Moderator: Moderator Team
- Posts: 8609
- Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:32 pm
- Location: Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California
Yes, but the ROI is missing for advertisers in the current environment.
This is the line of thought on the issue after talking about it casually with some colleagues over the past few months:
'Traditionally' - and we're reaching back here - advertisers were typically one of two types: brands that appealed to the majority of viewership (non-participants) and those that appealed to a majority of sport fans (participants).
Viewership = people who were at home a lot, watching mid-day, mid-week (when most racing happens), who live in towns and are willing to get out of the house for a little bit, get some fresh air, and watch the young (men... now women too) race by like horses. Yes, we're talking about pensioners.
Participants = people who also ride and have some connection, however aspirational or relational, to the efforts of the athletes.
From there we have two types of advertisers:
-General commodities that a pensioner, or home maker, might need/buy. (Quickstep, Liquigas, Molteni (coffee), Ag2r, Cofidis, Sky (watch our media), Vacansoleil, Saxo, Tinkoff, etc:...) This is the far longest list of the two and goes back to well before racing was televised and by all accounts the overwhelming majority of sponsor vertical.
-Sport-specific commodities (Bianchi, Cannondale, BMC... sport-specific brands). This is a much smaller vertical. Much, much smaller.
How have things evolved?
The internet, for one, allows specific targeted advertising. The home-maker and/or pensioner has more direct and effective places to be shown an advertisement. If they surf the web at all (which they do!), advertising is much more effective, and affordable, than on the jersey of a pro team. A credit-line company is more likely to get their brand's message to the viewer on a banner advert than they are by simply having the name strewn across a jersey that might, maybe, win, if the pensioner/home-maker is watching... but that's less likely because of the internet which is better able to appeal to their actual interests or the evolution of television, which now offers a vast array of specific programming to appeal to specific interests. Remember that back in the day cycling was a method of getting people out of their homes because, well, life was pretty damn boring sitting at home and listening to the radio and not seeing anyone all day, etc:. Now there are a lot of shows and plenty of channels to flip around. With that came more specific advertising availability. Previously a commercial would could only be shown across a program to all persons regardless of location. Now a commercial can be very targeted: a specific time slot and shown to specific areas/regions only. For a company on a budget this is highly effective.
As for the sport-specific advertisers? That's a tough call. Usually they are backed in one of two-ways:
1. They are backed by a wealthy individual who really loves this sport. BMC, for example, is largely propped up by a guy who should be advertising his hearing-aide devices, but instead is ok with just supporting the Bicycle Manufacturing Company of Switzerland. Something really important comes up here which we'll cover later: the wealthy backer has a personal connection to the activity itself because he or she was able to participate in their youth. This is extremely important.
2. A company is owned by a much larger company (Cannondale/Dorel) and the larger company decides that it is willing to offer an expenditure for a few years in order to support a team, which may boost sales, but the goal is really to find a backer willing to support a successful team (going back to the general commodity vertical). Trek really does not want to sponsor a team on the long run, but they can calculate an expenditure in the short (1 or 2 years) and hope that a backer... as happened with Radioshack or Nissan... would come around to help alleviate the costs. In the case of Specialized, they got together with Lululemon to basically save a significant powerhouse in women's cycling, which in a sense helped the women's side of the sport from going into the history books. Lululemon benefited by putting out their clothes a bit more and advertising in an increasing market of women's athletic wear, Specialized got to make other US brands look like pigs in the eyes of women coming into the sport - again an increasing number - by being the first brand name out there associated with a strong, successful, women's team riding some really well designed paint schemes with matching clothes.
But things have changed with the audience as well. In the past few decades (with increased ability to travel (better healthcare allowing this), internet access and other sorts of media) we are seeing less pensioners and home makers watching the sport, but instead a demographic that is largely full of participants, and mostly men in the 30+ age range. The income level has increased as well, 'cycling is the new golf' as a double meaning: not only is it the new past-time of older executive types, access to the sport is similar with golf. It is affordable to the upper-middle and upper-class of the world, not as accessible to others. Compare this to football, where any kid anywhere in the world can play the game without having to shell out a lot of money to participate and feel a connection to the game. If you don't feel a connection to the sport - as in it is something you could possibly do in some way even if it is not at that high level of ability - you are more likely to watch and follow the sport. Here are a few examples:
F1? Nascar? I'm personally not a fan but it's easy to see why people feel a connection: I too can drive a car.
Football? I can play virtually anywhere, anytime, and there is a strong youth-development system in most countries.
Basketball? I can play.
Hockey? Interestingly this is a good comparison. The sport tends to be geography/location specific, appealing to places with colder weather patterns, and more significantly, it is a very expensive sport to participate in once you get proper equipment. Even the base-level equipment can be a heavy burden of cost. The NHL and KHL have been struggling to grow their audience with mixed success.
