track record, we set up operations in the US in 2011 to capitalize on the unprecedented investment opportunities following the financial crisis. Our core investment focus is on land, and we never take a short term view allowing us to do what others cannot – make logical and rational investment decisions.

Yes, millennials love property funds management.

Given all this, it's harder and harder to imagine Netflix wanting to sponsor a cycling team:

For Netflix, this would have been the perfect move because it captures the already established massive audience of Tour de France viewers without paying a media competitor to be ignored during a commercial placed in the race. By putting its brand name on one of the main actors in the content people were viewing, Netflix would have used the efforts and money of competitors to promote their own channel. Genius pirate swashbuckling!

Would it really have, though?  Does a content creator really want to put its name on content it can't control?  Netflix can control the plot twists in "House of Cards," but they can't control the doping scandals in the Tour de France.

Of course, there certainly are companies that do benefit from cycling sponsorship, such as Garmin:

Garmin, a company that was involved with cycling on a title-level for seven years, saw its market share, brand recognition, and overall revenues soar in the fitness sector after launching its products through a named team: Team Garmin. It was the exception that had enough lateral thinkers in corporate headquarters to figure out that the real bottom line is sometimes better when you take a few risks. And with risks come rewards.

Which makes total sense, since they make a product for cyclists.  Indeed, since cycling fans are so likely to be cyclists themselves you'd think there would be more bike and component companies sponsoring cycling teams...until you consider it's really expensive to do so and the fundamentals are terrible due to the sport's exhausting scandal cycle.

If anything, the future of the sport lies in sponsorship from the Persian Gulf countries:

If I only had a Bahrain...


Mike O. said...

Early today, now to go back and read the post.

Mike O.

John Michael Swartz said...


Jasper said...

Early doors

N/A said...

Even after reading this post, I still don't care what Drapac does.

BamaPhred said...

I mean, if thy want authentic sponsorship, why not "Team BD". You know, maker of fine needles and syringes. Already have Amgen lined up.

wishiwasmerckx said...

N/A, I'm calling my broker straight away and buying 100 shares of Drapak. I understand that it trades under the symbol "DREK."

dnk said...

I'm officially a member of the younger generation because I am younger than all of the people older than me.

As a member of the Pepsi Challenge Generation I can tell you honestly that I did not know the Tour of California had started. Or ended.

Furthermore, as a member of the Now Generation, the Me Generation, the Be All You Can Be in the Army Generation, I have a few good suggestions for cycling teams:

I'd love to see a team sponsored by the United States Postal Service. Not only is USPS beloved among young people like me.......but, you gotta admit: USPS is a pretty dope name for a cycling team.

theEel said...


Anonymous said...

"...we set up operations in the US in 2011 to capitalize on the unprecedented investment opportunities following the financial crisis. Our core investment focus is on land, and we never take a short term view allowing us to do what others cannot – make logical and rational investment decisions."

That's barely even euphemistic for: "we got rich bought up all the houses that people lost when the economy crashed and they couldn't keep up with their mortgages."

Anonymous said...

"They’re on the clothing, but they’re also on the air for hours each race, and then in the media all day, as commentators announce the team names and myriad publications cover every race. Sponsors become part of a team’s identity. That’s just not for sale in any another sport."

Um, NASCAR anyone?

bad boy of the sooth said...

Hmmm...cannondale-citibike.that would be interesting.

Olle Nilsson said...

I like Netflix. Why spoil that with a cycling sponsorship.

TrippyZ said...

I agree that there is little connection between riding a bike and watching pro cycling. It is like saying 'you have a Datsun so you like formula one.'

However, I do ride and I do watching pro cycling. It is tactically interesting.

Unknown said...

no bahrain no rules!

Anonymous said...


Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Could have been a contender Scranus!

McFly said...

Aw geez Toms Skujins just needs a little nap on the team bus.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

If Vaughters has secured sponsorship from Drapec, why is he pissing and moaning about Netflix's lost opportunity? If I was Drapec, I wouldn't be happy about that at all.

Maybe Drapec is doing it because they will ultimately want to unload all their bargains in real estate and they want millenials to buy from them when they finally decide to settle down? Maybe this thing called the internet has made the world aware of Netflix, even in places where it's not yet available?

Mark said...

Ha ha! No TV or cell coverage right by Silicon Valley.

Anonymous said...

