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I guess at least with a year's notice there is time for riders to look for new contracts (assuming Brailsford can't find the funding to continue the team). On the plus side, if he's still going strong in 2020 it would be fascinating to see what Froome is capable of without the Sky train. A Froome in his twilight years who has to fend for himself and take more risks could just help improve his popularity in a similar way to Contador's last few years.
Another reason to dislike Sky.
Seriously though, it would be nice if this forced cycling to adopt a better revenue model. Teams should get a portion of the TV revenue. There is to much disparity in team budgets and the number of companies that are willing and able to bankroll a team is probably shrinking.
maybe the current Ironman world champion </pink> (Prince of Bahrain)
There's no pink there. He funds the Bahrain-Merida team. They are certain to be competing for the Sky riders as they come off contract.
yes, I know. The pink was for "current Ironman world champion"
Will this cutting ties influence broadcasting of the cycling? I mean, I assume sky is sky sport and that they amped up the coverage with thier boys dominating all day, not just tour De France but year round... That's less fun to broadcast when it's other sponsors
Its a shame that even after 10 years of prime sponsorship and top end racing without positives, it becomes another drug doubt story opportunity in the press. 10 years is a nice round number so could have been the original plan, and maybe the new sky investors aren't as big bike race enthusiasts.
Did the Sky article say someone signed a 5 year contract just in October? That would be an awful chain of events
What about British Rail? Do they have a team?
Dominate year round? Not the cobbled classics or Ardenne classics. So the spring is out. Not the fall classics. Not the WC or Olympic RR. Wiggins and Froome do well in TT when they care. Other than that it's Grand Tours and GT tuneup stage races.
Has the team picked up a new sponsor? Does the new sponsor have "deep" pockets too? I'm shocked I didn't hear of this earlier, although my checking in on cycling news has dropped the last 5 years. And in the "off season" I dont think I've looked at cyclingnews once since mid Oct.
-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology
I think they'll have a very hard time matching their Sky sponsorship $ which is way above market average. It was a lucrative setup.
The big names will be fine. Atleast the young big names. It's riders 19-23 (and the low level workers) who really get "pinched" if teams truly do fold completely.
-USAT L2 coach, M.S. Exercise Physiology
My opinions on this:
- Froome is a great GC rider but he has certainly benefited from having one of the greatest collection of domestiques ever assembled. Froome is not going to have million Euro guys getting him bottles anymore and his results will suffer.
- I'm uncertain of his contract terms, but it's likely that G Thomas is gone. Only a team with a massive budget can support both him and Froome. Someone is going to snap G up.
- Brailsford will pull out all the stops to keep Bernal. Bernal's on a five year contract but I think losing Sky as a sponsor puts him back in play. The guy is the future of GC and Brailsford is a Grand Tour GC guy. His top priority will be to keep Bernal.
- The Tour might actually become watchable again. One can only hope.
I would bet money against it. More cycling sponsors are leaving the sport than are coming in. Every year there are UCI level teams that are either desperately searching for a new sponsor, folding, or combining with other teams. Which then leaves room for minor sponsors or pro continental teams to step in. You never see headlines that the biggest teams get "bought out" by big sponsors in a bidding war because they are such great investments.
Factor in that Sky's budget is astronomical, they do have a few riders tied up long term, and that they are built with a very niche focus on Grand Tours. Not ever sponsor is going to find that appealing, especially when you consider national interests. Highly unlikely that a major company with strong roots and customer base in Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, or Germany are going to want to back Froome, Thomas, and Bernal as their poster boys.
My guess is that after 2019, Sky will be dismantled as they are today. Another team will step in, and the riders will get picked up. Very similar to what happened to Tinkoff.
They're the most expensive team in the world, with a budget so much bigger than everyone else that it's produced a years-long call for some sort of (always ill-defined) cycling salary cap. They're also the best team in the world, and with not only Froome, Thomas, and Bernal, but also maybe the best collection of grand tour domestiques in the history of cycling, they have the tools to dominate grand tours for years to come.
If you step in as Sky's title sponsor, you're not buying a baseball team, you're buying the Yankees. And not just any Yankees team, but the 1920s era Murderers Row Yankees. Or the 1990s Chicago Bulls, or the 1980s Showtime Lakers.
The market for "strap your corporate logo on a basically guaranteed Tour de France winner" has to be a little different than the market for a regular world tour team.
But there are also good reasons to think there won't be a huge line of sponsors waiting their turn to pony up $40+ million for Brailsford. First, nobody else's budget is even close to Sky's. Anyone who might want to step in as the new Sky sponsor could have stepped in last year to sponsor some other team and spent $40 million (or $50 million or $60 million) to put together their own superteam to win the Tour. (They would have had to compete with Sky, but they could have tried and they didn't.) And Sky's press obviously hasn't been all positive, between the doping scandals and many cycling fans' antipathy toward Sky's predictable, race-strangling tactics.
This is uncharted waters, and, unless someone's in meetings with Brailsford, it seems impossible to know what this market looks like.