The Finances of Team Sky

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Team Sky’s annual accounts for the year ending 2015 have just been published and they report a budget cut for the first time since the team’s creation. Here’s a look at their budget, spending, wage bill and a comparison with other squads.

“Tour Racing Limited” is the British registered corporate entity behind the team. Notes in the annual report say it is 85% owned by Sky UK Limited and 15% by 21st Century Fox. Sky Italia used to have a shareholding but this has stopped.

The report indicates that Sky, Sky Italia and 21st Century Fox have all entered into agreements to sponsor the team until the end of 2016. The team is said continue beyond but remember this is the dry annual report which covers agreements and audited numbers up to the end of last year and no more.

2015 Budget

There’s Team Sky’s budget in black and white for the year ended December 2015. It saw the first ever budget cut with the revenue falling from £24.479 million to £24.442 million (€29.1m / $32.3m). Here’s the evolution of their budget since inception:

Looking back for a moment it’s almost quaint to see a pro team running on £15 million a year (€17.5 million at the 2010 exchange rate). Today that sum looks low but it’s still superior to a lot of pro teams today, for example Ag2r La Mondiale’s budget in 2015 was €14 million.

2015 did see a small cut but this was hardly a hit to the finances. Back then the British Pound was relatively strong and the Euro, cycling’s default currency, relatively weak so that a small reduction in Pounds still bought a lot more Euros than before. Therefore adding the likes of Leopold König, Wout Poels and Nicolas Roche to the payroll didn’t cost them much more.

On the subject of currency fluctuations given that the Pound has fallen significantly following political events in the UK a footnote to the Team Sky accounts says “Tour Racing can elect to receive funding from the title sponsors in Euro or Sterling” meaning the team is somewhat shielded from events.

Revenue sources

  • Title sponsorship is what it says, the money from Sky which actually comes from three sources: Britain’s Sky pays in, as does Sky Italia, and 21st Century Fox of the USA
  • Performance sponsorship is related to the other sponsorship contracts, for example Pinarello, Shimano and Tata Motors’ Jaguar brand (remember these are the 2015 accounts so it’s before the switch to Ford). They all pay cash fees to the team to be associated with them
  • Value in Kind means goods or services given instead of cash but there’s no breakdown, it could be Pinarello frames, Jaguar cars, Kask helmets and so on
  • Race fees are stipends paid by organisers to cover expenses when a team participates in a race. It’s a substantial component of team income, 16% of Team Sky’s budget but for smaller teams it can represent much more. It also shows races do already share some of their money with the teams

Now we’ve seen where the money come from, where did it go?

The wage bill fell from £18.2 million to £17.9m ($26.5m, a slight fall in dollar terms / €24.1m, a rise when expressed Euros). This line item is every team’s biggest expense and by some margin but here Sky’s spend on wages alone is huge, it dwarfs most if not all other teams. Remember this is the 2015 accounts so it includes Bradley Wiggins until he “retired” at the end of April and it’s likely his move lightened the wage bill substantially.

The wage bill is bigger than the entire team budget for many other World Tour teams and this that explains a lot of Team Sky’s success, they can hire riders to be lieutenants who would be team leaders elsewhere, for example Mikel Landa as the millionaire worker.

Note the line on “bike and performance equipment”, this is where the team buys its own material, preferring to buy some gear rather than take on a sponsor. For example they’ve been big buyers of Veloflex tires in the past but seem to prefer Continental now. There’s only so much rubber you can buy, it’s not clear if this sum includes pricey training camps in Majorca and to Tenerife or whether travel for training is still classed under “race costs (travel and accommodation)”.

Hidden among the accounts is the UCI World Tour registration fee of £64k, another reminder the UCI doesn’t make big money from the teams in the World Tour (for more on the UCI’s finances see last month’s blog post The UCI’s Annual Report Reviewed).

As the screengrab above shows the team has 29 staff on its books. How can it have so few employees when as well as 30 riders during the year it had all the mechanics, soigneurs and more? This is because the riders are usually taken on as “contractors” rather than employees. They invoice their services to the team, a technique often driven by tax purposes.

Other teams? Some teams don’t publish accounts at all. Others can be difficult to track down or just contain a the statutory minimum of disclosure such as the revenue, profit and the value of their assets and no more. Even if we got all the information comparisons are hard, for example French teams have big payroll taxes to meet so comparing wage bills across teams is awkward but it could still be instructive to try if the data were available.

