Verizon isn’t the only company with reservations about sponsoring a major event. The NYT reports today that cycling’s biggest event, the Tour de France, is having a problem finding sponsorship thanks to the drug scandal embroiling some of the sport’s top athletes, including last year’s winner, American Floyd Landis.
The article goes on to say that the event has added trouble from the loss of its one true superstar, Lance Armstrong. Perhaps just as important as sponsorship dollars is the need for cycling to raise its level of brand awareness. Drug scandals plague other sports, but without the dire consequences (cycling events have been cancelled due to lack of sponsors). It’s now becoming obvious that people were watching the Tour de Lance rather than the Tour de France.
Cycling will never draw fans the way that soccer or baseball does, but organizers need to handle this doping scandal expeditiously and move on to the business of raising a positive and enticing profile for the sport.