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Caruut

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"Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
« on: October 10, 2017, 19:10 »
There was a discussion about unsavoury sponsors in professional cycling over on the Lombardia thread. Echoes said, and I agree, that it's hard to find joy in a victory won for an oil-peddling despot. It's a topic that I've been interested in for a while, so much so that I had this handy dataset ready to go. Something to kick us off. An excel version with colour coding exists, PM me if you'd like it.

One fun thing to note: since turning pro in 2006, Nibali has ridden precisely one year (Fassa Bortolo, 2006) for a team not related to petroleum.

SectorSponsor-years
Financial services23
Telecoms21
Bikes20
Petrol government20
Gambling17
Consumer electronics12
Consumer pharma8
Manufacturing8
Mining6
Home improvement5
Petrol products5
Rich uncle4
Tourism4
Business services2
Food2
Motoring1

Permaname201720162015201420132012201120102009
Ag2rAg2rFinancial servicesAg2rFinancial servicesAg2rFinancial servicesAg2rFinancial servicesAg2rFinancial servicesAg2rFinancial servicesAg2rFinancial servicesAg2rFinancial servicesAg2rFinancial services
AstanaAstanaPetrol governmentAstanaPetrol governmentAstanaPetrol governmentAstanaPetrol governmentAstanaPetrol governmentAstanaPetrol governmentAstanaPetrol governmentAstanaPetrol governmentAstanaPetrol government
BahrainBahrainPetrol government
BMCBMCBikesBMCBikesBMCBikesBMCBikesBMCBikesBMCBikesBMCBikes
BoraBoraHome improvement
GarminCannondaleBikesCannondaleBikesCannondaleBikesGarminConsumer electronicsGarminConsumer electronicsGarminConsumer electronicsGarminConsumer electronicsGarminConsumer electronicsGarminConsumer electronics
Dimension DataDimension DataBusiness servicesDimension DataBusiness services
FDJFDJGamblingFDJGamblingFDJGamblingFDJGamblingFDJGamblingFDJGamblingFDJGamblingFDJGambling
KatushaKatushaPetrol governmentKatushaPetrol governmentKatushaPetrol governmentKatushaPetrol governmentKatushaPetrol governmentKatushaPetrol governmentKatushaPetrol governmentKatushaPetrol governmentKatushaPetrol government
LottoLottoGamblingLottoGamblingLottoGamblingLottoGamblingLottoGamblingLottoGamblingOmega PharmaConsumer pharmaOmega PharmaConsumer pharmaSilenceConsumer pharma
RaboLottoNLGamblingLottoNLGamblingLottoNLGamblingBelkinConsumer electronicsBelkinConsumer electronicsRabobankFinancial servicesRabobankFinancial servicesRabobankFinancial servicesRabobankFinancial services
MovistarMovistarTelecomsMovistarTelecomsMovistarTelecomsMovistarTelecomsMovistarTelecomsMovistarTelecomsMovistarTelecomsCaisse d'EpargneFinancial servicesCaisse d'EpargneFinancial services
OricaOricaMiningOricaMiningOricaMiningOricaMiningOricaMiningOricaMining
QuickStepQuickStepHome improvementEtixxConsumer pharmaEtixxConsumer pharmaOmega PharmaConsumer pharmaOmega PharmaConsumer pharmaOmega PharmaConsumer pharmaQuickStepHome improvementQuickStepHome improvementQuickStepHome improvement
SkySkyTelecomsSkyTelecomsSkyTelecomsSkyTelecomsSkyTelecomsSkyTelecomsSkyTelecomsSkyTelecoms
GiantSunwebTourismGiantBikesGiantBikesGiantBikesArgosPetrol products
TrekTrekBikesTrekBikesTrekBikesTrekBikesRadioShackConsumer electronicsRadioShackConsumer electronicsLeopardRich uncle
LampreUAEPetrol governmentLampreManufacturingLampreManufacturingLampreManufacturingLampreManufacturingLampreManufacturingLampreManufacturingLampreManufacturingLampreManufacturing
IAMIAMFinancial servicesIAMFinancial services
SaxoTinkoffRich uncleTinkoffRich uncleTinkoffRich uncleSaxo BankFinancial servicesSaxo BankFinancial servicesSaxo BankFinancial servicesSaxo BankFinancial servicesSaxo BankFinancial services
LiquigasCannondaleBikesCannondaleBikesLiquigasPetrol productsLiquigasPetrol productsLiquigasPetrol productsLiquigasPetrol products
EuropcarEuropcarMotoringBboxTelecoms
EuskaltelEuskaltelTelecomsEuskaltelTelecomsEuskaltelTelecomsEuskaltelTelecomsEuskaltelTelecoms
VacansoleilVacansoleilTourismVacansoleilTourismVacansoleilTourism
HTCHTCConsumer electronicsHTCConsumer electronicsColumbiaSports clothing
RadioShackRadioShackConsumer electronicsRadioShackConsumer electronics
MilramMilramFoodMilramFood
CofidisCofidisFinancial services
ServettoFujiBikes