Sky’s annual report offers a much bigger picture with line-by-line spending details, it’s among the easiest to get – a free PDF – and the most informative. If you want more on team finances then last September Ag2r La Mondiale’s budget was given a closer look in Ag2r La Mondiale’s Team Budget. I’ve got a copy of Tinkoff’s budget too, maybe a feature for another day.

Conclusion
For 2015 the rapid growth in expenditure stopped and it’s likely to be the same for 2016 given Richie Porte left even if Mikel Landa and Michał Kwiatkowski are pricey additions to the team. The accounts report the team is funded until 2016 but earlier this year there’s been an agreement, at least verbal, to fund the team into “2017 and beyond“.

There’s a lot of mythology and fascination around Team Sky regarding the secrets of their success. The starting point is money and lots of it with wealthy corporate sponsorship on tap which the team management can draw down. Money doesn’t just make the wheels go round, it makes them turn faster.

  • Accounts available online at companieshouse.gov.uk
  • Exchange rates at 31 December 2015: £1 GBP = US$ 1.47 = €1.36
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Anonymous July 12, 2016 at 3:30 pm

A serious, honest, heartfelt thank you from me for that sentence “It also shows races do already share some of their money with the teams”. Thank you so much!!!

The races also pay for the hotels, which is far from usual, and of course there is price-money (although that usually is paid directly by sponsors). Additional to that there are a lot of costs for races, from security, to tv production and insurances over antidoping. It always makes me angry when some of the teams play the respectless “we are so exploited”-card, which was maybe true(er) once upon a time, but not so much today, indeed tables are about to turn and the teams exploit the races. And the races simply have no voice that gets heard, because they don’t have the riders. I will NEVER forgive tinkov and vaughters for their lies, for the unrest and divides they created with their false propaganda (not that they care, but I do).

Even today you hear people say: “Oooh, cycling’s business model is so broken, it’s about time races share their wealth with the poor teams.” Oh, my! Strangely enough there are teams that run for decades! Strangely enough some even with the same sponsor! Strangely enough some teams always find good, valuable sponsors! And strangely enough these teams always have a good, solid relationship with their sponsors. Especially the french teams, who race a lot racedays not on tv, but make their sponsor, the people roadside, their fans and themselves happy. That absolute fixation on tv is what has to be rethought. Cycling always was for the people, happening where people live, work and have fun. Cyvling always was a real experience. A good race is still a god race and appreciated by the people roadside, even if it isn’t shown on tv.

CA July 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Keyword – races share SOME of their revenue. As always, the question is how much TV and sponsorship races earn. ASO published financial information earlier this year one of their secondary races, but it would be interesting to see their major race finances, but of course I don’t expect they will publish this!

As you mentioned, many French teams and racers make a good living in the current model. However, the issue is, and you definitely didn’t address this – ASO and the major race organisers still make much more money than the racers and teams. The AVERAGE racers have ridiculously short careers, and the AVERAGE racer makes very little money. I’m not saying this to stir the boat, if French racers are happy with the status quo, then great, but it is impossible to compare the well being of bike racers to other top pro sports and say they are better off. Cycling’s instability and team turnover is indisputable, but I guess it is like the issue of global warming, people will always deny it’s existence (usually if it is convenient to do so!).

Now, is your name Christopher Prudhomme?!?

The Inner Ring July 12, 2016 at 3:52 pm

You can see all of ASO’s finances broken down and revenue sharing discussed in this piece from 2014:
http://inrng.com/2014/01/problem-revenue-sharing/

CA July 12, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Thanks for the reference. I have a follow-up question, have you seen the Financial Statements of Group EPA (the parent to ASO)? I’d be incredibly interested to see these.

Don’t forget, that ASO and Group EPA are NOT public companies, so they do NOT have to publish how they decide to share revenue.

Further, Group EPA in fact owns TV station L’Equipe 21, which broadcasts the Tour and other races. Group EPA is the organisation that receives all TV and TV advertising revenue and probably allocates some of it (however they want to) down to ASO. This revenue sharing does not have to match anyone’s definition of fair or accurate because neither of these companies are public.

I would greatly suspect that the $166.4M total related revenue for sporting events is GROSSLY understated. They aren’t breaking any rules by understating this, but they will fight to protect this information.

