Sky to end Team Sky sponsorship

Didn’t see this coming.

One scandal too many?

Biggest reason is Comcast’s takeover of Sky. Apparently cycling sponsorship was an obsession of James Murdoch, and the new accountants have probably decided that it’s not worth the ROI.

Hard to see who’s big enough to offer that kind of budget though - to get value for money you’d need to be in every market that cycling is watched on TV (e.g. China), so it’d have to be a major worldwide brand.

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Not so much the scandal I think, just ROI type of thing and they have pretty much won everything they wanted to win.

McLaren is teaming up with Bahrain-Merida from 2019 onwards by the way

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May be a blessing if it means a team with a smaller budget = more in line with the other teams.

Ideally there would be more money all around, but that is simply not happening, and the financial advantage of Sky hurts the sport (at least at the Grand Tour level).


It’s good for competition at the grand tour level, not so good, if like me you enjoy seeing a British* winner every year.

*don’t go there :kenya:

This has been on the cards for a while, and pretty predictable given Comcast’s takeover of Sky. I can’t see them finding a sponsor prepared to back them the way Sky has. I fear it will be the end of this team.

Reading between the lines in their open letter, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of riders being given the go ahead to speak to other teams before the TdF when Sky will make a further announcement about their future. I can see some of the big hitters struggling to find teams willing to fund their salary. But, for the competitiveness of the sport Sky leaving is a good thing.


Froome to move to Team Wiggins? Maybe not… :grin:

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Didn’t G and Froomey just sign two or three year contracts with Sky?

I wonder what the get out clauses say?

On this topic, the always excellent The Inner Ring blog (a must read if you’re into pro cycling):


I believe so as well as Egan Bernal (sp?) signed a five year deal.

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Thanks Sete for the link, interesting to read that Sky is more than just a sponsor.

My favorite blog, bar none.

This writing was on the wall as soon as Comcast took over Sky fwiw.

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Having been involved in sponsorship discussions before, ROI is no where near as important as many seem to think. It’s an important part, but sponsorship tends to be about the passion of individuals in companies. The Sky sponsorship was James Murdoch’s passion project. Given that it was a completely negligible part of Sky’s (the company, not the team) marketing budget any potential financial ROI was essentially meaningless.
My worry with a long term big sponsor pulling out of the sport is that it tends to hurt the smaller and weaker teams more (and this is something that has been played out many times before in pro-cycling). Why sponsor a small team when there is the opportunity to jump on board with a big successful team (an opportunity that didn’t really exist before)? New potential sponsors will be attracted to the new big opportunity rather than smaller teams, and existing sponsors can end up jumping ship.
If new sponsors don’t come in, then a lot of quality riders will be moving team, meaning that there will be fewer places for new young riders to come through and take and more riders at the bottom end will not have their contracts renewed.


I think until cycling moves to a revenue stream model like all other major sports, it’s never going to be stable. It has to wean itself off sponsorship.


This is true but very difficult to achieve as teams can’t charge an entry fee and don’t have the infrastructure of many other team sports.

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Well, the thing is, they can, in the form of revenue from the events. It’s not a ticket fee, but it’s all the rights and other revenue raised by the events. Until the stuff like TV rights and advertising revenues get shared across the WT like every other major sport, I don’t see anyway to reform cycling.

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In theory that is a good idea, but the reality is that the viewing numbers for almost the entire race season are pathetic - certainly not enough to make a material difference in terms of funding teams. Only one event on the whole calendar can be demonstrated to be reliably and consistently profitable and that the Tour. Almost every other event, even major events like the classics, actually lose money. ASO use the tour to finance the other events they put on - none of which would stand on their own feet at their current level without that cross financing from the revenues from the Tour.
If the TV revenues had to be shared, then i doubt that many races would continue as their just wouldn’t be the money available to put them on. E.g. major races like Paris-Nice lose ASO money and don’t get significant TV revenues, so would not continue.

Saw this coming when Comcast bought Sky. Comcast makes my life miserable with Cable and Internet, now they are ruining the sport I love. Switching to internet TV when my deal ends! Haha

How will we know what the new marginal gain is after 2019!

But in all seriousness I’ve been a Sky fan since Cav went there in 2012, and stayed a fan after he left. I hope the find a new sponsor.

I’ve been following pro cycling for only about seven years, but it’s pretty clear to me it is a sport that:

. Makes little money to all involved, with the exception of a literal handful of riders
. Is painfully boring to watch on TV (for most people, maybe not for those who are here)
. Is made of teams in a constant state of financial crisis and/or desperate for sponsorship $
. Has not recovered from the doping scandals, and probably never will
. Is way too Eurocentric

I think the fact that pro cycling even exists as it is today (with the second and third “divisions”) is a feat.

The only wrinkle is Sky’s financial dominance. Î always thought the solution would be a salary cap, but apparently the problem has taken care of itself.



Completely agree but the event organisers are unlikely to shift much on this anytime soon. As things stand WT teams pay to enter the events.