Going back to the 'cycling is the new golf' we also see an issue in growth. There is no truly recognizable development system or method, except for a few countries but certainly not globally, that encourages youth to ride. If the kids are not growing up doing this, they're less likely to take interest in it when they (1) grow older, (2) have income to spend and (3) have a better emotional or physical connection with other forms of entertainment (Professional Sport is entertainment).
The landscape change has not been sudden, it has been a slow evolution, but I believe we are seeing the effects more so now than ever before and unless there is a significant change in the structure and accessibility of the sport - not necessarily having it televised as the main priority - we will continue to see a loss of sponsorship on the general commodity level.
I can not offer any suggestions or thoroughly considered solutions for this dilemma at the moment, and I (personally) wouldn't present any unless I had really thought it out, so I have no idea and I am definitely interested in what gets proposed both here and at the UCI/Cookson level. I had for a while thought of a league-like structure with teams actually based somewhere (to get local support) and having an actual name to the team with relegations, transfer seasons, and different league levels, as being a possibility. Shared revenue on televised rights, perhaps. A World Championship that isn't due to one race but a series of races spread throughout the season, in between the grand tours and classics, worth a level of points. A true World Tour of events and so forth that would then appeal to the major, significant advertisers such as we would see on professional, top-tier football clubs. We would then see advertisers such as Emirates, FedEx, Aon, Sky (already here), and so on. But this idea has too many gapping flaws and a long way to go before finesse, and at this time I don't think it would be viable in the end.
Apologies KWalker, that was a long post.
Just ribbing ya, man.
*also, for the Americans here - "football" in this post refers to Association Football (aka soccer), not American Football.
Speculations are new bike sponsor, a merger between Euskatel and Saxo, perhaps Fernando Alonso will bring Banco Santander onboard
Here are some questions and ideas.
1) Broadcasting Rights
Is there anyone here who can actually quantify what TV revenue world/pro/grand tour races other than the Tour actually generate? I ask because from the north american perspective it sure doesn't look like much beyond the Tour. Other than that most of the races here in Canada are broadcast by Universal Sports with Schlanger and Gogulski in their mom's basement.... Il Lombardia was broadcast on Monday morning here in Canada.... I am all for it but I think you need to ask the question of what do networks actually pay the race organizers?
2) PED use
What would happen to viewership and broadcast value and fan support for cycling if it treated PED use with a more 'PR focused' approach like the other sports. Football (american included) Tennis, Baseball, Hockey, (basically all professional sports) to cycling. I was watching (american) football on the weekend and the announcers mentioned how a player 'missed' a game or two due to 'violating the league substance abuse policy' or something like that. The commentator mentioned it casually like it was an injury. The league clearly manages the information and how the media reports it. I don't think it's ethically correct - but can cycling learn from it beyond T&R??
Is there a better way to structure teams from the current model where all you need is a rich owner/sponsor with a lot of money to buy riders with UCI points and not necessarily any long term ambitions. Is there a way to create incentive for national federations, cities, regions to field teams that would appeal to a broader market than just cycling fans? Should the UCI market the sport in this way? Should the responsibility be shouldered by the UCI to manage a top flight 'league' and attract credible owners.
I bet it was interesting, I marked it on my favorites bar... Someday when I have the time I will come back here and read it.
I promise it will be before 2020 :thumbsup:
- Posts: 8609
- Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:32 pm
- Location: Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California
I'm really passionate about solving these sort of issues (marketing, growth, and societal) but the tend to be very complex and solutions often come from tangential issues which affect the larger, hollistic goal... and then that means having to write it all out in order to explain how things are inter-connected. Putting it into a 'tldr' style post would miss the logic and reasoning completely. I'm sorry about that.
the highest number of viewers are gathered by the events that are broadcasted live in the evenings - Super Bowl, Champions League, Football WC, athletics finals (Golden League), Grand Slam... it's not about the discipline here as much as about the hours
cycling races are... long. most races/stages are simply boring (for the majority of potential viewers) till the very finish. cycling's not very TV friendly as it lacks spectacularity. just like biathlon or marathons. you won't understand the importance and difficulty of what's going on unless you try doing it on your own. that can be at least partially coped with by transmitting only the final parts of the race, but someone might ask: why the hell do they race a 200+km circuit if only last 20 are being shown? what's happening there and why? what's the purpose?
