Friday, September 7, 2012

Sponsorship Matters

Yesterday morning, Wisconsin-based Trek came up big for American cyclocross by announcing its sponsorship of the US Gran Prix series.  Trek’s patronage guarantees that there will be a series this year, something that looked very doubtful earlier this week when it became evident that former title sponsor Exergy wasn’t paying the bills.  It’s good business for Trek to get behind the USGP, especially since the series kicks off Sep. 22-23 in Sun Prairie, just 11 miles from Trek’s headquarters in Waterloo.  Also rallying behind the USGP were Clif Bar, SRAM, and WD-40, which is launching a new line of cycling-specific products.

The USGP is the premier cyclocross series in the country, attracting the best American riders and even some top European pros.  It would have been a shame to let it die.  For the last couple of seasons I have really enjoyed watching live Internet video of the races.  I haven’t been to any USGP events in person, but I know people who have as spectators and as amateur racers.  Those of us who enjoy the series owe a big Thank You to the corporations that stepped in to save it, and we can show our gratitude at the cash register.

Sponsorship is everywhere in bicycle racing, whether you’re watching the USGP, the Tour de France, or just wearing the jersey of your neighborhood bike shop in a local event.  It’s easy to forget that all of those logos represent businesses that have helped to offset the costs of the sport we love.  Well, today I’m proud to say that there’s a SRAM drivetrain on my Trek mountain bike, that I use WD-40 for a bunch of things around the house and garage, and that Clif Bars go with me to every race and long training ride.

USA Cycling also has a group of corporate sponsors and I try to patronize them when I can.  Earlier this year, for example, I rented a car from Hertz for a business trip.  By using my USA Cycling member discount, the cost I passed on to my employer was lower than the corporate rate I would have gotten from my company’s preferred provider!

And there are other companies that support cycling in its various forms.  Cyclocross is dominating my thoughts this week, so I decided to drop $20 on a 1-year subscription to Cyclocross Magazine.  If the magazine’s circulation increases, then more advertisers will spend more money and the whole cycling economy will benefit.

I don’t have the deep pockets of a corporate sponsor, but I can help to make a difference.  So can you.  Please support the companies that support cycling.  Eat that big bowl of Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal, book that room at the Holiday Inn, “Sell or Buy with Brittany Nigh” and, above all, show some love for your local bike shop.

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