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Volume 7 No. 149

Marketing and Sponsorship

With six Tour wins in seven years by three different riders, Team Sky "rules pro cycling's biggest race like no other team has in the sport," according to Joe Lindsey of Other participants in pro cycling say that there is "one primary reason for that dominance:" a budget that reached more than $43M in '17 and "supports a deep roster of top riders." Sky has a "compelling pitch to prospective sponsors." Rival team EF-Education First GM Jonathan Vaughters said, "They're selling a team that can guarantee a Tour de France win." But there is "a catch: They're asking for far more money," $30M -- "roughly twice as much as the average WorldTour team runs on." Vaughters: "They don't have that guarantee if the budget is cut in half." If Sky cannot find a deep-pocketed backer, "the team will face a choice: fold or take a smaller deal and likely give up its powerhouse position." In pro cycling's business model, "teams' primary source of revenue is sponsorship." If a team does not have a sponsor, it does not "have a future." Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford announced "he wants to have a new backer in place by June." But Team Sky Dir of Business Operations Fran Millar said that June "is not a hard deadline." While the team wants to be in what Millar called "significant conversations" with sponsors by May, she said that the search will not "necessarily stop after June 30." If the team cannot find a sponsor, Sky's roster "will make rich pickings for other teams," which will not "wait to pry them away." Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas "have the biggest incentive to jump early." The longer they wait, "the fewer teams there are that have budget space to afford their contracts," which are said to be $4M-$5M a year per rider. In its nine years, Sky "has never had to search for a sponsor before," but Millar said that she does not believe it will "affect the team's preparations or performance in the upcoming season." The "more complicated scenario is if team officials can find a sponsor, just not at the funding level they want." A smaller budget would force Sky to make "hard roster choices and field a less powerful Tour team" (, 12/17).

Tsingtao and Yanjing were named the official beers of the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games on Monday, according to XINHUA. China's two leading beer companies "are the first official partners that Beijing 2022 has signed" since it opened invitations for tier-two sponsors in August. Both Tsingtao and Yanjing were also official beer partners of Beijing 2008. The two companies will share marketing rights for Beijing 2022 in a "similar arrangement." Beijing 2022's eight official tier-one partners are Bank of China, Air China, Yili Group (dairy products), Anta (sports apparel), China Unicom (telecom), Shougang Group (urban regeneration services), CNPC (oil & gas) and Sinopec Group (oil & gas) (XINHUA, 12/17).

VALUE REVEALED: INSIDE SPORT's Kunal Dhyani reported Tokyo 2020's recently-announced partnership with Aggreko is "worth around" $200M (INSIDE SPORT, 12/15). KYODO reported the Int'l Surfing Association announced Sunday that the World Surfing Games "will return to Japan next year and serve as the first direct qualifier" for Tokyo 2020, where the sport will make its Olympic debut. The top eligible man and woman from Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania at the Sept. 7-15, 2019, event at Miyazaki Prefecture's Kisakihama Beach in southeastern Kyushu will automatically qualify for Tokyo 2020 (KYODO, 12/17).