We’ve all seen the presenting stage sponsors for a stage race, well why not the same thing for a team? That’s exactly what Adageo Energy Pro Cycling Team director/rider Josh Horowitz implemented for his team at the Larry H Miller Tour of Utah.
“The economy is really tough and everyone is struggling this year. My idea was to take the pressure of one company sponsoring an entire season of racing, but go to individual sponsors and say ‘hey we’re going to Your of Utah, next to the Tour of California, it’s the biggest event of the year’.” explained Horowitz. “I expressed to them how big of a race it is, and how important it is to the team.”
“I think the companies were excited about it.” said Horowitz about the sponsors that took him on the idea, all of whom were already part of the sponsor lineup for 2010.
The four sponsors who will be featured with the unique advertising will be Siddatch for stage 1, Powerbar on stage 2, Twinlab on stage 4 and Wonderful Pistachios on stage 5.
Pistachios? New to the cycling world, the connection with Wonderful Pistachios was made via Horowitz’s coaching business.
“Pistachios is a perfect mix, they’re really going after the health market. Pistachios are high in anti-oxydants, they’re high in fiber, they’re really the healthiest nuts and they’re trying to get that message across.” explained Horowitz. “I came to them and said cycling world is perfect for that because cycling world is all about health and nutrition.”
The company came in at the beginning of the season to get their feet wet as a supporting sponsor. “We fostered them throughout the year, to show them this is what you’re getting through sports marketing and throughout the season, as they got to know the cycling world a little bit better, they saw the really good return on their investments, they stepped up and wanted to be more involved with the team.”
Targeted approach. On each sponsored stage, the riders on the 8-man squad will wear a different base layer, representing the sponsor that day. “Each sponsor will pick up a different stage of the race and we would go into that stage really trying to represent that particular sponsor for the day.”
Horowitz divided the race budget into six, the number of stages in the race. “It’s very targeted, covering the price that it costs us for one day of racing and they get that one day to shine. It’s very cost effective for them, they’re paying what they’re getting.”
A targeted approach compared to year-long supporting sponsors. “For a title sponsor, you’re putting up money for the UCI fees, all the base expenses of running a team, the lawyers and all that.”
Tough economy. Being August, team management is working on sponsorship for 2011, Horowitz included, but as he said, “it’s tough” out there.
“My take on it is that company is receptive to it, but in this economy nobody is just going to say oh that sounds like fun, lets do it. Even the big companies, even the companies that are doing well, are not just going to jump into this for fun. They want to see real statistics and demographics.” he commented. “My impression is that there is nobody out there writing big checks right now, they want to see the return on their investment, and if you can do that, I think that companies are receptive to the idea.”
He also added. “I’m still hoping that the economy does better, it would help everybody. There are a lot of experienced riders out there that are not getting paid and supported the way they should be.”
The team plans on returning as a UCI Continental team next year, with hopefully a bigger budget. “We were very bare-bone budget this year, and it was a good first year but we need to step it up for next year for sure. We want to get to the level where we can have some international caliber professional riders who can win big races.”