Sponsors Rewarded For Sticking With Cycling As Sport Leaves The 'Dark Days' Of Doping
Cycling sponsors "can enjoy great value for money if they are willing to trust that the sport is finally leaving its dark doping days behind," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. Cycling "has been boosted by news that U.S. consumer electronics company Belkin will sponsor the former Rabobank team until 2015." Last year, cycling "was reeling from the downfall of American rider Lance Armstrong." However, a feared rush for the exits by sponsors "has failed to materialize." The deal with California-based Belkin shows that companies "still want to buy into a sport offering wide exposure to an affluent audience for a modest price." Lars Seier Christensen, CEO of Saxo Bank, the Danish company which sponsors the Saxo-Tinkoff team, said, "If they look at the fundamentals of the sport, they are really strong. More and more people are taking up cycling. It's a much better deal than other sports -- the doping problem instituted a discount in the pricing." Despite the importance of sponsors, cycling "does not market itself as slickly as other sports." REPUCOM Dir Ulrich Lacher said, "Formula One and football are more glamorous and are sold more professionally." Cycling can also learn from sports like F1 by giving TV viewers "more of an inside view on races through greater use of features such as audio and data feeds." IMG took over as the int'l distributor for the Giro d'Italia race this year. IMG Global Sales & Acquisitions Head Ioris Francini said that "the number of broadcasters taking the Giro and hours screened had doubled" over '12, a sign of the sport's global appeal (REUTERS, 6/26).