Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Discovery disbands

Old 08-10-07, 02:04 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
My wife works advertising for a major bank. She wouldn't touch TDF, it's riders, or even L. Armstrong now with a 10 foot pole. U.S. advertising for TDF and cycling is DEAD.
I wonder is this is why BofA dropped its sponsorship of the Charlotte Invitational Criterium this year?
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Old 08-10-07, 02:09 PM
  #77  
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I've been reading news stories about this all morning, and all that keeps coming into my head is:
'Great Scott!'
'Yeah I know it's heavy.'

I read the Contador announcement a little differently that most. I think Johan approached him and said: 'you are young, your whole career is in front of you, do this thing and make this announcement so you clear your name and someone else signs you up next year. Don't go down with Discovery!'
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Old 08-10-07, 02:20 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by Second Mouse View Post
Disagree. Say what you want about the doping scandals and how they've tarnished cycling's reputation, it's still press. And in the eyes of a lot of advertisers, any press is good press. If you take the approach that Slipstream is taking, you fudge the odds well in your favor that if one of your riders does end up on the podium or at the front of a break, in front of the cameras, and you get positive commentary regarding juicing and what the team has done to try and correct the situation, that's very good exposure. Lemons to lemonade.

I could be wrong, though.
In a sense you're right, Festina is still reaping the rewards of their former sponsorship every time the '98 scandal is mentioned. On the other hand, potential sponsors are worried about more than just getting their names out in any kind of press. That is, a couple of years ago if a rider was caught cheating or the whole team went down in a scandal then the result was merely some bad press (still good for the sponsor but not as good as good press). In recent years, however, individual rider scandals and accusations against parts of the team have resulted in the whole team folding (see iShares, LS-Würth). This is far scarier to businesses than being associated with a doping scandal as actual money is lost. You see potential sponsors spend a lot of time and money working on sponsorship deals and creating advertising campaigns- before a dime is transferred to the sponsored team. All that money and time (which is money) is wasted if the team folds. This risk is going to convince the top paying potential sponsors to find a less risky advertising campaign (NASCAR?) thereby lowing the pool of sponsorship monies. Reading between the lines of the reports it seems that Tailwind sports decided to halt the team rather than accept smaller sponsorship deals and the headaches that would entail (a lower budget would mean cutting salaries or operating costs).

Originally Posted by Second Mouse View Post
Point taken. I'm just a little tired of hearing the doomsayers predicting the end of pro cycling as we know it. And it's nice to see at least a couple of teams making a move in the direction of fixing the problem.

It just seems like it would make for a pretty positive image for guys like Slipstream, when they get compared to the rest of what's out there. Call me an optimist.
Slipstream's efforts are so different that, if adopted by pro cycling, would constitute an "end of pro cycling as we know it" and change it into something else, something better perhaps but something different. Something must drastically change in the sport or it will die- if Slipstream's tactics are the answer then so be it but the old model isn't working and will end one way or another. I'm parsing words here a little but the point is important. Pro cycling must evolve or die.

Originally Posted by benbaconlewis View Post
It is not the "atmosphere" of guys being "dropped on a whim or a rumor" that has caused sponsors to walk away from pro cycling, it is doping.

Strict doping controls should drive doping out of the sport, give the sport back some of its lost integrity and draw in more sponsors in the long run.
Again, I would say that is the doping plus the reaction to the doping that are both problems. When whole advertising campaigns are thrown out the window because of unproven (as of yet) allegations against a single rider on a team then companies will find more predictable ways of advertising.

Strict doping controls are wishful thinking as any "strict doping controls" will be administered by individual teams, the UCI, or WADA and each of those bodies are untrustworthy in the matter. Some teams might do a great job but others will not. WADA and the UCI have proven themselves unable to follow their own protocols in administering the current doping controls. Who do you envision running theses controls?

It is a shame that Discovery Channel Cycling Team is folding at the end of the year. As an American cyclist it was good to have a US team on par with the European Pros- something that wasn't true in my childhood. It meant that US cycling was on world class. Team Slipstreams may achieve that same status but right now they are a US domestic team likely invited to play with the big boys but still second rate. I wish them luck in the races and in their anti-doping efforts. Hopefully they can effect a big enough change to bring the sport back from the brink.
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Old 08-10-07, 02:21 PM
  #79  
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They should get Ebay to sponsor them. They can ride whatever, Like new, barely used, NWT, NOS, riden just once, stuff they find on Ebay.
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Old 08-10-07, 02:29 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by benbaconlewis View Post
It is not the "atmosphere" of guys being "dropped on a whim or a rumor" that has caused sponsors to walk away from pro cycling, it is doping.

