Published on 17. Oct, 2011 by in Cycling Sponsorship Value, Featured


RECYCLING traditional cycling sponsorship strategies could lead to more money and sponsors for all!

The irony of Tony Martin, the world’s best individual time trialist, winning the inaugural Tour of Beijing, for arguably the world’s most successful team, creates an interesting juxtaposition.  Could the contrast be any clearer?  A team that won almost five hundred races over the last three years loses its title sponsor yet wins an international race established specifically to expand professional road racing in the second largest economy in the world! You can’t get any more of a contrast than that!

GreenEdge Cycling and Champion System are prime examples of recycling “tried and true” sponsorship approaches  to ensure sponsorship success and team sustainability. The time and effort invested in branding, messaging and differentiation can pay dividends for cycling teams at all levels.

Develop the brand first: GreenEdge cycling, backed by wealthy Australian businessman, Gerry Ryan, has not signed a title sponsor. However, lack of sponsorship does not deter Ryan from his goal of creating an international  Tier 1 team. GreenEdge intends to compete, win and establish a strong marketing platform for sponsors.  Shayne Bannan, the team’s General Manager, explains GreenEdge’s vision and approach: “We really want to look at our GreenEdge branding and develop the brand, develop the team which puts us in a lot better situation to find a partner. We don’t want to be desperate and go and knock on everyone’s doors. Gerry, in his generosity, is really keen to develop the brand, develop the team which I think will put us in a good situation this time next year.”

Ryan’s sponsorship strategy should help the team accurately qualify and deliver on sponsor expectations to ensure longer-term sponsor relationships and team sustainability which is one of the problems facing our sport.

Create growth and demand in new markets: Champion System believes cycling sponsorship will help increase awareness, visibility and growth for our sport and their brand.  The company recently announced sponsorship of Asia’s first UCI Professional Continental team. Charlie Issendorf, Vice President Sales & Marketing at Champion System put their sponsorship into perspective: “….our goal is to continue our efforts to support professional cycling and to do our part to help its development in Asia.”  This goes hand in hand with the objective of the UCI’s Global Cycling Promotion division to promote and develop cycling in non-traditional markets.

Although Champion is a cycling apparel company, and has a vested interest in the sport, Issendorf’s comments are true for all sponsors: “…..we use sponsorship to help increase brand awareness and having a top level team will certainly increase the endorsement value of what we believe is a great brand.”

The sheer nature of cycling provides an effective platform to increase visibility of a company’s brand, products and services. Cycling’s global growth presents sponsors with an opportunity to reach new customers, sell more products or services and increase market share.

Sponsorship is a two way street: Recycling sponsorship paradigms can help both new and existing sponsors. Companies benefit from cycling sponsorship to promote their brand and reach their target audience. New international races, like the Tour of Beijing, help companies in emerging markets reach consumers in established cycling markets as Europe and North America.

In 2009 the UCI created the Global Cycling Promotion division to help professional cycling gain a foothold in countries outside of Europe. The objective was to develop the sport of cycling and to provide a vehicle for sponsors to connect with consumers in non-traditional cycling markets. However, UCI President, Pat McQuaid’s comments illustrate the motives behind  Chinese companies (and companies in non-traditional cycling markets) interest in professional cycling and sponsorship – “They want the exposure in Europe that sponsoring a bike team can bring.”

Two lessons you can apply from GreenEdge and Champion System on how to get a cycling sponsorship?

  • Take the time to develop your cycling club’s brand and messages. Be sharp, crisp and concise and ensure your messages clearly describe the value sponsorship will deliver. (Example: How sponsorship can help companies make money, save money or project an intended image)
  • Remember that cycling sponsorship helps companies reach consumers and partners in new demographics and market segments. Position your cycling club as a platform to help companies align their products with cycling’s demographic or the Health and Wellness market segment.

Maybe it’s time we all begin RECYCLING  SPONSORSHIP sponsorship strategies. Could lead to more “green” for all of us!

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


Champion System forms UCI Professional Continental team, Kirsten Frattini,, September 30, 2011

Major sponsor unlikely for GreenEdge, Jane Aubrey,, October 11, 2011

Teams hoping for Chinese payoff from Beijing tour, Andrew Hood,, October 4, 2011

Q & A: Global Cycling Promotion on Beijing and the way forward, Daniel Benson, September 7, 2011

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