PR and public perception are a nightmare. even if you manage to bring some more excitement to a rather dull spectacle (like banning the radios, introducing smaller teams and perhaps more crit-like racing), the ongoing doping drama will still remain repeling for the vast majority of potential sponsors and viewers. let's face it - even the most gifted manager won't squeeze anything from cycling as it is now. if pro cycling is to expand, we gotta quit this 'clean sport' nonsense, as other disciplines clearly have. instead of diminishing guys like Armstrong or Ullrich, who made some of the best spectacles cycling's ever seen, use them and their names to attract people (who mostly either don't give a damn about hematocrit levels (what?) and homogeneus blood transfusions (WHAT?), or never really heard/understood what's the whole fuss about)
kkibbler wrote: WW remembers.
Excellent point on #2 WRT the way certain leagues handle PED Use. Yes, I don't agree with the way NFL, MLB, NBA, etc deal with PED use and how they basically use their PR Machine to control the perception of the use. One thing that allows them to do that though is the Collective Bargaining Agreements between the leagues and the athletes. While MLB and NFL use aspects of it to control the perception of PED use/testing/enforcement, the CBAs also provide more protections to the players (minimum salaries, privacy concerns WRT contracts and PED testing, transfer rules). Yes it's good that the UCI do a press release when someone tests positive, but how many times in recent years has that information been leaked by people charged with protecting the privacy of the athletes? I'm not saying cyclists should be allowed to go back to the bad old/recent times, but some privacy must be respected.
9.37pm Pacific Daylight Time: 15 years old and up @ 4:30am before school starts to train while dreaming of winning a grand tour. I did that!
9.44pm PDT Riding your bike to work so that you can train for hours in the dark after works done. I did that!
9.53pm PDT Hitching a ride across the country for months w/no money (almost I had 400+-) to race. I did that!
9.58pm PDT Sleeping in hotels,host family houses,cars,and park benches to get to the races. I did that!
10.02pm PDT Pro teams won't give you chance, so you buy your own license and race as an independent. I did that!
10.09pm PDT Race pro for years w/out pay just hoping to make enough winnings to pay rent. I did that!
10.17pm PDT Win everything in the US, pass on the big pay check, go to Europe for minimum pay. #ididthat!
10.27pm PDT Live in Europe in a small apartment W/no car,computer,phone,TV, only a walk for company. #ididthat!
10.28pm PDT Oops. Only a Walkman for company. #ididthat!
10.33pm PDT Take a step back hoping to go forward again. #ididthat!
10.39pm PDT Winning again but told I'm to old to go back to Europe a second time but keep fighting anyways. #ididthat!
10.45pm PDT Sell everything I own for a second chance at a grand tour, fly over with a 140bucks in my pocket. #ididthat!
10.54pm PDT Start going up the ladder with each year passing while never getting that leader respect and belief. #ididthat!
11.00pm PDT Up @6am w/3kids so I can drop them off @school before I go train all day for the Grand tours. #ididthat!
11.03pm PDT Finding that belief, given the leadership, delivering on it. #ididthat!
11.13pm PDT Moving up the ladder w/that continued belief, big sponsors on board now. #ididthat!
11.18pm PDT Whole season disappearing fast but still working hard to make it to those grand tours. #ididthat!
11.21pm PDT Amazing help and belief from all my family, friends, and fans to get back there. #ididthat!
11.32pm PDT Works paid off, forms back, but by now some have lost belief. #ididthat!
11.40pm PDT So much stress & work 4another start at a dream that began many years ago. #ididthat!
11.43pm PDT A life time of work and a stage/jersey arrive and disappear over night.
11.51pm PDT 100% is given and second time it happens, only to pass just as fast but
belief is returning. #ididthat!
12.04am PDT The jersey returned only this time for life, the stories to tell before & during it are epic & life time. #ididthat
12.08am PDT Yes it was worth it and yes the dream continues... With or without the belief. #ididthat!
prendrefeu wrote:Sorry about that.
Don't apologize. If people want to skip over posts they can do that. It's disappointing to see people mocking a long post. What makes WW great is that in addition to forum banter and trolling it has has informed thoughtful posting by a lot of really smart people. I thought more people would care about this stuff but I guess it's not everyone's cup o tea.
Horner, like/believe him or not, has just won the Vuelta in a great fashion. he's currently unemployed.
Luis Leon's no slouch either, but he's just been fired on some doping-related insinuations by the very same people who apparently run a very successfull doping programm for years.
how on earth proi cycling can move on, or progress in any way, if it's cutting the very branches it sits on
kkibbler wrote: WW remembers.
What happens if he suffers an injury that any 25-year old would recover from but might be troublesome for a 42-year old? Also he's pretty much overdue for retirement any way. There's a fairly big risk with employing him and most likely Horner will have to adjust his demands unless there is a team that really needs him and his points. It seems like the hunt for points this year is far less aggressive than it has been in the past.
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