Advice for Sponsors of Professional Bike Teams

Professional road cycling teams owe their very existence to their sponsoring companies. Consider: what would Team Discovery Channel be without the Discovery Channel? What would Team T-Mobile be without T-Mobile? What would Team CSC be without CSC?

Broke and nameless, that’s what they’d be.

Sadly, however, most sponsoring companies take what is a golden marketing opportunity and squander it, doing only the most pedestrian things imaginable with their branding: put the company name on the jersey, name the team after the company, paint the bike in the company colors.

Ho hum.

As a highly respected, extremely authoritative expert on both biking and marketing, I hereby offer the following advice to the companies sponsoring professional cycling teams in order to get more bang for their buck.


Team Discovery Channel

Let’s go with the easy one first. One way in which Discovery Channel could profit from their sponsorship of Team Discovery Channel would be to show Team Discovery Channel on the Discovery Channel. For example, if Team Discovery Channel were to participate in a race, the Discovery Channel could televise that race. Furthermore, they could theoretically have a show demonstrating how a professional team trains together and builds a strategy for winning a race. I know this is a crazy idea, but think about it: it’d be like reality TV, except it would actually be about reality!

Or they could just keep showing Crocodile Hunter reruns five krazillion times per day. I know I never get sick of that show.


Team T-Mobile

Team T-Mobile should take advantage of their technology connection. You know how cyclists always have headsets they use to stay in touch with the team director? Team T-Mobile should ditch those wired, clunky pieces of junk in favor of Bluetooth headsets and mobile phones. And then T-Mobile should have auctions / raffles / contests wherein the winner gets to call Jan for two minutes during a Tour stage. I know exactly what I’d say: “Dude! I totally don’t speak German!”


Team CSC

CSC could better benefit from its sponsorship of Team CSC by making it possible to tell what they actually do. Seriously, until just this moment I really had no idea what CSC does. A quick Google search (I am now unemployed and so no longer feel guilt about using Google) reveals they are a Consulting, Services Integration, and Outsourcing company. Which helps a lot, because now I … really have no idea what they do.

Perhaps that’s what the cyclists on Team CSC could do: be plain-English ambassadors for CSC. The next time Ivan Basso wins a Tour stage, for example, he could say, “I’d like to thank my sponsor, CSC, which basically helps large companies solve their IT challenges, among other things.”

And then he could explain why they’re a Danish team, what with the company being based in El Segundo, California and all.



Liquigas-Bianchi should pour all their marketing dollars into one simple objective: paying Phil Liggett whatever it takes to get him to stop pronouncing “Liquigas” as “Leaky Gas.” In truth, I do not know whether that’s the correct pronunciation. If it is, they may want to spend a little extra money on changing their name.

Quick aside: Was I the only one who loved the Bianchi jerseys when they first picked up the Coast team? Simple, golden-era design, clean and bold, no clutter whatsoever. I wish I had one of those jerseys.


Illes Balears-Caisse d’Epargne

I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do for you until you shorten your name.


Other Ideas

This was just a small sample of how Pro Tour sponsors could leverage their team relationships. What a sponsoring company really needs, though, is to sponsor a blogger to follow a team around for the Tour de France, writing all about their team’s efforts and successes in an off-the-cuff, irreverent manner that doesn’t come across as more marketing hype.

Gee, I wonder where you could find a blogger like that.


PS: Yesterday Was Quite a Day

OK, now for a little what-happened-in-my-life stuff. Here are some of the things that happened yesterday. I am not making any of them up.

  • I became unemployed: Yesterday was my last day at Microsoft. I’m going to miss that place. Here’s the “going away” letter I sent to coworkers:


You’d better sit down for this.

You’re already sitting? Well, that’s to be expected, I suppose, since you’re reading email.

I’m leaving Microsoft. Today is my last day.

I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself.

Are you OK now? I’ll continue then.

Next week, I’m starting at Burton Group, based in Midvale, UT. It’s an interesting job and puts me closer to family. It also — and this is not trivial — puts me smack-dab-middle in some of the best mountain biking in the whole world.

