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  • jules

    fantastic insight. thanks for this article.

    I’d offer a different take on the reasons for the rise on bike sponsorship of pro teams, though:

    “Many of the big money sponsors got out of cycling forever,” Paolo says. “And the ones that remained just weren’t willing to spend the same kind of money as before.”
    So the bike sponsors stepped in to fill the gap. And prices went up.
    /quote

    it strikes me as unlikely that a sponsor would pay more because the cost of running a team increased (i.e. through loss of revenue from other departing sponsors). normally a sponsor will offer an amount they believe represents value to them. if the team doesn’t need that money, they’ll still take it and buy a yacht or something.

    I think the bigger reason for bike sponsorship costs increasing is likely the growth in the sport globally and particularly in the US. this was why Heini baby was so keen on Lance winning Tours by any means necessary – it was money in the bank for cycling and its patrons. it also grew the market hugely for bike manufacturers, and therefore the value of sponsorship to them in ensuring they took maximum slice of the pie in that growth.

    • Rick Vosper

      Hi Jules, and thanks for the kind words. The rise in cycling popularity is a good point. I didn’t see it when I was sponsoring teams (at Specialized and Cervélo) and Paolo didn’t mention it in any of our conversations, but it may have just been transparent to us. All we saw was the prices going up all across the peloton. Which speaks to your question about why a sponsor would pay more just because team costs increased: supply exceeded demand, and because “everybody knows everybody,” going rates were an open secret, so everyone paid market price.

      Hope this helps.

      –rick

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