The Inner Ring July 12, 2016 at 4:52 pm

EPA is the parent group that owns L’Equipe and, as you say L’Equipe 21. Note L’Equipe 21 doesn’t show the Tour, that’s France Télévision. L’Equipe 21 is a small channel with a tiny audience and is being threatened with closure.

ASO’s accounts do disclose relations and transactions with EPA, the last time I looked for the piece linked above the sums involved look small. Perhaps it’s being hidden elsewhere?

CA July 12, 2016 at 5:06 pm

Sorry, you’re right about France Television. However, the rest of my points still stand, revenue from TV broadcasting for the Tour and all races would very likely flow to Group EPA, and then a portion sent to ASO.

As you mentioned, the amounts transferred between ASO and EPA looked small, which might mean that EPA itself keeps a large portion of the funds paid for cycling broadcasting. Remember these are private companies, so there is no legal or other obligation for the amounts transferred to reflect the reality of the situation.

Any financial information disclosed by ASO/EPA to the public can be manipulated to suit their needs.

The Inner Ring July 12, 2016 at 5:08 pm

We also know that the sums for TV rights are small. French TV pays €25m from memory, rights in Germany are almost given away etc.

CA July 12, 2016 at 5:33 pm

$25M sounds very low to me, however, let’s assume it is accurate.

The sums per TV channel may be small, assume that $25M is accurate, but there are 120 tv channels that cover the Tour de France. 60 of these stations cover it live. Assume that the average live broadcast fee is between $5M and $25M, and your projected broadcast revenue for Group EPA is between $300M and $1.5B. This already is a lot higher than $166.4M for an entire year’s worth of races, sponsorship, etc. revenue.

The Inner Ring July 12, 2016 at 5:47 pm

The average fee will be way lower, France is €24m because it has audiences of millions and don’t forget the production costs are high which dents the value. In most other countries the audience is in the hundreds of thousands per country, eg low to mid six figures in the US, similar in the UK and on secondary channel. One study estimates the global audience for live coverage of the Tour de France to be 6 million, debatable and surely with some higher peaks for prime moments. The total TV rights income is reported to be about €90m.

CA July 12, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Wow, if you’re right, and it sounds like it, then cycling really doesn’t make that much money.

Compare these TV rights to any professional international sport and the numbers are mere fractions of other sports. In fact, many individual professional teams make more in TV revenue than the entire sport of cycling.

Insider July 12, 2016 at 8:38 pm

“Race fees and Other Income” is a broad category, and “Other Income” is the majority of it. A typical annual race fee total for a WT team is about 25% of that, or less. Generally a team receives €7,500 as the participation allowance for a World Tour race, whether it’s a one-day race or a stage race. .HC and .1 races are generally less, and Grand Tours are more.

CA July 12, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Great article Inrng – I really appreciate the detailed breakdown. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in 2016 and onwards to their budget. A safe projection would be their budgeted revenue sees a further decrease, as well as a large foreign exchange expense, rather than a small revenue from foreign exchange.

The foreign exchange revaluation expense will be because many of their race expenses are in Euro’s or USD, plus their non-British riders’ salaries will be initially quoted in Euro’s/USD. Although note that since Brexit the Euro/British Pound exchange rate has stayed pretty steady.

Inrng – any word or projections for the future?

Anonymous July 12, 2016 at 5:25 pm

Does the expenditure for “bike and performance equipment”, be the other side of the transaction “Value in Kind”
Good old fashioned double entry bookkeeping – if you recognise the ‘in’, there has to be an ‘out’

CA July 12, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Yep, that’s my guess. When they receive it, it is recorded as revenue and inventory. And when they use the equipment, they expense the inventory account.

A different J Evans July 12, 2016 at 5:53 pm

Very interesting – thank you.

Based upon nothing more than a cursory reading of the above… I suggest a €23-24m budget cap – call it an €18m wage cap – help prevent hoarding of the best riders by a few teams.

The Inner Ring July 12, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Wage caps have been explored by the UCI but it’s very difficult to enforce and there are questions over the legality in Europe. How do you stop Contador or Sagan collecting a salary of €Xm from their team and then earning €Ym from their bike sponsor and so on.

A different J Evans July 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Legality – Rugby has a wage cap, no?
Enforcement… a good point!

Tovarishch July 12, 2016 at 6:39 pm

Rugby has wage caps by country so they are not subject to European law. They are also (a) voluntary and (b) don’t work.

