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SBD Global/July 23, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Cycling's Reputation Could Hurt Froome's Chances For Landing Sponsorship Deals

Cycling's bad reputation could limit Chris Froome's sponsorship options.
Leading sponsorship analysts warned the "the spectre of Lance Armstrong could hurt Chris Froome’s ability to fully exploit his Tour de France triumph," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Brands "might have been expected to flock to Britain's latest cycling star." However, Froome "was also the first man to secure the yellow jersey since Armstrong confessed to doping his way to all seven of his Tour de France victories." Pitch PR CEO Henry Chappell said, "Cycling is still suffering the consequences of the Lance Armstrong situation and there’s not really a peloton of brands charging to sign deals with individual cyclists. Brands will need some convincing that there’s no risk attaches to doing deals with top-tier cyclists." There is no suggestion that Froome is anything but 100% clean, yet BrandRapport Dir Nigel Currie added, "What has gone on in cycling has damaged the sport." Currie still predicted Froome "could boost his off-bike earnings" by up to £5M ($7.7M) in the coming year if he "took full advantage of commercial opportunities" (TELEGRAPH, 7/21).

OUT OF THE SHADOWS: MARKETING WEEK's Sebastian Joseph reported Repucom's DBI Index suggested that unlike Sky colleague Bradley Wiggins, the level of national awareness around Froome "was lacking ahead of the race." The cyclist had an endorsement level of 36.6 points compared to Wiggins' 81.4. Generate Sponsorship Managing Dir Rupert Pratt said, "Froome’s win will likely signal interest from performance based brands with a more corporate image they want to convey. Wiggins’ personality has the greater longevity because he was the first and his off-track brand and mod-ish style make him more appealing to brands looking to reach a wider audience" (MARKETING WEEK, 7/22). In London, Sunday Times reporter David Walsh, who played a significant role in unearthing Armstrong's long history of doping, has spent several weeks inside the Team Sky camp and is adamant Froome "should not have to defend himself from drug slurs" (SUNDAY TIMES, 7/21).
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