The worst thing for Vaughters was getting the MBA. Did he go to the Wharton School of Business like the clown in the White House? These greedy pricks want to take all the SPORT out of sport and replace it with money, money, money!

jordi said...

Nice blog!
If you are interested
You can read our new post "SPRING CLASSICS 2017. MORAL WINNERS."
and follow us on our blog, http://letsvelo.com/blog/

Thank you so much!

jordi said...

Nice blog!
If you are interested
You can read our new post "SPRING CLASSICS 2017. MORAL WINNERS."
and follow us on our blog, http://letsvelo.com/blog/

Thank you so much!

JLRB said...

skunins could not have hurt his head - he was wearing a magic foam hat

Joe said...

So, this isn't the official announcement of the BSNYC/RTMS/Astana Pro Team?

Anonymous said...

Even people who race bikes don't pay attention to pro bike racing. I pay close attention to it, but most of the guys I ride and race with couldn't name another race besides the Tour and couldn't name five pro riders if you spotted them Froome and Cavendish.

leroy said...

Dear Mr. BSNYC -

I am informed that my dog has attempted to secure your financial participation in a sponsorship proposal to Mr. Vaughters.

Please understand that I am not involved in that project and will in no way be responsible for refunding anyone's investment no matter how convincing my dog may seem on that subject.

In fact, I'm not sure why he would even want to sponsor a team.

He's not a working breed and, in point of fact, I'm not entirely sure what he does all day.

CommieCanuck said...

The UCI needs to take a lesson from NASCAR.
Tour Dey France? Nah! Jimmy's Anal Fissure Creme 300. Giro D'epends, presented by Rascal Scooters.
"if you don't chew Big Red, then fuck you." --Chris Froome.

(kidding, it's not like NASCAR would promote sodas and candy all over the cars then host a race called The Diabetes 250)

I'm back
Back again
look who's back
tell a friend

Cat 404 e-Racer said...

Wow, BS has done more to snobsplain what Drapac is than a bunch of guys in green twiddling pedals - I never cared what a Drapac was before. Now I think I'll go seek some value with Drapacula.

Thanks Drapacsnbnyc!

Mario C said...

Snobba wrong again.. I seccura da PORNHUB sponsor very easy, very easy, I just agree make 30 feelms, which take two hours on a bad day.

CommieCanuck said...

I like Netflix. Why spoil that with a cycling sponsorship.

Thank you for your service.

N/A said...

Nobody wants to read your damn blog, jordi. If you want to advertise, buy a slot on the sidebar. Wildcat has kids to feed, you know.

Down the Lazy River in the Noon Day Sun said...

The Donald sez exercise is bad for you. Sez it saps your finite supply of energy.

Experts say it's not so, but who ya going to believe, an expert or 140 characters or less from THE DONALD.

And he sings in the shower "I know something you don' t know, do dah, do dah..."

So no more of that Tour de Legal Weed State bike riding stuff for me.

Garmin Team Fund Raising: Send me some of the PED Weed, Jamaican please, I send you some of dee loot via Bit Coin.

Olle Nilsson said...

Thank you for vatching"

Oh wait, I cancelled my Netflix 3 months ago. Never mind sponsor away.

Cat 404 e-Racer said...

The dude(http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2017/04/wednesday-wenzdawenzde.html) with the chainless bike is trying to reinvent an even older pursuit....


The Wheel in the Sky Keeps on Turning said...

The Donald is going to make watching vintage bike racin on TV Great Again!

Tune in to Trump TV as drug users and cheats of old are brought back in grainy black and white

Episode One: Le Little Pirate of Penzance.

Two: Floyd Landis and the tainted Jack Daniels.

Three - Alberto and the Chef who prepared the steak served with Chernobyl Sauce.

Four: Doctor's and blood (what could possibly go wrong?).

Five: Coaches, Choppy Warburton and other morticians.

Six: Fausto Coppi and the Woman in White (sex in cycling, if that won't kill you what will?)

Seven: The You Talkin to Me Giro of Reactivan - The King of the heap comes down, setting the stage for the future.

Eight: Rudi Altig "The Pedaling Pharmacy” failed three drug tests at the 1969 Tour.

Nine: The Festina Team, everyone pleads guilty, and then goes on with their lives.

Ten, the great finality: The one, the only, Lance

big_plane said...

