Tinkov: We could boycott the Tour unless we get a share of TV revenue
Not generally a fan of Oleg Tinkov, but I think he might have a point
I'm not accusing anyone but the purely sponsorship model doesn't work. They need to deliver results to secure their sponsorship and so perhaps some of them closed an eye to doping. That creates a vicious circle: If they don’t get the results, they can't find a sponsor and then the team quickly collapses.
When there's an owner like myself behind the team, it’s better. I said no to doping. The riders and sports directors know that I'll pay the bills and so don't have to worry. It's still not a perfectly healthy business model. The perfect model is one where it's 50-50: 50% from sponsors and 50% from other revenue such as TV revenue. Teams need income and at the moment there's no income for the teams. And TV rights are the biggest source of income.
RCS Sport, ASO and others like Flanders Classics, they need to start paying the teams. The sooner it happens, the better it will be for cycling. We're moving forward with Sky's business approach and the arrival of [Fernando] Alonso will be good too. We've also got a new UCI President in Brian Cookson, which is good. I'd like to meet him at some point and talk about things. He's seems a good guy and a smart guy. He should take the lead and push the race organisers to share the TV revenue.
CN: The organisers say they wouldn't make any money without retaining the TV rights.
OT: (Laughs) Right. It's not a secret that the Tour de France makes hundreds of million of Euro a year. They have money.
I think we can compare it to a theatre. When you go to the theatre and buy the ticket, you expect the actors are paid for their performance. But when you watch a Grand Tour like the Giro, the Tour or the Vuelta, the actors aren't getting any of the revenue, the teams aren't getting a share of the TV revenue.
CN: But ASO owns the theatre that everyone wants to perform in and see.
OT: Yeah but if the actors go on strike, there's no show…
CN: Could it go that far? Could the best teams boycott the Tour de France?
OT: Why not? If ASO doesn't share their TV revenue, we could boycott the Tour de France.