Thursday 27 November 2008 at 23h58

update 7 December: the team will continue!
After the German TV channel ARD's decision to no longer broadcast the Tour de France and the cancellation of the Tour of Germany in 2009, it's now up to the German team Milram to be threatened to disappear because of a decision of its sponsor to maybe stop sponsoring the team!

The team is sponsored by the German company Nordmilch which uses this sponsoring to promote its European brand for milk products, Milram.

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The effect of media exposure

Immediately after ARD's announcement to stop broadcasting the Tour de France on TVfootnote, Nordmilch announced it was to reassess the value of its sponsorship and that it would do so after having estimated the complete impact on the advertising effect regarding its Milram brand in 2009.

The reason for this reassessment was clearly the disappearance of the media exposure of the brand because the company announced that some incorrigible persons succeeded in enforcing a cutback of the media coverage and that millions of cycling fans will have to suffer from this.

During the Tour of Germany however, the team had shown a new kit which would probably become the team's new kit for 2009 and the new colours of the team bus. The new design would give a better visibility of the brand and its products because the kit and the bus showed a clear link with milk products by using a blueish cow skin.
The new Milram cycling kit The new colours of the Milram team bus
The new colours of the Milram team, photos Roth / Team Milram

Today the sponsor answered on rumours about a possible stop of its team sponsoring through a press release. In this extremely short press release the company confirms it indeed is currently revising its cycling sponsorship and that there will be no further statements regarding this topic at the moment.

Officially the company still has a sponsor contract until the end of 2010 (of about 8 million euros a year). According to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung however, the company is studying ways to get rid of this contract before that time.

Linus Gerdemann, newcomer in the team in 2009, was surprised when the newspaper questioned him about this news: Milram hasn't told me anything about this. Anyway, I have a two year contract so I'll continue to prepare my season as before. The Dutch team manager Gerry van Gerwen, said in the same article he was not aware of a possible withdrawal of its sponsor.

If Milram stops its sponsoring this could well be the end of the last German cycling team (after the Gerolsteiner team disappeared at the end of the past season) ... Would the disappearance of German teams lead to a total disappearance of cycling in German media?? To be continued!

UPDATE 7 December: and the story was indeed to be continued becauset on 5 December Nordmilch announced through a press release that after a thorough analysis and discussion with Velocity GmbH (the operating company of the team, owned by team manager Gerry van Gerwen) they had decided to continue their sponsoring and again start the 2009 season as Team Milram.

footnote: ARD's withdrawal doesn't necessarily mean that German people can no longer watch the Tour de France on TV because Eurosport is widely available on cable in Germany and continues to broadcast la Grande Boucle. Furthermore, the European Broadcasting Union's president Fritz Pleitgen told early November that ARD has a contractual obligation to broadcast the Tour de France at least until 2011.

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Cycling general (except Tour de France) | Marketing | Doping

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