Peter satan July 13, 2016 at 10:26 am

Maybe not a wage cap, but a wage bill cap. Like 400% from their highest paid rider’s salary. I have no problem with Contador or Sagan getting their millions, but with teams filed with domestiques who could’ve been GC contenders in other teams.

Anonymous July 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Money invested to Winning performances ratio. Would that be a fair measure of success?

PK July 12, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Great article…572k on ‘Office expenses’…that’s a lot expensive lunches!

Tovarishch July 12, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Probably includes Sir David’s mobile phone bill.

Jarvis July 12, 2016 at 9:52 pm

Instead of “wage caps”, how about “budget caps” for teams? €15m maximum for a team. No idea if it’s legally workable, but could mean more sponsors would be interested and would mean the end of the “millionaire lieutenants” with better riders spread across more teams (maybe, or maybe they’d all be paid less and that’s all that would change).

The successful teams wouldn’t like it.

Beth July 12, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Any kind of ‘cap’ would be almost impossible to enforce – teams will always find a way round it if they want to. Plus the UCI would need to employ an army of forensic accountants to police the system.

The main financial issue IMO is that cycling is unable to monetise its audience – the millions of us who watch freely by the roadside, who in other sports would be paying large sums of money for the privilege. I doubt any of us want that to change – but struggle to see any other significant untapped sources of income that could be shared between the teams to make the system more equitable.

I don’t have any answers other than to hope some benign and kindly billionaires turn up to support AG2R, FDJ etc.

gabriele July 12, 2016 at 11:24 pm

Several sports make more money from TV rights than from actual on-site spectators.
And getting rid of the “free” element would be totally suicidal for cycling, since the crowds are a very significant *part of the show* you’re selling (and a product themselves, think the publicity caravan which is a relevant source of income).

Even going pay-per-view on TV is a bad idea, since another thing you’re selling – and for a nice price – is precisely TV spectators, which is what you get paid for by ski resorts, remote areas with beautiful landscapes, regions studded with castles and so on. In fact, these same institutions are also paying for the visiting spectators, a part of whom you’d lose if cycling went pay.

The real issue is why cycling can’t get decent TV rights when it gets more than respectable figures in terms of audience.

I’ve got the sad suspicion that part of the problem is related to the collusions between different interests which alter the market price of other sports.
I don’t know much about other countries, but I can grant that as long as I know in the countries which I lived in some sports (more notably football and F1, but also, say, swimming in Italy or tennis in Spain) profit *a lot* from transversal networks of interests and contacts which involve quite deeply politics and banks, on different levels.

Even cycling recently had a short TV golden age, in Italy, but the political party supporting it was often doing things the wrong way – however the party itself ended up disappearing (luckily so). However, it never became something deeply rooted within the more structured networks of power, those which extend themselves across party boundaries. Curiously enough, it looks like that amateur cycling (granfondos and the likes) might receive that kind of *deep* support in Italy. We’ll see. I’m quite worried by the fact that the phenomenon might ultimately hinder pro cycling, sucking away a lot of sponsoring resources… but that’s another story.

Anonymous July 13, 2016 at 12:56 am

One thing is, that the sport simply is not very tv-able. It goes on for hours, lots of people are in it, who have no role, no function, who are totally uninteresting for the outcome, the result. Unlike marathons, who are relatively seldom, races are on almost every day. So a race is nothing special for tv. Unless it is a special race. Road cycling of today is mostly unexciting to watch and has no clear “game-structure”. One hour tv-timd of a race – which we usually get – means nothing. It has only helped to ensure, that a race is solely shaped towards that tv-time, so we see some action at the finish, but not much more.

Other sports worked with rules on making their sport more attractive, faster, sometimes even better (basketball comes to mind), while in cycling there are no competition rules, it is solely up to the teams and the teams make cycling really tedious to watch at times. Let’s be honest about it: The break that gets 4 minutes – not interesting, it is an alibi race. The steady pace up a mountain for 5 minutes action at the end – not exciting. Sprint stages – horrible hours to endure for 2-3 minutes of fun.

Let’s face it: The sponsor model is the perfect way to market cycling: It reaches people, you would never reach otherwise. The fact that cycling goes on for hours, crosses a lot of country is perfect for sponsors. People see it – lots of people, everywhere on the earth – even if they only stand at the busstop, waiting for the bus to get home from work, when the riders drive by.

