|Who’s up and who’s down?|
As ever, The Inner Ring keeps an eye on the money that comes into the sport. Whilst I love watching the pros battle over bergs and cols, as well as racing and training personally, in the quieter moments it’s interesting to follow the money.
Of the 18 UCI ProTeams for 2011, nine are linked to companies listed on different stockmarkets around the world.
|Team BMC||Sonova (Switzerland)|
|HTC-Highroad||HTC Corp (Taiwan)|
|Quick Step||Mohawk Industries (USA)|
|Sky Pro Cycling||BSkyB (Great Britain)|
|Omega Pharma – Lotto||Omega Pharma (Belgium)|
|Team Garmin – Cervélo||Garmin (USA)|
|Team Radioshack||Radioshack (USA)|
Some connections are obvious, for example Garmin or Sky. But did you know Quick-Step is owned by an American conglomerate, Mohawk Industries? I’ve put BMC with a link to Sonova as there is a big connection between Andy Rihs, the billionaire behind Sonova (formerly known as Phonak) and BMC.
What is interesting is that for all the talk of trying to reach a big audience in Europe and beyond, when you look at it, the sponsors in the sport are generally corporate small fry. Half of the sponsors in the sport aren’t on the stockmarkets, rather they are smaller businesses with local interests. For example Vacansoleil just want to reach people in a few European countries and Liquigas doesn’t have much of an interest in impressing anyone outside Italy, except co-sponsor Cannondale who want to reach fans in the USA and beyond.
Just for the sake of it, I’m going to watch these stocks to create a virtual ProTour stock exchange index and will report how these companies are doing during the year. There’s no point bringing you details of every price change, rather just anything interesting. For example earlier this year it was rumoured that RadioShack was takeover prey for rival Best Buy, something that could have consequences for the company’s branding and marketing, including the team.