Who could be team Armstrong’s next big sponsor after Astana?

UPDATE: The Astana team protested its salary situation with Astana during Friday’s stage of the Giro d’Italia by fading out the Astana logo. All but one rider did so — that rider is from Kazakhstan. Read the story

Photo by The City Project

Photo by The City Project

So we’ve heard the news recently that the team Lance Armstrong rides on, Astana, is in severe financial crisis — it reportedly hasn’t paid its riders — and that Lance himself is considering taking an ownership role with the team and soliciting new sponsors. (Lance himself isn’t even being paid to ride for the team right now. He’s doing it mostly to help promote his Livestrong global cancer fight initiative, and because he still has competitive juices.)

The team has until May 31 to rectify its situation or else be suspended, and what’s needed is a huge infusion of money to keep everything going, something in the tens of millions of dollars.

So I thought I’d have some fun and speculate on possible sponsors, and why they will or won’t work:

Subway

Why: Hey, the fresh-sandwich chain is all about being healthy, so it’s a perfect marriage for Lance the health nut and pro cycling in general. Can you imagine Lance and Jared doing commercials together? Why not: Can you imagine Jared in biking spandex, or Lance and his longtime team manager Johan Bruyneel singing the “Five…five dollar…five dollar footlong” jingle?

ESPN/ABC

Why: Discovery Channel had sponsored a previous incarnation of Lance’s team in an attempt to market its name around the world. I think it worked; besides Discovery Channel, there’s Travel Channel, The Learning Channel, etc. and I assume it couldn’t do all this unless it was doing well financially, which could be attributed partially to its sponsorship of Lance’s cycling team. Well, media companies aren’t doing very well in today’s economy, so if I were to pick one that would take the plunge, it would be ESPN/ABC. ESPN seems to be a household name, and if it wants to get a larger share of the world sports market, this is the way to go. ESPN is all about athletics, and Lance is one of the best athletes in the world. And plus, ABC is associated with Disney, a company that’s all about being family-friendly and positive inspiration. Lance is pretty much the same thing. Why not: Sponsorship clause might include guest appearances by Lance on Hannah Montana. (Lance’s daughters might enjoy that, actually.)

Macintosh

Why: Macs are hip, they’re making money, and having their names on bike jerseys could be a coup for them on their march toward worldwide marketing/domination. Why not: Lance uses a BlackBerry.

Trek Bicycles

Why: Lance is synonymous with Trek, and with the economy reeling, this is a chance for Trek to really make an impact and push for bicycle-riding as both an economic and environmental benefit. Why not: Lance and the team race mainly in Europe, where bicycle riding is already a major form of transportation, and people in the United States already pretty much equate Lance with Trek Bikes and it still hasn’t made much of a difference in their bicycling habits.

Twitter

Why: Lance is one of the biggest Twitterers out there, and if Twitter’s goal is to keep expanding and be used in all corners of the globe, getting its name on a jersey Lance is wearing can do nothing but good for its cause. Why not: Twitter still hasn’t made any money yet, and despite lots of venture capital, it still probably can’t afford the asking price a sponsorhip will need. Also, if Lance doesn’t do well enough in his comeback from retirement, we don’t want to associated him with the fail whale.

Ultimately, of course, I hope something works out for Lance and the team, and that they can continue their great success this year and beyond! Thanks for reading.

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~ by davidllee on May 15, 2009.

One Response to “Who could be team Armstrong’s next big sponsor after Astana?”

  1. If your gonna speculate about potential sponsors, how about Starbucks – Lance loves his coffee or WebMD

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