If the teams want to have more money, they must be prepared to show better sport. Simple as that. Right now they are not. It is up to them and nobody else to make cycling more attractive and more successful.

And if they were smart and really would be serious about making pro cycling better for everyone, the teams would decide together to cap their team-budgets. There are million ways to make cycling more attractive, more worth, more profitable, but the teams are not willing right now to go there. They want to have more, but are not willing to give more. I hope they see that the whole thing will only work out, if all parties work together and I hope they stop the damaging, aggressive course some of their spokespeople have lead them on. Because if they continue down that road, we all will lose.

gabriele July 13, 2016 at 2:02 am

Whatever… but cycling in Europe has TV audicences which kick basketball’s a** on a regular basis.

Last weekend the TdF was in absolute terms the most seen show on La1 (Spain’s main national channel) both on Saturday and on Sunday with 1.7M spectators. On Friday only the main daily news could do slightly better. And they weren’t precisely breath-taking stages.

*Very few* basketball game can get similar results. If we speak of the national league and cups, you can achieve those figures (and not higher ones) only in the finals. Most important matches get less than 20% of that. And a lot of “normal” games settle for 5% of such audience.

That might be different when you have events like the European Championship, but the difference is relevant only if, say, for a final where Spain wins the gold medal ^__^

Last year’s tournament was the most seen ever and it averaged 1.8M spectators in Spain (the second best recorded result is an average of 1.4M spectators).
In Italy both the Giro and the Tour average some 2M spectators along the 21 stages – Italy vs. Spain during last Eurobasket set a *tournament record* of 600K spectators.
Spain vs. Germany was the most seen match in Germany for that same Eurobasket: it was broadcast on public channels and achieved some 1.8M spectators. The tournament’s average was inferior to the TdF’s average.

So… I’ve been complaining about the boring first half of this year’s TdF, hence you can imagine that I’m all for more exciting racing. Yet, we’ve already got fine racing in cycling – maybe not during *this* TdF until now.
And we’ve already got very fine audiences in several countries. Better than most sports, and comparable, even if with different conditions, with many of the most watched sports (in Europe). Football is a different planet, but F1 isn’t anymore. Most of the rest simply lie behind.
The problem is selling those rights to the right broadcasters for a right price. I think that’s both a cultural problem and a political problem. But let’s just wait for more corporations to grasp what Merrill Lynch was meaning with Silver Economy 😛 and we might see some change. Perhaps.

CA July 13, 2016 at 1:52 am

Gabriele – Totally agree with a very important point/issue you made: Why can’t cycling get decent TV rights?

I’m not an expert in this area, but I’ve looked at other sports’ ratings vs. TV/broadcast/sponsorship revenue and it looks to me that cycling’s revenue from this area is extremely low.

gabriele July 13, 2016 at 2:29 am

Have a look to what I’ve written above (I hadn’t seen your comment, yet). And that’s just a little example, but I could produce whole sets of data.

Why can’t cycling turn TV audiences in corresponding revenues? “It’s a mystery to me”, to quote the first line of a very appropriate song.

The social dynamics of negotiating rights should be studied to understand why it ends up this way. I don’t know enough about the process to suggest any realistic hypothesis, besides the sort of wild guess I’m hinting at here.
Unequal balance of power between seller and buyers (the product has limitations, like the obligations to broadcast at least part of it for free in several countries; the seller has a limited selection of buyers to choose among, since he’s got a stronger interest than other sports’ towards a vast broadcasting, for the motives I’ve explained above, that is, the seller is selling both TV rights *and* the course to local institutions)?
Cultural bias about the public involved (middle-to-old-aged public, which isn’t considered premium; even if this might change, as I said above…)? Or cultural bias about the sport (“it’s boring, people won’t watch that” – like people watched only interesting shows, or like cycling was always boring)?

I’m hoping inrng will provide some *insider-style* insight sooner or later…

CA July 13, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Exactly, I’m not 100% sure why cycling can’t negotiate good TV contracts either. It is fairly clear that many races throughout the year, plus the Tour de France generate very strong ratings at least in France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain. So one would think that even France TV’s 25M Euro fee is grossly undervalued.

