USA Today have questioned the wisdom of the United States Postal Service’s newly renewed three year sponsorship deal of the double Tour winning squad of Lance Armstrong.
Using their own calculations that the deal must be worth around $25 million over the three years, they’ve suggested that such sponsorship is a waste of money for a company already facing strong opposition from Federal Express and UPS. The public company has suffered a revenue fall as letter mail lessens in the face of e-mail proliferation and continued the sponsorship deal to gain a higher international profile for freight forwarding.
The teams owners, Tailwind Sports, responded “the sponsorship of Armstrong and the team helped increase brand awareness on a global basis and has become a rallying point for the service’s 800,000 employees.” Unsuprisingly the director of sales at USPS also defended the move, “The Postal Service’s sponsorship of the cycling team has had a dramatic impact on many facets of our organization’s business and culture. Through the sponsorship, the Postal Service has been able to convey its attributes to the world.”
How succesful sponsorship really is, has always been a grey area, but with the impact Armstrong’s success has had on cycling in America it’s certainly been a great deal for cycling as a whole. Seeing that household brand awareness is the holy grail of marketing it’s also fair to say they couldn’t have asked for much better coverage for their cash.
Just be glad that UPS didn’t step into the deal – that brown would make a truly vile team strip.