Whether you realize it or not, it’s very expensive to run a pro cycling team. Not only does a team have to pay rider salaries, but they also have to account for equipment costs, a team doctor, a masseuse, a chef, etc. The costs go on and on. That’s the reason so many teams may only last a season or two before disappearing, even if the team is successful.
Sponsorship is Necessary
Pro Cycling teams exist and can operate because of sponsorship. However, as Road.cc points out in a recent article, teams obviously care more about the funding of the team and less about what kind of business its sponsor may be connected with. And as Road.cc mentions, a lot of them aren’t that health conscious.
Well-known pro teams that you see in the big races of the year are lucky. Sponsors choose to fund them based on who is on the team roster and what the team accomplished in the past. And if a team regularly competes in grand tours like the Le Tour de France (and it did well), that is a plus as well.
Most of these sponsors are respectable, reputable names around Europe that sell flooring, insurance, cars, or even bicycle manufacturers that hope for a return on their investment. That doesn’t seem like a lot to ask when it may cost a sponsor anywhere from $22 to $39 million a year to keep a team going for a year.
Sponsors for New or Startup Teams
But if a team is new and wants to have all its costs covered, it may not be able to choose a sponsor. It may have to accept any sponsor that is interested, even if the company, the product, or the brand is a bit toxic.
It is necessary to point out that this doesn’t mean the sponsor isn’t genuinely interested in the sport of cycling and a team’s success. A sponsor definitely wants the team to win races because that is a positive form of marketing for them.
So, it doesn’t matter if a potential sponsor sells petrochemicals, a bank suspected of money laundering, a company that sells sex toys, or is even associated with Donald Trump, etc. All that matters to the team is that the riders are paid and can operate at the same level as other teams.
What are your thoughts about sports sponsorship, not just in pro cycling, but in other sports? Please like, comment, and share if you liked this post.