Drapac is more billionaire hobbyists. Vaughters failed to mention his "clean" guys don't see podiums, but yeah, money! Easily my favorite team that's vanished was "Skydive Dubai."

A UCI reality TV show would be great. Corruption and controversy while jet-setting is literally endless. Whose been arrested this week? Where were the drugs found this time? How much money does it cost to never test positive? How many bribes did the management committee get this week?

GW Hayduke said...

Racing is stupid
Advertising sucks
Real estate investing is evil

Anonymous said...

Article on tyre air pressure here https://cyclingtips.com/2017/05/what-is-the-optimal-tyre-pressure-2/
It's a bit of a thing at the moment apparently.
You're welcome

Boston Driver said...

"Devolve into"? I thought you knew better (or, at least, had an editor).

McFly said...

We did a semi-epic Tuesday MTB ride with a new guy yesterday. He asked #whatpressureyourunnin so we told him 22-26 and asked #whatpressureyourunnin and........

.........he said...........

............60 psi......

It was at that point that we changed his life at a core level.

Dooth said...

Chico's Bail Bonds is interested in sponsoring a pro cycling team.

Eat a Peach said...

For President Trump, every new day brings a new impeachable offense.

The list of seemingly impeachable crimes grows by the minute — one second, he's leaking secrets to a foreign adversary, the next, he's openly admitting to obstruction of justice on national television. But contrary to what you may have heard from the lamestream media, Congressional Republicans aren't afraid of him.

They're more than willing to impeach the president, assuming he commits what they consider an impeachable offense.

Below are a list of crimes that Congressional Republicans would consider impeachable offenses. Of course, they'd need a large number of votes to secure impeachment, including the House and two thirds of the Senate. If Trump commits one of these offenses, however, they'll courageously push forward — their Oath is to the Constitution, not the President.
1. Destroys 90 percent of the civilized world

Let's be honest: do we really need 100 percent of the Western world? Who's really going to miss Luxembourg?

If President Trump wants to destroy most of the civilized world, that's completely within his Constitutional right — but once he starts going after their Caribbean all-inclusives, they will consider a strong talking-to.
2. Instead of shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, tries to give them health insurance

If President Trump wants to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, that's absolutely within his jurisdiction as president. Were he to try and give them actual insurance, that would be considered extreme executive overreach and an impeachable offense.
3. Says something nice about Hillary

Hating Hillary Clinton is the GOP's only consistent policy position over the last 20 years. They're not going to allow Trump to go rogue on this one.
4. Uses the nuclear weapon arsenal to destroy the sun

The moon? No problem. Losing the sun, however, will affect the tan lines they've spent their whole career building. Impeach!
5. Jeopardizes their chance for re-election

As president, Trump has the right to do whatever the hell he wants. If, however, the president in any way effects the party's chances for re-election, Congress retains the right to impeach him and replace him with someone way hotter.

6. Dies

The GOP will gladly take up articles of impeachment once Trump is already dead.

7. Commits to what he promised during the election

If Trump actually tries to rebuild the manufacturing sector or protect Medicare and Social Security or try to give healthcare to everyone, that will be considered an impeachable offense.

8. Lets his approval rating drop below 30 percent

Low approval ratings are an impeachable offense, per an article written by Paul Ryan on Medium.
9. Goes to jail

If the President goes to jail, Congress will potentially consider articles of impeachment — if and only if it prevents him from signing their executive orders.
10. Raises their taxes

The founding fathers dreamed of a country free of estate taxes and rich with capital gains loopholes. If Trump does anything that affects their personal incomes, or the assets of lobbyists they care about, that is a sure sign that he has gone too far, and that he will be removed from office once and for all.


JLRB said...

NASCAR and Vape Sponsor http://uproxx.com/sports/nascar-weed-vape-sponsor-pulled-marijuana-vape-life/

wle said...

sponsorship - when it gets down to $49.95, we can talk....

Pist Off said...

60 psi off-road is... horrible, but impressive if that's been a longtime practice. Did your friend notice a difference with 22-26psi? If not, is he dead?

P.S. I am a total MTB tire and pressure nerd

JLRB said...

Taxi cabs = assholes

Uber = clueless, glued to their devices

Both = dangerous

And that sums up my thoughts from this morning's smugly humid commute

Wednesday seems to have taken Snob hostage

Anonymous said...

Why all the analysis? The article is clearly sponsored BY bike racing, saying how good it is to sponsor bike racing