And yet, I will miss Microsoft and Washington. I will miss working with the top-notch people at this company, many of which are nearly as smart as I am. I will miss the trees, each of which I have given a name. I will miss having my phone synchronize with Outlook seamlessly and elegantly. I will miss the company store. I will miss the salad bar in building 36. I will miss the soft-serve ice cream dispenser in building 36 even more.

Oh, great. Now I’m blubbering like a little kid.

If you’d like to stay in touch with me (and I suggest that you do), please contact me at [email protected] 

I will miss you. Nearly, I imagine, as much as you will miss me.

Kind Regards,


  • I sold a house: We completed negotiations on the sale of our house in Washington.
  • I bought a house: Our offer on a house in Alpine, Utah was accepted.
  • I got homepaged on MSN: This resulted in about 80,000 page views in one day, and a massive number of comments. I guess I picked a wacky day to do the Triathlon post I’ve been thinking about for about six months.
  • I crossed the 1,000,000 page view mark: Sometime between 11am and 2pm, while I was packing my office up and wrapping things up for my job, the homepage thing happened and I picked up around 25,000 page views, which means I didn’t get to watch the counter pick up a digit. Oh well. The thing is, I was going to have a big giveaway where people guessed what day and time I hit 1,000,000. Now I’ll just have to come up with a different contest. Ideas, anyone?
  • I Made the If I Were King blogger very angry. I guess he didn’t realize that I do contests and give stuff away every week; tying the popularity contest MSN did to my weekly contest is in character with what I do in this blog, much as his making decrees about pet peeves is his thing. Maybe he’d forgive me if I sent him a Banjo Brothers Pocket Messenger Bag?
  • I exceeded my allocated bandwidth on When I did the Cannondale Ad critique earlier this month, I hosted the images on Oops. With all the people visiting yesterday, I shot right by my 5Gb/month allocation just by those images getting served, which means yesterday’s success is literally going to cost me.
  • Lots of people took me to task: Bev’s is my favorite:

Man, am I sorry I stumbled upon this!  The self-important ravings of an obvious narcissist, judgemental of people whom you claim to admire…  I don’t get it, but I seldom understand people of your ilk.

I do have one question, however.  A triathalon is three separate sports linked together in a single competition.  Why wouldn’t three sports which are combined into one competition be worthy of being called a sport?  I think your rant is reflective of a lack of ability on your part and your consequential feelings of inadequacy. 

And how lame do you have to be to try to bribe people to vote for your blog with stuff that you’ve admitted is junk you don’t want to pack when you move?  As tempting as the stuff you are giving away because you are obviously are too lazy to have a yard sale may be, I think I’ll refrain from voting.

  • I got threatened with vehicular homicide: Juels said:

Dear fatty cyclist,

From a swimmer (which by the way I find melts my stress away while Im getting fit & HAVING FUN) I sure hope I never come across you while im driving my HUGE SUV while having a fit of road rage & feeling like tony stewart because then you’d find out why swimming isnt nearly as dangerous as cycling.

I do find your list of possible sports quite interesting though but again, I would go for Dodge vehicle.  Meaning of course, Im on some sort of gas powered vehicle (ATC, Motorcross, 4 wheeler, etc…) and its your job to keep the hell outta my way before I run your fat cycling backside over.  We could also call it ROADKILL!!


  • I got the best new definition of “sport,” ever. Frontlinefaery said this:

Allow me to share my own interpretation of what is and isn’t a sport.  It’s quite simple, though somewhat unique.  If it can prepare you for a possible zombie attack (or some other type of invasion), it’s a sport.  This automatically disqualifies golf.

Swimming:  if you can outdistance the disgruntled merman, you win.

Running:  Always a wonderful backup plan for when all else fails.  Keep in good shape for best results.  Also handy for when the dogs take an unhealthy interest.

Cycling of all types:  Much faster than running, and more maneuverable than a car.

You get the idea.  If in doubt, just ask yourself:  “What if my opponent was a zombie?”  If the answer puts you at risk of getting eaten, you’ve got a sport on your hands.

All in all, not a bad day. Except the vehicular homicide threat. Especially since the insurance at my new company doesn’t kick in ’til Monday.

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