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  1. #1
    meh goodcatjack's Avatar
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    newbie question: why does the usps sponsor a team?

    I did find this, but it doesn't really tell me a whole lot about how the whole thing got started. why is the usps particularly involved with sponsoring cycling?

    thanks in advance,

    --alex.

    >>Our cycling team sponsorship has proven its value to the Postal Service," said Gail Sonnenberg, senior vice president, Sales, for the Postal Service. "By being associated with our championship cycling team and one of the world's greatest athletes, Lance Armstrong, the Postal Service brand is recognized around the world. We believe in the values of hard work, the striving for excellence, and the championship spirit these athletes demonstrate."<<
    http://www.usps.com/search97cgi/s97_...HLNavigate=off

  2. #2
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    That's a good question----another waste of public funds.

    Its almost as bad as when the local welfare dept was spending public money to advertise that they were giving out public money on the local station some years ago---SHEEEEESH.

  3. #3
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    USPS get a lot of good publicity in places where cycling is popular, like Europe.
    Ive heard of USPS now, and their values of hard work, the striving for excellence, and the championship spirit these athletes demonstrate. I would love to try them, but if I want to send letters in the UK, I have to make do with Royal Mail.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Spinarooni's Avatar
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    USPS wants to compete in Europe against UPS and FedEX. Europeans love their cycling. What is so wrong with that?
    "The eyes are the groin of the head." -Dwight Schrute

  5. #5
    meh goodcatjack's Avatar
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    >>What is so wrong with that?<<

    I wasn't implying anything about wrong or right. I was just curious if there was some historical relationship between the usps and cycling of which I wasn't aware.

    I just started riding back in october; I'm commuting now and enjoy riding trails when I can. so I'm trying to learn more about the history of this sport/lifestyle, especially since I've discovered there's a whole world associated with all this.

    --alex

  6. #6
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    another waste of public funds.
    With the entire economic infrastructure of the United States dedicated to promoting more driving, more car-buying, more gas-guzzling, and less exercise, poorer diet, and no development of alternative transportation, the tiny bit of money the USPS spends to support a team that has inspired many people to get on their bikes is money well spent, IMO.

    If there's even a net cost to the US taxpayer, which is not demonstrated. The purpose of the team is to promote the USPS as a competitor in the worldwide delivery market. It could well amount to "cheap advertising."

    RichC

  7. #7
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    If anybody should be promoting cycling---it should be the cycling industry--not the U.S. taxpayer( or stamp buyer--whatever the case)----Trek--Cannondale etc.---need to belly up to the table and support their own industry---not let the taxpayer do it for them.

    Not to mention--using tax dollars to unfairly compete with UPS and FedEx---2 companies that actually pay taxes and have to spend their own money for advertising----not money sucked out of the U.S. taxpayer. Not only is it immoral---a case could be made for it being illegal.

  8. #8
    I am a lonely visitor RegularGuy's Avatar
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    Though the USPS is a government agency--owned, operated, and regulated by the US Government--it is not funded like other government agencies. It is self-supporting, not tax-subsidized. In fact, the USPS does need to compete directly with other delivery services, and to compete it needs to advertise. Supporting Team Postal Service is good advertising, especially in Europe, but even in the US.

    Also, you may want to note that the cycling industry DOES sponsor professional racing teams. Team USPS is also sponsored by Trek. Team Saeco WAS Saeco-Cannondale. Let's see, whose name is on Paola Pezzo's jersey? Etc. Etc. Etc.
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  9. #9
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Like Regular Guy said...

    It's worth noting that, as a self-funded agency, USPS has been taking a HUGE hit in revenues in the last few years. Regular postage revenues have dropped off largely due to e-mail and package shipping has been trimmed by competition from FedEx and UPS. The Post Office needs all the marketing help it can get and, for a relatively small investment, it gets its name mentioned every time pro cycling comes up in the media and it's associated with speed and it's associated with competitive courage and strength of character.

    The USPS team's annual budget is, according to almost every source I've read [Cycle Sport, Velonews, etc.] $5.5 million, of which, the USPS contributes about $4 million as title sponsor. That $4 million gets the Postal Service constant mtntion throughout July every year, constant exposure on the backs of the hundreds of thousands of people wearing USPS team jerseys, exposure at domestic races in which the team takes part and additional exposure in the European market, where the service is hoping to become a parcel-service player.

    To put it all in perspective, a 90-second ad spot in the first half of the Superbowl cost Pepsi $8 million, not counting production fees and appearance fees for the celebrities who appeared in the ad.

    If anything, the Postal Service's sponsorhip of the USPS team is probably the best, most effective advertising and marketing that they can get -- at almost any price. [And bear in mind that the Postal Service gets a licensing fee for every USPS jersey sold, so it may even break even on the investment!] It is a brilliant marketing move, and one I wish more companies and organizations would consider emulating...

    And all of this has the incidental benefit of encouraging bicycle use in the US, stimulating the domestic bicycle industry and countless other ancillary benefits.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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  10. #10
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    I stand corrected.

