Leopard boss Becca’s merger history

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

FC Dudelange

If the “merger” between Radioshack and Leopard took people by surprise, perhaps it shouldn’t be too much of a revelation. Because Leopard team boss Flavio Becca has already made a name for himself in the world of sports thanks to combining teams.

Back in the early 1990s the Luxembourg city of Dudelange had three football teams, Alliance Dudelange, Stade Dudelange, and US Dudelange. Each had an illustrious past, with wins in the national league or trophies but they’d all fallen on hard times. Faced with decline, they merged, creating F91 Dudelange, the 91 being the year the trio merged into one team.

Flavio Becca was a key force behind the merger, injecting money into the club to buy players and fund new training facilities. Cause or coincidence, F91 quickly became Luxembourg’s top team. F91 Dudelange won the 2010-11 league in Luxembourg and has dominated the sport in the Duchy. Today there is talk of a new stadium and Becca’s main activity, real estate, is behind this.

Flavio Becca

Will Becca be smiling next July?

There’s not much cross-over between real estate and pro cycling although the Leopard team were based for the spring classics in the Source hotel near Spa in Belgium that’s jointly owned by Becca and fellow Luxembourg entrepreneur¬†√Čric Lux, himself is heavily involved in sports, this time Formula 1. Real estate moguls can be attracted to football clubs for the stadiums and training grounds, all very valuable real estate that’s often in a prime location, where you can build hotels, leisure and conference facilities plus plenty more.

By contrast the most valuable real estate for a cycling team is the 1,000 square centimetres on the kit. As several have said, it was the failure to lease this space to a sponsor that appears to have prompted the sudden changes. Becca is a businessman, not necessarily a cycling fan. He wants result and money spent is an investment to be recouped by sponsorship.

Whether Radioshack-Nissan-Trek succeeds remains to be seen. But the merger as a means to consolidate a team has proved successful for Becca.

Rooie September 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm

All the more evidence that the sport and the future of more teams is under pressure if even a crude investor is of the opinion that investing in cyclingteams is bullocks…

ave September 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Strange… I’d have expected 3 football clubs in total for the whole country! :)

Dan September 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm

You can see how merging a town’s losing clubs into one but the pro teams look different. I think he wanted the sponsors more than the team.

Like the mobile version, nice one!

Don Vincenzo September 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Very interesting article and to the point. Would love to go deeper on that matter, who is really Mister Becca for cycling: a philantropist or a hard nose businessman? Time will tell anyways…

Rider Council September 13, 2011 at 11:04 pm

some riders dont have jobs now. It would be nice if they could be guaranteed 2 or 3 year contracts, might also help a bit with the madness of doping and pressure and uncertainty and feeling like a pawn.

rhys September 14, 2011 at 1:15 am

What’s it going to take for cycling to be seen as a good investment/advertising earner? I wonder if the wishy-washy nature of the sport’s governing body is to blame.

Darren September 18, 2011 at 10:18 pm

UCI’s new rules for team budgets are partly responsible! Increasing the team budget threshold in 2010 raised the bar for the financing of a team, which on the one hand gives the perception that the sport wants to be more professional, and take itself more seriously! However, given the global financial crisis over the past few years, and how many experts claim it is far from over, the timing of the UCI in raising the budget bar seems about as intelligent and as comprehensively studied as Pat McQuaid studying his butthole in the bathroom mirror as he prays to himself each night!!! Does anyone at the UCI know what a SWOT Analysis is?! No, Pat, it is not picking your nose and studying the find! But it does open the door for the Becca’s of this world to exploit pro-cycling, giving Pat more of his own ‘kind’ to make new Facebook friends with! It gives me ‘inner ring-sting’ to think of how the riders/employees are treated in all of this!

Dan September 22, 2011 at 11:38 am

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