Note: for simplicity's sake, I've done this for principal sponsors of World Tour teams during the World Tour era (2009-present). Sponsor categorisations are my own subjective opinion, the only one that gave me pause was whether to categorise Tinkoff in the "Financial services" or "Rich uncle" sector. I went with the choice that pokes more fun at Oleg.
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  • t-72

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #1 on: October 10, 2017, 21:33 »
    Interesting compilation. By the way, petroleum isn't necessarily tasty (try olive oil instead) but unsavory? At least when I indicated concern for some of the sponsorship I was not thinking about petrol money per se, but when cycling is sponsored by persons/companies/states that I wouldn't normally want to deal with for political reasons such as being dictators and despots in general, using slave labor, participation in ethnic cleansing and similar stuff. I think Bahrain qualifies under "dictators and despots in general".

    In my opinion making money from selling oil is allowed!

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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 22:36 »
    In my opinion making money from selling oil is allowed!
    You're Norwegian. If it weren't for selling oil, you folks would all still be dragging fish out of the water to make a measly living. :P
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    Echoes

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 08:48 »
    Great work, Caruut.  :cool

    I'd sure like to discuss that topic further when I have more time but you are just pinpointing one of the problems that I have with Française des Jeux and Lotto. As much as I love those teams as structures, for their long history in the sport, I've started threads about Marc Madiot (in the Library) and about Lotto (in the Dark Side). I really like those teams, there are many positive aspects about them but ultimately I have to concede that there is a problem in that their sponsors are gambling companies, well national lotteries but still gambling. Besides Lotto is part of Velon now.
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  • "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    Caruut

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 12:18 »
    Interesting compilation. By the way, petroleum isn't necessarily tasty (try olive oil instead) but unsavory? At least when I indicated concern for some of the sponsorship I was not thinking about petrol money per se, but when cycling is sponsored by persons/companies/states that I wouldn't normally want to deal with for political reasons such as being dictators and despots in general, using slave labor, participation in ethnic cleansing and similar stuff. I think Bahrain qualifies under "dictators and despots in general".

    In my opinion making money from selling oil is allowed!

    It wasn't my intention to equate, say, Liquigas, with a repressive oil dictatorship (hence the different categories for petrol products and petrol governments), or to suggest that making money from oil is inherently wrong. The industry does have a truly shocking history in a number of regards, from muddying the waters over climate change to supporting coups, but it would be unfair to tar (ha) Argos or Liquigas with that brush.

