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The Tour partners renew their sponsorship ... T-Mobile's future unsure again [UPDATE]

Added: tuesday 06 November 2007 at 23:21:00
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    The Tour partners renew their sponsorship ... T-Mobile's future unsure again [UPDATE]While the Tour de France sponsors are extending their contracts little by little, T-Mobile again hesitates whether it will continue in cycling ...

    UPDATE 27 November 2007: T-Mobile has announced it stops sponsoring the cycling team with the same name.

    The good news from the Tour de France sponsors

    On October 24th, the day before the la Tour de France 2008 presentation, Škoda announced it had extended its contract with A.S.O. for the Tour de France (Club du Tour de France level) and other races organised by A.S.O. ... yesterday Sagem Communications was the next in row ...

    Sagem Communications


    Sagem Communications (the part of the company which produces high speed communication products), and more precisely its photo products division (printers, digital photo frames, digital photo printers in shops), became an official partner of the Tour de France rather late for the Tour this year (2007 ; check my article on this dated on 10 June 2007 as well).

    In yesterday's press release one can read that the adventure of the Tour 2007 has been positive for Sagem in terms of international visibility of its brand allowing to improve its notoriety.

    Based on that information it's not really a surprise that Sagem Communications renews its contract (see also the press release on the Tour's website), but in the current context it might however more be seen as a surprise ...
    Indeed, Sagem Communications is currently part of the Safran Group, but this group very recently announced it is selling of the company to an American investor named The Gores Group. It would therefore not really have been a surprise either to see the company waiting to get through this probably quite uncertain period of time before taking such a decision ...

    A.S.O. can therefore probably be quite happy with the renewal of this contract in the current context!

    The contract
    The Sagem logo on the numbers
    The Sagem logo on the numbers during the Tour de France 2007: something we'll thus see again in 2008!

    The contract between A.S.O. and Sagem Communications only covers the Tour de France 2008 and its contents are exactly the same as in 2007 ... this means that three things are covered for Sagem Communications:
    - rights: Sagem Communications can use the Tour de France logo on its products and in promotional activities
    - visibility: Sagem Communications is the official sponsor of the team ranking (every morning the team which leads this ranking - whose riders are wearing a yellow number - get honoured on stage at the start of that day's Tour stage) and its logo will be visible on the rider's number; finally the combined Sagem / Tour de France logo will be visible on the back of the jackets and capes worn by all accredited race photographers
    - public relations: as an official partner Sagem Communications has a stand in the Village Départ and invites its customers and other relations to be at a Tour de France stage as a VIP

    Škoda


    As a reminder: the new contract between Škoda and A.S.O. ...
    The Škoda cars
    The Tour de France organisation's Škoda cars

    Škoda announced on October 24th already that it had extended its contract with A.S.O. (see also the press release on the Tour's website) which not only covers its Tour de France sponsoring, but also the sponsoring of other races A.S.O. organises in France and in Belgium such as Paris-Roubaix. Škoda sponsors the Giro d'Italia, several ProTour teams and UCI.

    Škoda extended its contract with A.S.O. for the 2008 to 2011 period, but its previous contract actually already covered 2008. Škoda however still adds 3 years to its sponsoring contract which is running since 2004.

    Less good news for the T-Mobile cycling team?!

    T-Mobile TeamT-Mobile - through its parent company Deutsche Telekom - already several times questioned itself on whether or not to continue sponsoring the ProTour cycling team with the same name because of the different doping problems the team has seen so far.

    After two doping cases in the team this year (Lorenzo Bernucci in the Vuelta and Patrik Sinkewitz before the Tour de France, but announced Tour de France and at that time a reason for the German TV to stop broadcasting the Tour de France), the team interrupted its 2007 season earlier than initially planned (without participating in Paris-Tours and the Giro of Lombardy in October 2007).
    Deutsche Telekom however had decided and announced to continue its sponsoring in August but Patrik Sinkewitz has shed some light on a few embarrassing things for T-Mobile since ...

    T-Mobile had completely changed the team's management and the way it works since the doping practices in the - then still known as Telekom - team were discovered, but Sinkewitz announcements now seem to indicate that during the Tour de France 2006 blood doping was still possible in the T-Mobile team. The German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper yesterday announced the management team of Deutsche Telekom would meet this week to take a decision on the future of the T-Mobile sponsored cycling team.
    Stefan Althoff, sponsoring manager for the company, would have said that the company could not ignore the recently revealed information and that a new decision should be taken based on the information which is now available.

    Today the team, through its managing director Bob Stapleton, announced that further changes are needed in the sport and that it was now shown the changes the team applied after taking over the team in 2006 (new management, new riders, new medical staff and new anti-doping programme) had been necessary ... but the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung indicates the sponsor still hesitates about the future of its sponsoring activities ...

    In the most positive case, T-Mobile should at least continue its sponsoring of the team until 31 December 2010.

    UPDATE 27 November 2007: but it now turns out T-Mobile is no longer in the most positive case ... indeed, in a press release of the cycling team's website, T-Mobile announces it stops sponsoring the cycling team carrying its name with immediate effect.

    The board of directors of Deutsche Telekom - the owner of T-Mobile, sponsor of the team since 1991 and contractually linked to the team until 2010 - decided to stop its sponsoring following several doping cases in the long history of the team (first known as Telekom and then as T-Mobile). In the press release the company states: 'We arrived at this decision to separate our brand from further exposure from doping in sport and cycling specifically' et 'We have an obligation to our employees, customers and shareholders to focus our attention and resources on our core businesses'.

    On T-Mobile's motivations the press release also says the company no longer wants to promote clean cycling but clean sports in general ... : 'We have worked very hard with the current team management to promote a clean cycling sport but we reached the decision to continue our efforts to rid all sports of doping by applying our resources in other directions. Deutsche Telekom AG wants to make it clear that this action is not based on any disagreement with or misconduct by team management'. It's quite difficult to understand what they really mean by saying this! Maybe Deutsche Telekom (unfortunately) incorrectly thinks doping only exists in cycling ...

    Concerning the future of the team and its riders, the team manager, Bob Stapleton, states: 'We hope to go forward independently with the team to achieve our goals of continued competitive success and being a leader in anti-doping efforts in professional cycling.'
    It remains to be seen whether Neuer Straßen Sport, the company which manages the cycling team, will manage to get a new main sponsor. According to the sports newspaper L'Equipe, the cycling team should for the time being continue under the name Team High Road (confirmed on their website).

    On November 8th, Adidas already decided to stop sponsoring the team as well ...

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Tour de France 2008| Tour de France| Cycling general (except Tour de France)| Marketing | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati

Comments

Currently 1 comments!
  1. Reste à espérer que cet engagement de Sagem Communications au côté du Tour de France sera l'occasion de présenter un vrai plan stratégique Sagem Communications, qui après les différentes annonces serait le bienvenu !

    | Drouet Céline | wednesday 07 November 2007 at 9:51:43

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