Strict doping controls should drive doping out of the sport, give the sport back some of its lost integrity and draw in more sponsors in the long run.
Any year now that'll kick in.
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Old 08-10-07, 02:41 PM
  #81  
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I grow so tired of the 'lets attack other sports instead of admitting that cycling has an enormous drug problem' posts.

First off, they are often so inaccurate. People HATE Bonds. Mark McGuire was a friggen hero many years as well as a lock to the HOF. He did not get in year one and has generally fallen off the face of the earth. R Palmero was a generally liked guy that was run out of his sport from a positive test. Back to Bonds, you cannot watch any sports programming without consistent trashing of him. The commish of the sport was not even there.

Second off, it simply an immature response - essentially what all of us with kids grow tired of hearing.

Bonds cheating does not make the drug problem in cycling any less
Vick and his horrible dog fighting ring does not make th drug problem in cycling any less
you get the picture.
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Old 08-10-07, 03:20 PM
  #82  
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"Pro cycling must evolve or die."

I couldn't agree more and unfortunately because this system is so mired in the European status quo and egos, I don't see it happening. The US is willing to let something get crushed and from the ashes try to build something better, but the European mindset is not the same and the power plays of UCI, ASO and the others will prevent this from happening. It does show just how low the whole Pro Cycling thing has gotten when you can't field a whole team for a year on far less (about half) than what a single infielder for the Yankees makes in a year.
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Old 08-10-07, 03:42 PM
  #83  
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Dammit! This thread is about the Tailwind Sports announcement. NOT about doping.

Why does discussion always get dragged down to the lowest common flame-fest on BF? Don't you people have brains?
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Old 08-10-07, 04:25 PM
  #84  
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no more Trek OH NO
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Old 08-10-07, 04:28 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by DMF View Post
Dammit! This thread is about the Tailwind Sports announcement. NOT about doping.

Why does discussion always get dragged down to the lowest common flame-fest on BF? Don't you people have brains?

It's impossible to seperate the two. On some level, perhaps more than we know, doping is driving this decision.

The inability to sign a sponsor obviously was a huge factor and was directly related to doping; getting out before they were subject of a doping scandal is certainly a possible factor, and the fact that they may have decided it wasn't worth it being involved in professional cycling with the current doping allegations is a possible factor.

There's no way you can discuss this topic without discussing the current drug situation in cycling.

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Old 08-10-07, 10:33 PM
  #86  
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I'm very disapointed that the Discovery team is disbanding. I've kind of grown up with them in cycling, and although they aren't even close to being an All-American team, they have given me a hometown kind of feeling and I rooted for them. It's going to be a lot different seeing George pulling for another team leader.

One of my biggest questions is what are Trek's plans this upcoming year? It's a pretty big deal for them to lose their team. A bike being ridden by a team is probely the best advertisement that a company can get.
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Old 08-11-07, 12:09 AM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by Savagewolf View Post
One of my biggest questions is what are Trek's plans this upcoming year? It's a pretty big deal for them to lose their team. A bike being ridden by a team is probely the best advertisement that a company can get.
They will outbid Felt, and sponsor Slipstream ... IMO.
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Old 08-11-07, 12:43 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by wvxc View Post
Generally the one that breaks the record isn't worth as much as the one that sets the final record, especially in a case like this. If he hits 25 more homers before he retires the last one will be worth more than the one that broke the record.
Exactly it’s that last HR ball he bats away when he retires will fetch the most money and even if it's not much after the ball is hit and someone catches it, the ball will fetch more money when he's entered into the hall of fame and 50 or so years down the line. Even Hanks ball was not really worth much until 20+ years later and as time goes by the value of everything goes up for stuff like that...Beside what Bonds and all the guys who did roids or were suspected of doing roids @ the time were not breaking any Baseball rules. It was pretty much a legal under the guide lines for the players no set rule saying you couldn't do it.

