Monday, July 31, 2006

Cycling Sponsors Are Getting Antsy....

According to the NY Times, cycling sponsors are pulling their marketing dollars out of the sport. Surprised? Nope. The International Federation of Cycling needs to get out in front of the media to diffuse all this negative press. Have you heard from this international organization? Have they released any important statements? The story stated:

"Marketers that put up big bucks to sponsor cyclists in major races are having second thoughts. Their hesitation follows a string of doping scandals that have plagued the international sport. The most recent incident involved Tour de France champion Floyd Landis, whose test results after the race revealed abnormally high testosterone levels. The list of sponsors that support riders and teams is a long one and includes T-Mobile, Computer Sciences Corp., Liberty Mutual Group, and Phonak AG, a Swiss hearing-aid maker that sponsored Landis and his team. Some companies have cut their losses and left cycling. Others are trying to get involved in projects designed to rehabilitate the sport."

It is extremely tough to have a sport like this without sponsors spending millions of dollars helping to support the individual teams. Why wouldn't sponsors be skeptical -- look at all the scandals that have taken place recently in sports: Olympics, track and field, Italian soccer and tennis. According to ESPN, nine top cyclists were suspended from this year's Tour de France before the race started due to doping. If I were a sponsor, I would definitely pull out my company’s marketing dollars until the sport cleaned itself up.

Who is handling crisis PR for this sport? What I am missing here.


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