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  • Larry @CycleItalia

    “It is thought to be the first time that the top teams in the sport will have a share in the profits of a cycling event.” What profits? While it’s obvious where the money to run this thing is coming from I’m missing the part about how profits will be generated. Last time I checked even 100% of zero was still zero. Is it April 1st already?

    • Whippet

      The race organisers do profit. Most of the profit comes from the sale of TV rights. There is also some revenue from merchandise, fees from publicity caravans and towns paying for hosting rights. Dividing the profits amongst from this one race won’t be lucrative for the teams, but it is significant that they have finally convinced a race organiser to let them in as partners.

      • Dave

        Yes, but this is a petro-dollar race where crowds each day will probably be in four figures, and aside from central Abu Dhabi itself won’t go to any other towns which would pay for hosting rights.

        This will be a loss-making race, not a profitable one. I hope for the sake of the naive Velon teams that the contract doesn’t also include them partnering in a shortfall as well as a profit.

      • Larry @CycleItalia

        Sorry, but I have a hard time believing your claims of profit for anything but LeTour and perhaps the Flanders Classics. The Vuelta was so profitable it was taken over by ASO as you might recall? The Giro is constantly in perilous financial shape as are most of the races on the calendar. I think Velon’s whole deal is merely an attempt to get their hands on the vast riches they think ASO is making from LeTour.

    • Dave

      I agree, this is essentially some blokes with lots of petrol-dollars writing the teams a big fat IOU instead of putting traditional appearance fees on the table.

      I’ll laugh so hard if it doesn’t come off well for them.

  • alexroseinnes

    Crumbs from the table, this shouldn’t be taken as a sign of things to come. Inconsequential race.

  • donncha

    A bit pointless really. If the race is on the WT then the teams have to attend, so no need for any race promoter to pay them. This is just one race (which probably doesn’t even have to make a profit) buying attendees in a bid for publicity.

    It also sort of undermines complaints about too many race days, crowded calendar etc. when the teams are willing to sign up to extra races they’re not required to attend.

    • Art Wetherall

      But wouldn’t it be preferable to split appearance fees between all teams, rather than just giving Chris Froome another fifty thousand euros he doesn’t need?

      • Dave

        But then you won’t draw the big names that will in turn draw the crowds and TV audiences.

    • Dave

      WorldTour race promoters do have to pay the teams for their cost of attending the event and provide accommodation – and many of them pay appearance fees for particular riders on top of that, such as the TDU which is a relatively minor race that secures a healthy number of big names (i.e. all the top Australian riders and a couple of international stars) every year because it pays well.

      The three fly-away WorldTour races (the TDU and the two Canadian one day races) also have further obligations built into their race licences which don’t apply to WorldTour races in Europe.

      The model for the teams is that their costs of racing are met, and after that it’s up to them to generate the other income (mainly from sponsors getting air time) to make a profit from attending that race. If the teams hadn’t spent the last 20 years trashing the sport with a conga line of doping scandals then they might have bigger companies giving them more money and making their financial position more comfortable.

  • Whippet

    It seems a few statements have been attributed to me. To clarify, I said race organisers profit. I didn’t say they all profit, or how much they profit. Let’s be a bit more specific. RCS has profited from the Giro for the past few years, mainly from TV rights. RCS also brought in 4.5 million Euros of revenue from the 2014 Dubai Tour (don’t know what the profits were). Based on those “petro-dollars”, they decided to organise the Abu Dhabi Tour.

    From our armchairs, it is easy to criticise the teams for “chasing crumbs”. If they can’t create a more sustainable financial model, however, the sport will have to devolve to a lower level. There don’t appear to be enough wealthy bankrollers to keep the system going (even Alonso backed out). The doping stories haven’t help attract sponsors, but that is not the primary problem. Some sports have managed to thrive despite doping. Cycling has a structural problem. The days of economic growth are limited. Therefore, sponsorship money is too. Pro cycling needs to move away from the “Blanche Dubois model”. I can see the problem, but proffer no solution!


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