article by Steve Maxwell and Kristin Labonte
It’s hard to think of two sports that have less in common than NASCAR motor racing and professional cycling. But, as pointed out in a recent article, the way in which individual teams are structured, managed, and financed is quite similar in both sports. NASCAR teams and pro cycling teams are both heavily reliant upon external sponsorship dollars for their success and economic survival. A critical key to economic success and long-term stability in both sports is the ability to identify, develop, and carefully maintain long-term and mutually beneficial sponsor relationships.
NASCAR and its teams have developed sophisticated business management systems which can offer some important lessons and insights for cycling. The Outer Line recently teamed up with Breaking Limits – a strategic consulting, communications, and marketing agency heavily engaged in the motorsports industry – to analyze these similarities, the sponsorship models developed by NASCAR, and how they might be applied to cycling.
The two parties have released a new report, entitled “Pro Cycling Sponsorship: Lessons from NASCAR.” In a detailed discussion of the sophisticated marketing and activation programs developed in NASCAR over the past two decades, the authors draw parallels between the two sports and provide an extensive set of recommendations and guidelines with the intent of arming professional cycling with sponsorship-savvy strategies and tactics. These guidelines are described under ten major headings, which are briefly highlighted below:
Applying the lessons from NASCAR’s sponsorship approach to delivering value in pro cycling may require a shift in thinking – and it may imply a new paradigm for riders, teams, and event promoters. However, there is a great opportunity for cycling and pro teams to reinvent themselves – to focus not necessarily on just being competitive sports teams, but to concentrate more on being successful businesses. Cycling teams should learn to think of themselves as a business just like any other – where expenses are incurred to produce a product which is then sold at a premium to create revenue. Winning will always be important, but building strong, sustainable, and mutually beneficial partnerships with sponsoring firms is the surest way to ensure long-term stability in the sport and mutual success
Download the full report from The Outer Line.
The Outer Line
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