Now back to the Discovery team... I just keep thinking of the whole management shakeup at Discovery Channel earlier this year which kicked off the whole DC dropping its sponsorship. This whole disbanding thing should be no big surprise to anyone. The Discovery Channel had said last Feb they were not going to renew their sponsorship for the team.
In order for that team to keep going and also have any identity in non cycling news and US press they would need a big well known name that is well likes in the us or well recognized
I just find it strange and the whole thing at the time gave me an odd feeling.
Also I feel that someone is trying to be greedy on one hand and the other has to deal with Doping and screening for it or lack of it on a team level with the team compared to the steps CSC and T-mobile is taking.
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Old 08-11-07, 12:54 AM
  #89  
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I read Trek wouldn't home wreck Felt's deal with Slipstream, they are just sitting tight for the time being.
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Old 08-11-07, 07:06 AM
  #90  
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When Bill Stapleton says "We couldn't in good conscious make a recommendation to a company to spend the sort of money that would be required to sponsor the team, in the current environment." I'd like to applaud him for being high minded, but the cynical side of me says there's more to it than that. Has the environment changed that dramatically from when Lance was riding...I'm not sure it has.
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Old 08-11-07, 08:46 AM
  #91  
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Shockingly, it seems that public doesn't have all the facts regarding this decision. Perhaps, as EMF stated, there was "baggage" from the old sponsorship deal. Perhaps the available potential sponsors were not willing or able to invest enough $ to cover the teams financial responsibilities (salaries/operating costs) and that the only way to escape the overhead was to disband the team and start afresh.

We may find out the details later but any guess now would only be a guess.

Regardless, the announcement is sad news. This thread has again highlighted that many people fail to understand that these teams are businesses first and foremost. Their business is advertising through cycling and that business is in trouble. Yes, many white Europeans still follow the sport fervently, but as that population shrinks (literally negative population growth) that fan base will literally shrink. A simultaneous retreat from the wealth and populous US market will not be good.
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Old 08-11-07, 08:46 AM
  #92  
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I think an Ebay team is a good idea. There are definite parallels to the listings on Ebay. Just like Ebay listings (think of them as pro riders), there are a few bad apples in pro cycling. An Ebay team rider found guilty of doping would not tarnish Ebay's imperfect record.

After the TdF, Ebay could send all the bikes, gear, clothing (except the shorts, ewww) to be auctioned off. In turn, lots of people would list other cycling related gear in hopes that the increased number of eyes would sell stuff. Ebay would actually get a return on their investment, and raise awareness of all things Ebay. Not that everybody doesn't already know who they are.

Ebay has going for it the fact that it would probably be the one brand in all of cycling that is known worldwide. Ag2R? Who's that?
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Old 08-11-07, 08:46 AM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by dcvelo View Post
When Bill Stapleton says "We couldn't in good conscious make a recommendation to a company to spend the sort of money that would be required to sponsor the team, in the current environment." I'd like to applaud him for being high minded, but the cynical side of me says there's more to it than that. Has the environment changed that dramatically from when Lance was riding...I'm not sure it has.

I don't think the environment has changed that much either. What has seemed to changed substantially is the extent to which some organizations are going after dopers and how much more sophisticated the tests are. If Disco felt they (1) couldn't keep up with this or (2) couldn't commit to a testing program like Slipstream then that's another reason they may opt to get out.

And Lance's comment about "a lot more would have to happen before we got into cycling again..." that smells like a rat. He probably is thinking yeah once all the other teas are on a program like slipstream then we will come back
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Old 08-11-07, 10:40 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
The inability to sign a sponsor obviously was a huge factor and was directly related to doping;
Evidence? None.


Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
getting out before they were subject of a doping scandal is certainly a possible factor,
Pure speculation. Not even likely: no Disco rider has ever tested positive (afaik). Indicates to me that they have more of a handle on the problem than the other Pro Tour teams.


Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
and the fact that they may have decided it wasn't worth it being involved in professional cycling with the current doping allegations is a possible factor.
That's not what they said.

You seem to be making up the facts to fit your hypothesis.
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Old 08-11-07, 10:58 AM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
My wife works advertising for a major bank. She wouldn't touch TDF, it's riders, or even L. Armstrong now with a 10 foot pole. U.S. advertising for TDF and cycling is DEAD.

Maybe BOA should stop supporting MLB with their steroid problems.
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Old 08-11-07, 12:07 PM
  #96  
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US advertising for cycling is not dead- ask CSC. While I can't imagine a purely US company choosing to sponsor European based pro cycling certainly transnational corporations (TNCs) will (CSC). Additionally, continental professional cycling and small local teams will still be sponsored by purely US companies (Chipotle, your LBS). As the US is a great place to base TNCs for several reasons I expect US based companies to sponsor more and more European Pro cycling teams, however, don't confuse US based TNCs with US companies.

Originally Posted by jimbud View Post
I did some work for a Anheuser Bush Marketing VP last year and I always wanted to ask her if they would ever consider a 1 year 20 million dollar sponsorship deal with a American Cycling team to race in North America and Europe. I know they market a number of their brands in Europe and always thought it would be a interesting fit.
That might be a problem. Anheuser Bush has had some legal concerns with advertising in Europe regarding the Budweiser/Budvar trademark.
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