Five reasons cycling sponsorship can drive more visibility and sales for your brand!

Want more Brand visibility? Don’t overlook cycling sponsorship as an effective marketing vehicle!

Don’t believe cycling sponsorship can be an effective marketing vehicle for your brand, products or services? Maybe you should consider the following attendance figures for major sporting events:

NASCAR 2011 Samsung Mobile 500 @ Texas Motor Speedway – 168,400 fans in attendance

MLB 2010 World Series Game 5 @ The Ballpark in Arlington – 52,045 fans in attendance

NFL 2011 Super Bowl XLV@ Cowboy Stadium – 103,219 fans in attendance

Total fans in attendance – 323,664! Okay, that’s pretty good.

But, that’s NOT even a close second! The combined total does not even come close to matching the visibility your brand would get at the largest cycling events in the world.

Two examples:

01) The 2011 Tour of Flanders Professional Cycling Race, a one day event in Belgium had an estimated 600K – 800K fans in attendance! That’s in a country with a total population of 11M people! A one day race outdrew three North American sporting events – combined!

02) The Tour de France has hundreds of thousands of fans watching from the side of the road, each day, every day for 21 days! Stage 20 of the 2009 Tour de France had an estimated 1 million fans on Mont Ventoux! And, that was for the end of the race! That figure does not take into consideration the hundreds of thousands of fans lining the 138km route leading to the final climb up Mont Ventoux!

These are incredible marketing opportunities for your company, brand, products and services. Not only will cycling sponsorship drive visibility, but it will drive increases in awareness, interest, traffic, sales and revenue.

Are you still skeptical about cycling sponsorship’s effectiveness to increase visibility for your brand?

Here are (5) reasons you might want to give sponsorship of a local cycling club, team or event a second look.

01) The sheer nature of cycling provides an instant increase in visibility for your brand. Cycling is continuing to grow throughout the world. Meaning companies sponsoring cycling are cashing in on marketing opportunities by sponsoring clubs, professional teams and cycling events ranging in scope from:

21 day stage races as the Tour de France, Italy’s Giro D’Italia and Spain’s Vuelta a Espana which draw millions of fans globally.

North American stage races such as the USA Pro Cycling Challenge or the Amgen Tour of California.

Charity rides as the LiveStrong Challenge or the MS150.

One day North American races as the Tour of Battenkill, Philadelphia International Cycling Championship and the Hotter’N Hell Hundred.

Cycling gives your company a very visible platform for showcasing your products and services.

02) Cycling sponsorship is typically less expensive than traditional forms of advertising, marketing and public relations. The Reuters article “Sponsors see value in backing cycling teams” describes how cycling delivers more affordable cost per one thousand media impressions (CPM) making cycling sponsorship a bargain when compared other popular spectator sports

03) Sponsorship of cycling provides your company with the opportunity to align with growing societal trends as active, healthy lifestyles or “green” transportation alternatives. This is a great way to capture additional visibility, awareness and mindshare with consumers in these segments. Not to mention, aligning with emerging segments can help to drive incremental traffic, sales and revenue. (See “Employer Health & Wellness Programs – an avenue worth pursuing when seeking cycling sponsorship” for additional information regarding how cycling aligns with emerging trends and societal concerns)

04) Cycling’s demographic covers a wide range of consumers. Pick one and you will find a large group of cyclists in that segment. Cyclists comprise every possible segment imaginable. We are a diverse group of consumers. Whichever segment(s) your products or services address, you can pretty much be assured there is a large segment of cyclists interested in your company’s products or services.

05) Effective platform for communicating your messages and reaching your targeted audience. Consider statements from the following senior executives of HTC, OptumHealth, Sungard and RadioShack, 5-hour Energy and Quiznos! Each executive describes the value cycling provides their brand.

“…..we are excited about the opportunity to communicate HTC’s brand value through the great sport of cycling …. “HTC’s sponsorship of Team Columbia-HTC is one step in HTC’s commitment to increasing its global brand value and recognition.” – Peter Chou, Chief Executive Officer, HTC Corporation

“Professional cycling in the United States continues to grow as a major spectator sport and serves as a great way to reach health-conscious consumers,” he added. “This particular partnership provides a highly visible and mission-consistent opportunity to both advance our message and drive awareness of our products and services.”  Tom McEnery, Chief Marketing Officer, OptumHealth

The Saxo Bank-SunGard Professional Cycling Team represents a fantastic opportunity to gain visibility for our brand in front of a global audience.”Brian Robins, Chief Marketing Officer, SunGard

“This is an exciting time at RadioShack…. “We are re-launching our brand with a new creative platform in early August, and now having Lance on our team – an American icon who embodies the spirit of mobility, connectivity and philanthropy – really allows us to accelerate our brand’s evolution.Lee Applbaum, CMO, RadioShack

“Although we are selling over one million bottles a day, we are always looking for new opportunities to reach out to new consumers… We see this as a great opportunity to help this leading team achieve even better levels of success, and as a way to connect with the active lifestyle community that enjoys watching competitive cycling.” Scott Henderson, President, 5-hour Energy

“We always try to stay in front of what most interests our customers. Cycling is representative of the more contemporary American lifestyle and Quiznos customers participate in just this kind of activity….. With the creation of the Quiznos Pro Challenge we aim to promote an active lifestyle while bringing an exciting new pro-cycling event to a growing audience of fans in the United States.”Ellen Kramer, Quiznos Chief Communications Officer.

06) Business-to-Business opportunities (B2B) – This is one of the major reasons companies sponsor sports as cycling and NASCAR. The biggest returns from a company’s sponsorship investment don’t come from consumers but from other companies! Check out my post “Leveraging B2B to drive added value for your cycling club’s sponsors” for more information on B2B and cycling sponsorship.

Branding, marketing, advertising, PR, cross-branding and B2B opportunities are endless! (your brand or company name could appear on cycling jersey or shorts, water bottles, signage, programs, banners, websites, blogs, cross-branding, etc…..the list goes on and on and on……). Literally millions of spectators and participants will see it!

Lastly, if you are still not convinced of the potential market reach cycling sponsorship provides. Look at the sheer number of cycling clubs listed on www.usacycling.org/clubs. And, the United States is only one market!

So, question – could your brand use cycling sponsorship as a platform to boost its marketing programs? Two examples of mainstream companies riding cycling’s increased popularity are 5-hour Energy and Quiznos. Take a break, give your marketing programs a jolt and smell the coffee (Starbucks sponsors cycling too!)

That’s all for today! Sorry for the length.

P.S. – Note to cyclists and cycling clubs: Use the points in this blog post with prospective sponsors and fundraising donors. It should drive the point home that cycling is an excellent addition to any company’s marketing, advertising or PR campaign.

Thanks for visiting. Remember, until next time, to “Keep the rubber side down!”

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