Unlikely Sponsors of Cycling Teams
In the bigger money sports, sponsors are fairly predictable. They are large electronics manufacturers, insurance companies and the like. However, in professional cycling, with its smaller budgets, they are rather less predictable. Here are a few of the unlikely sponsors the sport has seen.
Phonak was a Swiss team that existed for six years from 2000. It is best-known for supporting Tyler Hamilton’s Tour de France bids and Floyd Landis was another well-known Lance Armstrong aide to later race for them. The company Phonak made hearing aids. You don’t get that in professional football.
Why have just the one steel manufacturing sponsor, when you could have two? Lampre is an Italian firm which manufactures prefinished steel sheet materials. ISD is a steel manufacturer based in the Ukraine. Damiano Cunego and Michele Scarponi are perhaps the two best-known riders from this team at the moment.
Okay, Cannondale – that’s fair enough. They produce bikes. Fair enough. But Liquigas? As you might expect, Liquigas is short for ‘liquefied gas’. Ivan Basso currently races for this team.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step
Omega Pharma are a Belgian pharmaceuticals company. They used to co-sponsor a team with the Belgian lottery, but now they share a team name with Quick Step. Although you don’t strictly speaking ‘step’ when you cycle, this still sounds like it could potentially be related to the sport. Not so. Quick Step make laminate flooring. This team features Belgian Classics specialist, Tom Boonen, as well as German time-triallist, Tony Martin.
Another unlikely combination. Vacansoleil organise luxury camping holidays. Who would be the logical co-sponsor? Why, a Dutch farm supply company, of course. Who else? Although there are more successful riders in this team, I’m choosing to name pretty much everyone’s favourite cyclist – Johnny Hoogerland.
US Postal Service
Before they were sponsored by The Discovery Channel, Lance Armstrong’s team were sponsored by the US Postal Service. Even worse, for a period they were known as “US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team presented by Berry Floor”.
That’s Chipotle Mexican Grill who were partnering a sports marketing company in sponsoring the team that later became Garmin-Barracuda. The new name seems more appropriate in that Garmin make the sat-nav devices used by many cyclists, although Barracuda Networks provide internet storage and networking. The team has a few famous riders, although New Zealand’s Jack Bauer has the most memorable name thanks to his namesake being the main character in 24.
Orica make mining explosives, Cofidis are money lenders, BigMat are builders’ merchants. You’ve got to go some to beat a firm that manufactures hearing aids though. TMC are a contender. They’re a multinational company that develops electric transformers with cast resin windings and the same team was sponsored by American Beef for a time.
Owen Savage is an experienced business writer, writing articles on behalf of Digital Hearing Care Solutions Ltd a quality supplier of hearing aids.