HTC-Highroad Face Uncertain Sponsorship Future
June 24, 2011
Professional cycling team HTC-Highroad may be forced to close down after this season due to sponsorship problems. Their current sponsorship deal with HTC is due to run out at the end of the season, and the US-based team is struggling to find potential suitors to replace HTC if they opt not to renew their sponsorship.
Team manager Bob Stapleton said: “If we haven’t secured a sponsor by the end of the Tour de France, we will have to sit down and start considering how to wind down operations.
“The world’s best team, a leader in the sport for the past several years, needs a title partner.”
The team started the 2008 season under the name Highroad.. Sportswear producer Columbia joined as a title sponsor the middle of that season, with telecommunications company HTC joining in 2009. Columbia dropped out after last season, and HTC’s sponsorship deal expires at the end of this year. Negotiations with HTC for an extension are underway.
Stapleton said that cycling presents a unique marketing opportunity for a sponsor that is unrivalled in other sports. He said: “You have valuable naming rights. Sponsors can be on Manchester United’s jersey for a lot of money, but the team is still going to be called Manchester United.
“It’s literally hundreds of thousands of repetitions of your brand name on the internet, on television, and in global media.”