    The category "Petrol government" was a reference to rentier state theory, the idea that the kind of government that is going to be directly spending money on vanity projects like a pro cycling team is going to have limited democratic control over spending and derive a large amount of its revenue from non-tax sources (ie oil money). I could go on (and on, and on) about this, but basically all the governments (Russia, Kazakhstan, UAE and Bahrain) who sponsor teams fit this mould. I wanted a relatively neutral category name that didn't impose too much of my own view of those governments (bad, bad, very bad) onto the data.
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  • « Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 14:44 by Caruut »

    Slapshot

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 08:58 »
    Anything with the name Tinkov attached should be labelled as unsavoury.....  :lol
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  • Servais Knavendish

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 09:26 »
    yes this is an interesting area - as whilst there are exceptions cycling has not traditionally attracted a raft of big blue chip sponsors - any review of our favourite jerseys show furniture companies, chewing gum, post services, low end phone handsets, easy fit flooring, and and ongoing love affair with a tile grout supplier!  Before you shout with your favourites I know there are several exceptions but we are not seeing Emirates or Etihad airlines, or Standard Chartered bank (whereas yes we do see the bank of Tinkov and erstwhile bedfellows Saxo)!

    I also noticed how thin on the ground the tier one sponsor box was for Bergen at the pinnacle of the sport (thank goodness for mapei!).

    So I would suggest an ongoing problem in attracting and keeping top drawer sponsors cash - and much of that which arrives is from a degree of patronage rather than pure hard headed business strategy.

    That said aside from the state lotteries it is great that Cycling has largely remained free of the blight of hard core online gambling brands that are a shameful stain on nearly half of the English Premier League football shirts (I think future analysis will look back harshly on clubs and EPL management  in allowing such toxic brands to have such unfettered prominence at the heart of their output).  So I guess its a case of be careful what you wish for.

    Just goes to show that whilst I sense (!) that Sky are not everyone's cup of tea; they are aside from anything else, exemplars in achieving long terms cycling sponsorship benefits for both parties.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 14:10 »
    we are not seeing Emirates or Etihad airlines, or Standard Chartered bank (whereas yes we do see the bank of Tinkov and erstwhile bedfellows Saxo)!
    Ehh ... :-x


    It's telling in and of itself that the team was supposed to become Chinese (most likely title-sponsored by some Chinese company we'd never heard of before), and only went to the UAE in a last-gasp effort to save the team.
    And even then, Emirates didn't jump on board until 6 weeks into the 2018 race season.[1]
     1. which a.o. left the team with UAD as team code for the whole year; and while their Facebook & Instagram handles have been updated to reflect the name change, their Twitter account is still left with the pre-February name (and a hilariously awkward "name" that attempts to reflect the new name, and fails miserably at meeting Twitter 'grammar' :fp
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  • Servais Knavendish

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 16:41 »
     :S doh

    Yep sorry folks - my bad - but you get my drift!!
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  • Em Gee

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #9 on: October 12, 2017, 20:32 »
    You're Norwegian. If it weren't for selling oil, you folks would all still be dragging fish out of the water to make a measly living. :P

    ?? And what kind of oil are they selling? Cod liver?    :lol

    One thought - Dimension Data may be biz services, but there really is a strong component, still, on that team of the economic development model (sports development).
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  • Eeyore sez . . .

    t-72

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #10 on: October 12, 2017, 21:14 »
    Cod liver oil, yes (good for stable vitamine D levels and Omega-3)
    Rapsolje (no idea what it`s called: oil from a fragrant yellow plant, good for cooking)
    Petroleum (a million times more than the two other types, not for eating, good for heating)

     :D
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  • Ram

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #11 on: October 13, 2017, 05:37 »
    Not really too bothered by them, tbh. I see them doing now what was done by countries to get wealthy for centuries.

    Of course, my view is biased by being from India and grown to hate imperialism.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: \"Unsavoury\" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #12 on: October 13, 2017, 09:44 »
    Anything with the name Tinkov attached should be labelled as unsavoury.....  :lol


    http://sport24.lefigaro.fr/cyclisme/tour-de-france/fil-info/oleg-tinkov-defend-sagan-866956

     :-x :shh

    Post Merge: October 13, 2017, 09:52
    Not really too bothered by them, tbh. I see them doing now what was done by countries to get wealthy for centuries.