However, I’m not an expert at this either, but would not mind sharing the commission with someone if they can figure out how to capitalise on this!

sebas July 12, 2016 at 10:03 pm

Tinkov is right. While in euro football clubs playing in Champions League or Premier League/Primera Division earn huge amounts of money from TV rights, in cycling it’s still some kind of medieval form of rule. If you put 25mln euro like Tinkov does and you see some other guys who put nothing take 95% of gains and they earn because Tinkov’s team and his racers produce a spectacle… then there’s no logic in it. Business is when all sides are satisfied.

Touriste-Routier July 13, 2016 at 2:52 pm

@Sebas The race organizers do not put in “nothing”; they have all the financial risk of organizing the races. The team sponsors put their money in to teams largely due to the potential TV exposure, so they get their return on investment based upon this.

Yes the teams help create the spectacle, but without races being organized and televised, giving them their primary platform for exposure, there will be not be first & second class professional teams as we know them today.

GingerTart July 12, 2016 at 10:36 pm

INRNG, any thoughts on why Sky’s research costs fell from £83K to £23K? This seemed to stand out for me.

Obviously a lot of research costs are carried by the industry sponsors Pinarello, Rapha etc. and Sky benefits from their work, but I would have also expected Sky to keep funding its own research as much as possible.

anonymous July 13, 2016 at 1:59 am

As researcher (in a completely unrelated field) I wasn’t surprised about this reduction at all..

gabriele July 13, 2016 at 2:30 am

Indeed
^__^

Jonhard July 12, 2016 at 11:07 pm

You can try to ensure closer sporting competition by limiting financial competition, but you really need all concerned to be on board, and a decent pie to share. And it’s probably illegal in the EU, but honestly I think the practical obstacles are more significant.

Anonymous July 13, 2016 at 1:37 am

The decimal places in the parenthetical keep throwing me off

Bern July 13, 2016 at 4:06 am

“Several sports make more money from TV rights than from actual on-site spectators.”

Indeed, gabriele, and in the Good Ol’ US of A the major sports (not my majors, but…) gain so much from that source (more than the total value of all the professional cycling teams combined) that they voluntarily enter into revenue sharing arrangements to spread the wealth (major US leagues are exempt from federal anti-trust laws for political reasons). To top that off, our leagues employ a ‘draft’ to determine which teams get to make employment offers to which players (that sometimes actually kinda-sorta works – really good teams can have a mid-long run of success, followed by a fallow period as they struggle to get young talent they were denied by the draft protocols (ie worst drafts first).

Wieirdly, some leagues here have adopted so-called ‘salary caps’ (a fake attempt to level the playing field btw high & (relatively) low budgeted teams) that never work, and minimum (not maximum) salaries for players. All because a few decades ago some labor lawyers got hold of the players’ unions and taught them how to negotiate.

Salary caps are a direct threat to labor and should be treated with the contempt they deserve…

Michael July 13, 2016 at 4:18 am

Hi,
Thanks for the unending stream of great articles. Regarding “Tour Racing can elect to receive funding from the title sponsors in Euro or Sterling”, this is unlikely to shield them from exchange rate fluctuations for two reasons. First, I suspect the actual meaning of this phrase refers to shield from fees charged on currency conversion (i.e. the GBP value will remain fixed, but that value can be paid in Euros or GBP as a matter of convenience). Second, even if it had that effect, the team is effectively a wholly owned subsidiary of Sky’s – thus the discretion to exercise this provision wouldn’t be made in isolation from the parent company. Thanks again – fascinating that riders are “contractors”, I’d been wondering how the riders got the benefits of Monaco or Andorra.

Pax July 13, 2016 at 8:25 am

Thank you for posting the information.

From my perspective cycling is going to continue the languish as ASO has managed to keep the teams, UCI and other races, from being organized. Instead everyone is constantly trying to look out for themselves – instead of doing what would be the right collective for their collective good. These has served to increase the asset value of ASO, to the determent of everyone else.

The races do share something with teams, which is more than in the past, but this is peanuts in comparison to other sports.

Take a look at the UFC – it just sold for $4 billion. This is fighting, with all the fighters juiced on PEDs, and many suffering life altering brain injuries (that they don’t detect until later). Most importantly, the built the events over time to be attractive to increased TV audiences.

Yes – the ASO, has every incentive to manage more races, and keep the structure of teams weak. Tinkov, BMC, IAM, Vaughters, all rightfully complained about the lack of the coordinated team structure. It doesn’t help that the UCI, is a swiss non-profit, which is good at keeping the status quo, they are bad at structuring for the future and making bold moves. The UCI is controlled by ‘old guys’ from the national biking organizations.

