Here we Geox again

Published on 20. Oct, 2011 by in Featured, Pro Cycling Sponsorship

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After a year of experience in professional cycling, the company considers its presence in this sport not strategic anymore – Geox Press Release

Hmmmm…..sponsoring professional cycling is not strategic anymore? Wondering what they expected?

Could the root of the problem be misplaced expectations. When team owners don’t get what they expect, well, they Geox away! (Sounds like cycling sponsorship did not help the company sell more shoes.)

When you have owners like Flavio Becca (Leopard-Trek now RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) and Mario Moretti Polegato (Geox) who are enamored with the sport, fork over a Brinks truck worth of cash, they expect their riders to compete and win the Tour De France and when they don’t, there will be trouble. The situation gets compounded when a sponsor does not get the “strategic” value they expect for their brand (i.e. – more sales). When teams don’t understand or set a sponsor’s expectations properly there will be consequences!

John Wilcockson’s article, A Flawed System, documented how Geox founder and chariman, Mario Moretti Polegato, “threatened to pull his funding when the Tour invite he’d been promised evaporated.” Geox expected their brand to be visible in the world’s biggest bike race. And, as a result probably expected to reap the rewards increased visibility would drive such as more web traffic, retail store traffic, sales and revenue. (Apparently Mr. Polegato’s disappointment of not competing in the Tour De France could not be appeased even with Juan Jose Cobo’s win at this year’s Vuelta.)

The bottom line: Teams have to take ownership in setting expectations of rich benefactors and company magnets before they accept those big fat sponsorship checks. Otherwise you end up with a press release that reads:

“After a year of experience in professional cycling, the company considers its presence in this sport not strategic anymore”

The same scenario can play out all levels of cycling. Beware of what your sponsor expects from their investment in your club or team. Otherwise, they might just Geox away!

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

P.S. – I still contend a team leaving the sport has little to do with revenue sharing. But, I’ll continue that argument another day.

2 Responses to “Here we Geox again”

  1. phlixna says:

    Sponsors just dont get it! Most sponsors are simple minded and they are looking at the bottom line all the time! Return on investment is all that matters as it should. But when you are a smaller outfit such as Geox things are going to be overlooked, it should be expected. Lets look at their product line for just a moment shall we.

    Geox sells high end dress shoes and some apparel. Now I know that cycling is a middle to high income earning market but really! The majority of their sales come from the ladies shoe market! You just aren’t going to hit the ladies market with mens pro cycling. Lets be honest the sport just isn’t going to be a good fit. Would it not have been a better fit to sponsor a woman’s team instead?

    All of this should have been discussed during the sponsorship talks and how Geox can fit. I blame both parties for this complete screw up! Team management were just happy to have found someone willing to pay their wages for a year or two and the Geox company management had a hard on to get into cycling.

    In closing I must say that sponsors and teams need to get their heads on straight when it comes to sponsoring a cycling team or event. If you aren’t willing to lose money don’t sponsor! Cycling in Europe is much larger than here in America and for a European company to pull out just after a short period because the return wasn’t enough for you, your company should have never sponsored in the first place.

    • al says:

      THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

      Your point regarding Geox’s target market not being the “ideal fit” for professional cycling sponsorship is right on target! The sponsor needs to understand who they will reach through cycling sponsorship. The sponsored team needs to understand how they will be judged. In other words, how a sponsor like Geox measure the impact of sponsorship and why. You are correct. Both parties need to have an in depth understanding before checks are written, signed and cashed. Otherwise you have an unhappy sponsor who might defect.

      Jonathan Vaughters wrote an outstanding article for cyclingnews.com. Titled The Geox Paradox. Probably going to write about this next week. It’s a great read. Gives a nice vision for how pro cycling sponsorship can evolve. The link to the article is here – http://www.cyclingnews.com/blogs/jonathan-vaughters/the-geox-paradox.

      Thanks for your comment. Love it, love it, love it!

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