  11. #11
    b_rider
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    I think it is great that the USPS is advertised in the manner it is with the USPS cycling team and with people buying USPS labeled products at their LBS. What better way to advertise and support the cycling team. And I think it is correct in saying that the USPS probably at the very least breaks even with the 4 million dollars they sponsor the team for.

    Now with that said, I have yet to see a USPS cycling team poster or picture in a local post office. Ever since the creation of the cycling team I have never seen one. You'd think that will all of the sponsoring they do for the team there would at least be a poster hanging in the local post office. Yes I have seen them in my LBS. But they are usually TDF or the like posters. Has anyone else seen a USPS cycling team poster in their local post office, or in a LBS that was not affiliated with the TDF or other pro race?

  12. #12
    I am a lonely visitor RegularGuy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by b_rider


    Now with that said, I have yet to see a USPS cycling team poster or picture in a local post office. Ever since the creation of the cycling team I have never seen one. You'd think that will all of the sponsoring they do for the team there would at least be a poster hanging in the local post office. Yes I have seen them in my LBS. But they are usually TDF or the like posters. Has anyone else seen a USPS cycling team poster in their local post office, or in a LBS that was not affiliated with the TDF or other pro race?
    Yes, my local P.O. had a team photo framed and prominently displayed for a long time. The USPS website features cycling team merchandise which is also available in some of their post offices. For a while the USPS sponsored a Lance Armstrong/Priority Mail promotion. And I believe they were giving away a trip to the TdF to promote the use of credit cards. They are trading on the Postal Team nicely.
    Religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for bad people. --H. Richard Niebuhr

  13. #13
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    Ditto to what has been said. . . my 2 cents. . .

    As long as Lance is winning 3-week stage races in France every summer the USPS will enjoy a tremendous return on their investment in cycling. Certainly USP team's success contributed to the extension of their relationship last year.

    However, I wonder if/when Lance retires how excited USPS will be to part with $4 million per year to support a team no one in the US knows.

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by b_rider
    ...Now with that said, I have yet to see a USPS cycling team poster or picture in a local post office. ...
    A few years ago our local post office had various shirts, greeting cards, etc. for sale. They had a "clearance" sale going on with a sign that indicated the items were being cleared out due to a ruling that the Postal Service was only permitted to provide shipping services and incidental packaging materials.

    I don't know if this was an internal USPS decision, legislation, or court ruling.

    As far as displaying pictures of the team in the post office, some vigilante might shoot down the whole team thinking they were getting the FBI's "ten most wanted" all at once.

    Jim White

  15. #15
    Lagomorph Demonicus stumpjumper's Avatar
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    However, I wonder if/when Lance retires how excited USPS will be to part with $4 million per year to support a team no one in the US knows.
    Probably wont bother them much, after all when the team was formed, Lance was seen more as a has-been since no one expected him to do more than participate after his battle with cancer. Imagine their suprise when this guy up and kicked the $hit out of everyone!
    Lord Bowler: Uh oh. You hit the sheriff
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  16. #16
    In Banff, AB Dwagenheim's Avatar
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    Just curious,
    how much postage do I need to send a few cd's through the mail?


    Dave
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  17. #17
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    USPS is not a new team. They have been competing in Europe for several years. I first saw them in 1997.

  18. #18
    I am a lonely visitor RegularGuy's Avatar
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    USPS was formerly Team Motorola. I believe 7-11 owned the franchise before that.
    Religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for bad people. --H. Richard Niebuhr

  19. #19
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RegularGuy
    USPS was formerly Team Motorola. I believe 7-11 owned the franchise before that.
    Actually, if I'm not mistaken, there is no actual contunuity between Motorola and USPS. Motorola folded in 1995 and USPS was registered with the UCI in 1997. The core of the team was much the same, but it was a different management structure...

    You might remember Armstrong riding for Cofidis in 1996, after Motorola went south.
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  20. #20
    I am a lonely visitor RegularGuy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by velocipedio
    You might remember Armstrong riding for Cofidis in 1996, after Motorola went south.
    You are probably right about Motorola not being purchased directly by USPS. I do indeed remember Lance riding for Cofidis. Oddly enough, his official website seems to have forgotten it. There is no mention of his tenure at Cofidis in his career highlights. I guess I can understand a little acrimony, though, being as they hung him out to dry when he was sick.
    Religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for bad people. --H. Richard Niebuhr

  21. #21
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Actually... sponsors don't actually buy cycling teams. The teams are independent sporting orgaizations [groups sportifs] registered with the UCI which sign contracts with sponsors for funding.

    The company that actually pays Lance ARmstrong's salary is a sports marketing firm called Tailwind Sports. When the USPS sponsorship contract with Tailwind expires in 2004, there's nothing stopping Tailwind from signing up Federal Express, or whoever, as a title sponsor.

    I'm sure the Post Office has a fair bit of say in how the team is run, but only as an important sponsor.
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  22. #22
    meh goodcatjack's Avatar
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    somebody should write all this down, this is cool stuff. "The Bicycle: A History" -- that kind of thing.

    thanks to all for the info ...

    --alex.

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