Nissan to replace Radioshack?

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Nissan Armstrong

I’d been meaning to look at the sponsoring future for Team Radioshack. The US team was built around Lance Armstrong but now he is retired, the sponsor’s interest is bound to be waning. Especially since the US electrical retailer has very little presence outside the USA. So what’s next for the team?

Well I’d hinted via Twitter but Spanish blogger Fran Reyes has beat me to it: to name Nissan as a potential new sponsor on the Espiritu Gregario blog. I thought I’d share the idea as the readership of Fran’s blog and The Inner Ring may overlap but there’s bound to be a language barrier, so here’s a way to bring his story to thousands more English speaking readers.

The Japanese motor manufacturer is already a co-sponsor of the US team. Reyes’ points out the hiring of Polish rider Michal Kwiatowski, who broke his contract to leave Movistar for Radioshack, a curious move but one that could be explained by Nissan’s negotiations to buy a Polish factory. Reyes makes similar links to the growing Portuguese contingent at Radioshack, linking recruitment to Nissan’s lithium ion battery plant in Cacia, Portugal. It’s these batteries that go in the Nissan Leaf, its new electric model (that explains my cryptic “new Leaf” twitter hint).

At this stage it’s rumour and a case of joining some dots but a logical possibility. More so since Bruyneel gave an update earlier this week:

Beyond this year, I’m already working on plans for 2012. It’s never too early and I’ve been laying the framework for something great … But you’ll just have to wait and see …

A subject to watch, just like Espiritu Gregario blog.

Flashing Pedals February 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm

I’ve said it before, RadioShack, were always destined to disappear quicker
than an analogue signal in the digital desert, once LA was gone.
It’ll be interesting to see how Nissan consider the team management, if any FDA investigation (that may or may not occur) reveals any management practices which are questionable….

jza February 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Connecting riders to where a sponsors production facilities are located? Seems like a tenuous connection. There would be a hell of a lot more Asian riders if that was a factor.

It would make more sense if Nissan had marketing objectives in Poland or Portugal, which they might.

Anyhoo, Nissan would make a lot more sense than Shack. I’ve always wondered why auto manufacturers don’t have a larger presence in cycling. Their cars are out there anyways, might as well put a name on a jersey and get some actual publicity for it.

The Inner Ring February 24, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Flashing Pedals: yes, announcements here could have an impact. We’ll see.

jza: it would be a pan-European marketing project. Radioshack are certainly unlikely to renew so we’ll see what happens.

ColoradoGoat February 25, 2011 at 6:40 am

Hey guys – Asian riders? Seriously? This is not 1975.

Nissan is a global, multinational corporation with markets throughout the world. I think, as much as I have reservations about Johan, a great sign for the sport, and a positive step if hyrthis is the case. Plus, Nissan (unlike Red Bull), is not going to be scared away by doping issues, because no one will associate a hybrid electric car with chemical enhancement.

I have always thought that if GM marketed Pontiac as the active person’s car, versus the low wage NASCAR fan’s auto, it would still be around. If Nissan can use this to show the Leaf, going up mountain passes, through cobbled roads etc… as proof that a hybrid need not be the weak sister to the gas guzzlers, then that alone is a great marketing tool for them.

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