    Of course, my view is biased by being from India and grown to hate imperialism.

    Why should "former" imperialisms make us turn a blind eye on the current ones?

    Besides, the Kingdom of Bahrain has long been protected by the former British Empire. The current political situation has deep roots in the past.
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  • Ram

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 18:31 »
    It's a fair question, and I have no real answer beyond my bias. Not that I like them, particularly those that export wahabi extremism.

    PS - Feel free to edit it out if inappropriate.
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  • Francois the Postman

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    Re: "Unsavoury" sponsors in cycling
    « Reply #14 on: October 18, 2017, 15:37 »
    Caruut, you bugger!

    When you said you would send me a colour coded excel version of unsavoury sponsors, I didn't expect to wake up to this on my doorstep:





    I can see why people have issues with sponsorship from several sectors, but the only sector that gets my personal fascistoid adrenal glands dripping is that from repressive regimes (directly) and brands strongly related to it (indirectly).

    After globalizing cycling the way it was done, substantial wage increases, and the tremendous rise in operational costs for elite teams that ran in tandem with that, we are now stuck where we are: fishing in a very limited pool of sponsors who, I suspect, keep discovering that returns on investment are questionable to boot and bail out as soon as possible, triggering the next desperate quest to find another sucker.

    I still think of (elite) cycling sponsorship more as pet-projects, charitable donations by someone with a soft spot for cycling near a fat  purse in large organizations that somehow slipped by watchful accountants eyes, more than something with actual value. It's a bleak pov, granted, and possibly coloured by having grown up in places where the stature of cycling has dwindled, not grown. But we are now a good time into the globalization era and it hasn't exactly drilled into a rich seam of exciting Cooking Revolutions, with teams being able to set 'ecological or moral' standards at sponsor-job-interviews.

    As an aside, it baffles me why petroleum companies would want to sponsor acoustic motorbiking, but I am equally baffled why Brits insist on consuming the bakelings they pass off as treats and cake, when French patisserie is only a tunnel away, so I probably don't get people to begin with.

    That we do have a growing amount of national betting organisations backing cycling is another sign of the dire straits we are in. These are increasingly the last remaining state driven vehicles to keep or get ultimately unprofitable but (political) 'worthy' sports on the road. They step in mainly to prevent the wheels coming off from -on balance- the last elite team vaguely recognizable as flying under a given flag and offering a (more) stable and guaranteed route for national talent to get exposure and gain experience at elite level. Or as an agent to build something that wasn't there before and is somehow suddenly politically important to create and unlikely to materialize through market forces alone.

    And to be honest, I am glad they do, as in my eyes, right now, national lotteries are the best hope we have to get some stability and long(er)-term commitment behind our second and third tear teams, without which our global touring circus would become even more a struggling F1 sponsor copy, but robbed at birth from the ability to generate the same exciting noises from the start line or pitlane, or erecting stands and circuits to get some actual income. National lotteries have a different set of value for money outcomes than commercial sponsors, looking at national exposure and development only, with the occasional breakthrough to the very top as a welcome cherry on the cake.

    The scramble to 'save' teams, year after year, is a sure sign the model sucks. But it is what it is, and right now, I take oil company money with open hands. At least it stops them from spending it effectively.

    I think the whole thing needs a good kick up the arse to become properly viable (combining the best of the old with the best of the new with different answers for different regions), and although we had a mini Cookson Revolultion at the UCI, and I like some of the visionary sounds that come out of ASO (the current structure is killing off existing grassroots level and slowly strangling the viability of the sport in -what still is- its heartland), I remain skeptical about the real attraction of our sport to global brands. Which is a real bummer for a sport that has spread its elite thinner over a wider globe, as we are even more dependent on sponsorship than the various ticketed sports that have dedicated arenas.

    I'd love to get to the point where we can get picky about sponsors. But beggars can't be choosers.
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