Monday, February 12, 2007

Lance and Ivan need a sponsor.

So Discovery Channel is dropping it's eponymous cycling team from the company payroll. Oh well, Discovery never seem to hit the nerve that USPS did. But, pending the outcome of the 2007 season, I see this as a big opportunity for a certain Portland based athletics company.

This is purely speculation, but hear me out.

Cycling is expanding it's reach globally faster than any other sport, except maybe basketball. There's talk of ProTour races in Asia, the Middle East, and America. There are only certain brands that can really capitalize on that kind of exposure. T-mobile is probably the only current sponsor that really has an interest in "developing" economies.

So how about you take the little logo of the company that makes the jerseys and make it the big logo of the company that supports the team.

How about Nike Pro Cycling.

Think of that, swooshes up the side of Basso's shorts as he storms up Plateau de Beille.

Here's some reasons it would work:
- Lance and Phil Knight are obviously pretty close. Lance was surrounded by Nike athletes like Hicham El Guerroj and Alberto Salazar when he ran the NYC Marathon, he's still got strong ties to the company. They named their athletics building at the campus after him.
- Nike already has the infrastructure. Nike's got a huge stable of Olympic level runners training under sponsorship. They supply these guys with coaches, facilities, trainers, altitude facilities etc. The only thing Nike would have to buy is a trailer to move the bikes.
- Nike would take cycling sponsorship to the highest level. Nike has, inarguably, the most elite club in all of sports. Stack up their Gold medal winners, Basketball players, Soccer players, all their other Olympians, Jordan, and Tiger Woods and Lance. Pro-cyclists would love to be part of the Nike club. In Europe, cycling is still often considered an old-fashioned "working-class" sport. One sponsor cold change that.
- Nike is active in basically every market in the world. Davitamon (owner of Predictor), the Belgian Lottery (Lotto) or Credit Agricole don't get a ton of exposure in Malaysia or Qatar, I mean the cmpanies themselves are pretty Euro-centric. Nike would be the most universally recognized team in the game.
- When peolpe think of basketball, they think Nike, soccer Nike and Adidas. Cycling? Show some swooshes to the 200,000 lined up on Alpe d'Huez.
- Need a star? Basso's the guy. Looks like he'll get off scott-free for the Puerto thing. He's a damn-handsome man, a family guy, and he did scary things at the Giro last year. He'll play well all over the world. And don't forget Hincapie, he's got a couple years left of being America's favorite Roubaix casualty.

The one thing that could kill this is the doping issue. If Basso ends up in trouble watch the whole team close down whether Lance runs it or not. Bruyneel has to be the guy that makes sure the tests get passed, if you know what I mean.

Like I said, I just made all of this up. It does sound pretty good. If anyone knows peoople at Nike, tell them about the site. If Nike wants to pay me to help get things started, I work cheap. Get in touch with me through the site.


Anonymous said...

Great idea!
There is a reasonable chance of this presuming that Operation Puerto clear Basso. In my perfect world, Landis is cleared and joins this team and gets his vindication.

Anonymous said...

there's something wrong with you my friend.