As much as I can complain about the mens biking being screwed, the females. are the ones that are completely being disregarded. In the US, the ASO, would have been roasted by now for their completely uneven treatment of females.

(HINT INRNG – if you do go to a firewall – can you at least get a volunteer contributor – that provides semi monthly in-site on the women’s side)

Cormac July 13, 2016 at 12:42 pm

In-site insight, I like.

ianpa July 13, 2016 at 11:18 am

Sky play the game, i’m pretty sure Tinkoff did until he got bored. you get a budget, you sign riders etc to maximise your return.. this is true from grassroots through to WT, think of your local sponsor team hoovering up all the good riders in your area and then just extrapolate as you get more professional.

On TV Revenue..The issue is, and i believe the UCI understand this, that there is no core ‘product’ to sell which they can then govern correctly, ASO, RCS etc compete against each other rather than work together.

The F1 model, US franchised sports, UK Premier League etc are all hugely profitable and share the TV money because 1 body negotiates the TV rights. The rules within the sport are handled by the governing body (FIA, FA etc). This is why we have Velon, all the teams trying to get together, have a product they can sell and then share the reward.

The only way for cycling to move on, is for the UCI to get 1 entity owning all the races that they want in the WT, creating a product that can then be sold.

example…. UCI creates a WT (they already have), Velon or ASO or whoever pay the UCI to run the WT (the MAJOR stumbling point with so many differnt race organisers)… but can sell the TV rights etc, the money comes into back in and is then distributed to the teams.

And for the women, this model works as well..

Ferdi July 13, 2016 at 11:46 am

Interesting contractual status for riders… Does the UCI allow to have them “outsourced” and not as normal staff members, subject to existing labour and social protection laws? If so, I am indignant.

The Inner Ring July 13, 2016 at 12:27 pm

It’s not subject to UCI rules but national law, eg Sky operate under British law. Lampre and Katusha have their legal entities in Switzerland; Tinkoff I think is legally based in Luxembourg. Some of the Italian teams are based offshore in Ireland for this. It’s not allowed for French teams as it’s not allowed under French law.

Ferdi July 13, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Whatever the national specificities, I’m still indignant that the UCI, through its WT requirements, that involve a great deal of economic rider-employer issues, does not harmonize this most elementary social aspect, that would enhance, not only equality between riders and teams, from a purely sportive angle, but equal rights between riders whatever the national jurisdiction they’re under. This is all the more ludicrous when you think, as a contrast, that they have decided, for example, to no less than downright ban long TTs, for unfathomable reasons.
“Outsourcing” contracts cannot replace normal labour contracts in jobs that constitute the very essence of the employer’s activity. And there’s nothing more essential to a cycling pro team than its riders. We’re talking about FRAUD (legal or not) here.

Stevie July 21, 2016 at 12:20 pm

It costs Sky the equivalent of one Sunday of Premier League football (2 games £10.1m each game) to fund Team Sky, with its 25 riders, staff, maintaining the fleet of vehicles, go on training camps and win the tour de france!

I wonder which gives better value for money in terms of exposure for the brand

J Evans July 21, 2016 at 12:43 pm

The football.
That’s where Sky make all their money.
And football is vastly more popular than cycling. The vast majority of Britons could not care less about cycling, but they are bewilderingly fascinated by every slight minutiae that is related to football.
What really galls me about Team Sky is that if you follow the money trail, it all goes back to News Corp. The vile bigotry they espouse is unignorable as far as I’m concerned and over-rides any other feelings I might have about Team Sky.
Still, if Team Bahrain comes to fruition, they might no longer be the most morally compromised team.

Stevie July 21, 2016 at 1:49 pm

I’m aware how sky make their money, my question was brand exposure and value for money, does spending £5.1bn on football and only shown in the UK, represent better value for money over £20m expense per year to fund a Tour de France winning team, that gets mentioned on all your rivals coverage, exposure for the brand in the territories it can’t show Prem football – sky Italia, sky Germany, US, I’m not so sure,

As for Murdoch, it is what it is, the mans abhorrent but It’s also not the team sky lads fault where the money comes from,

If Murdoch was willing to pay me £3m a year, I’d take it,

J Evans July 21, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Have to admit, I would take the money too.
Not sure how much people outside the UK are impressed by Team Sky’s success.

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