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by Shane Stokes
November 9, 2017
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Slipstream’s months-long sponsorship shuffle isn’t yet over. Oath, a sponsor the team brought on during the Tour de France, announced this week that it has ended its deal with the WorldTour program now known as EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale.
When contacted for comment, Team CEO Jonathan Vaughters would not provide details of Oath’s departure. “Can’t comment, other than [it] puts the team in zero jeopardy,” he said via text message to CyclingTips.
Vaughters had touted the Oath partnership as one that would bring fans inside the team, leaning on the company’s collection of media properties to tell pro cycling’s story. Oath is a subsidiary of Verizon and contains more than a dozen digital media brands formerly under AOL and Yahoo, including Huffpost, TechCrunch, and Engadget.
The team added Oath branding to its team kit, bus, and other vehicles following its mid-Tour de France announcement. That branding was gone when the team released its new EF kit last week. The latter company came on board in September, saving the team after a title sponsor – reportedly Unibet – walked away from a deal Vaughters had believed was all but finalised. This prompted a desperate search for a new backer which was ultimately successful.
Neither Oath nor Slipstream provided an explanation for the split. Suzanne Philion, an Oath Spokeswoman, released a statement wishing the team success. “While we will no longer be working with Slipstream, we wish the Cannondale-Drapac team success for the 2018 season,” she said.