The Tour de France as a Marketing Event

I hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend! My name is Erin Stewart and I will be the VP of BUMKC this year. I’m looking forward to the meetings and events we have coming up this semester. This summer, I’m staying in Boston to take a few classes and work as a marketing intern at a local nonprofit. I’ve also been watching World Cup games and Wimbledon matches whenever I get a chance.

However, my favorite annual sporting event also begins this weekend, the Tour de France (TDF). The Tour is the most prestigious bicycle race, which is three weeks long. The winner is the rider with the fastest overall time. Recently, Lance Armstrong made the event famous for all the wrong reasons. But despite his misdeeds, I still love watching the bikers ride through the picturesque towns of France and over the grueling climbs as they fight for the winning yellow jersey.


The Tour is very much a marketing event with each team having at least one sponsor they are named for, for example the American team Garmin-Sharp, or the British team Sky who produced the winner last year Chris Froome. The TDF is a branding event. Many companies from different countries sponsor teams to get their brand name visibility in the race. Riders will engage in several tactics to gain attention for their sponsor company.


The branding doesn’t end with team sponsorship; bike manufacturers such as Cervélo and Cannondale publicize which teams are using their bikes. For example, Cannondale advertises Peter Sagan of the Liquigas team, winner of the sprinters green jersey last year. As a result of his success, Cannondale has launched a new brand of their bike called the “Green Machine”. When riders win, bike manufacturers are the first to point out what brand of bike they were riding.


Questions have been raised regarding how effective a use of money it is to sponsor a pro cycling team. Many companies have pulled their sponsorships or considered doing so. However, it is clear that the Tour de France is the best place for bike manufacturers to display their new models and market their brand.

To learn more about branding strategies at the TDF this year check out this article from Marketing Week. If you want to get more info about the race as it progresses checkout the official Tour de France website.


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