Monday 18 December 2017

Wheels come off sponsorship

NOW we begin to see the cost, in monetary terms at least, of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

Rabobank has announced it will no longer sponsor professional cycling from the end of this year after the publication of the so-called 'Armstrong report' by the American doping authority USADA.

It is a huge blow to the sport in Holland, which receives around €15m a year from Rabo.

It also demonstrates that a cool business eye will trump sentimental value nearly all the time.

There are as many bikes as people in Holland, but the professional sport's brand is so damaged from doping and drug use that it is not good business to be associated with it.

It makes you wonder why companies have stuck with Ireland in recent years, even though the country's "Celtic Tiger" brand has been shattered.

In truth, though, there is a clear difference between incompetence, however bad it is, and illegality.

Rabo cut their chord to cycling, but we can be thankful more companies haven't done something similar to Ireland.

Irish Independent

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