UK telecommunications company Sky are pulling their support from the team at the end of 2019 that has dominated six of the last seven editions of the Tour de France. Love them or hate them, Sky have had an immense influence on cycling and their reach surely makes them enticing to various potential title sponsors. They also have long-term contracts signed with the likes of Chris Froome, Gianni Moscon, Geraint Thomas, Egan Bernal and Michal Kwiatkowski. Not many companies have the marketing budget to fill the gaping deficit that will be left when Sky pulls out at the end of 2019 but we have some modest proposals we’d like to put toward as potential new sponsors.
Lysol is a worldwide brand of cleaning and disinfecting products that are part of a multi-billion dollar parent company with the marketing budget to sponsor the cycling team. The brand could wipe clean the slate left by the previous sponsor giving them kit to match their products that are found in households throughout the world to clean up dirty messes. After heavy criticism after Gianni Moscon’s innapropriate behaviour to other cyclists, the TUE scandal, the jiffy bag saga and Salbutamol affair the brand could do worse than to signal a new start for the cycling team than by wiping the slate clean of a somewhat muddied past. If their products can kill 99.9% of bacteria, just image what they can do to the image of a cycling team.
Team Sky have already given a number of big pharma companies a lot of free PR for their products including the makers of Tramadol, Salbutamol and the decongested Fluimucil which was allegedly in the jiffy bag delivered to Bradley Wiggins at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. Team Sky could also use a big pharma companies bookkeeping skills to use helping them better keep track of their medical records and ensure that packages of testosterone don’t mistakenly get ordered to their headquarters. The move wouldn’t be unprecedented in cycling, after all Amgen sponsored the Tour of California and they are the makers of EPO.
A Murdoch property like Sky, funding the worlds best cycling team could be a brilliant move to improve the American news network’s image and profile internationally. It could also be a great way to get back at Comcast who outbid 20th Century Fox for Sky with a $38 billion bid in September. With the naming rights of an international cycling team, the network could influence a wider audience than the 65+ demographic that currently is the median age for the network’s viewer and make the team more popular in the U.S. where the team has had success in the past. With shows like Fox and Friends, Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity, the team would also have many staunch defenders at their beck and call to fix up PR disasters like took place after testosterone patches were accidentally sent to their Manchester headquarters.
After former teammate Floyd Landis got into professional cycling sponsoring the Canadian registered Floyd’s Pro Cycling team with money won in a whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong, the Texan could make a big statement by taking up the naming rights of Team Sky. The move could help the stripped seven Tour de France race winners image in cycling and his podcast has proven that he is still immensely popular. Armstrong says he has a lot of money after becoming an early investor in Uber so he could put that money to use helping the outfit dominate the Tour de France just like he did in the 2000s. Armstrong could utilize his cancer foundation Livestrong to give the team a greater purpose beyond just bike racing. The Sky’s efforts to support wildlife and ocean foundations in past years has been admirable and effective.