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Sponsored Teams

ProssPross Posts: 25,508
edited April 2012 in Amateur race
A clubmate of mine was having a bit of a rant the other day about the apparent upsurge in small sponsored racing teams taking part in local races. He wasn't talking about proper 'pro' teams but rather some moderately successful 2nd cats who are getting provided with kit to race with the name of a local bike shop or similar.

His rant was on the basis that these teams are taking (possibly the best) riders away from local clubs, are often dominating the top 10 in races but generally do not organise any races themselves or put anything back into the local club scene. They also take up places in the limited races in the area that are nearly always over-subscribed. His suggestion is that these teams should be banned from local races in the hope that it will discourage riders joining them helping local clubs to keep hold of riders (it might also encourage the sponsor to back an established club rather than setting up their own 'team' as used to be the norm).

Does anyone else think these types of small sponsored 'racing teams' are taking away from the sport without giving anything back? I am thinking about promoting a road race for my club next season and think that I will determine who gets in, if there is an over-subscribed field, by giving priority as follows:-

1. Local (Welsh Cycling) clubs that promote races themselves.
2. Clubs from other divisions that promote races themselves.
3. Riders from other Welsh 'clubs'.
4. Riders from other BC affiliated 'clubs'
5. Private members / sponsored 'teams'
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Posts

  • estampidaestampida Posts: 1,008
    Err,

    Would the answer be that the local shops should sponsor the local teams, I mean they are in the business of selling and repairing bikes. Any good riders that were in the club would get a good discount, above the standard membership ..... and the clubs are advertising their goods

    the local cycle clubs manage the teams and racing as they are in control of training and are aware of any issues with riders fitness ect - if they have a team that keeps wining they may turn a profit and plough that into the youth talent scheme

    but do clubs provide the correct insurance for membership have a deal with a local sports masseuse that help them out ?, do bike shops give the same level of care ?, its just down to free parts after that i guess

    but the plucking talent does seem greedy or shoe horning a rider into a limited place race, but the lbs needs support and maybe no one has ever tried to tie a shop and a club up. What about a cycle club starting a shop ?, attacking on 2 fronts might not make them happy but they might have a rethink.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Riding for such a team, all I can say is that ours is intimately tied with a local club. Up this way at least a lot of the smaller race teams do organise races anyway.

    By excluding these teams from your races you may end up with a pretty mediocre field.
    More problems but still living....
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,508
    estampida wrote:
    Err,

    Would the answer be that the local shops should sponsor the local teams, I mean they are in the business of selling and repairing bikes. Any good riders that were in the club would get a good discount, above the standard membership ..... and the clubs are advertising their goods

    the local cycle clubs manage the teams and racing as they are in control of training and are aware of any issues with riders fitness ect - if they have a team that keeps wining they may turn a profit and plough that into the youth talent scheme

    but do clubs provide the correct insurance for membership have a deal with a local sports masseuse that help them out ?, do bike shops give the same level of care ?, its just down to free parts after that i guess

    but the plucking talent does seem greedy or shoe horning a rider into a limited place race, but the lbs needs support and maybe no one has ever tried to tie a shop and a club up. What about a cycle club starting a shop ?, attacking on 2 fronts might not make them happy but they might have a rethink.

    Many clubs have sponsorship from local shops, my own included.

    Amerferanga, the cases that raised the rant are teams set up completely independently of any established club. There have always been some teams of invited riders based around clubs but this is a step further - just a sponsor cherry picking riders to publicise their shop / product and no other involvement in the sport. Obviously you expect it at the top level races but this is in Regional level events, there's still plenty of decent riders at clubs to keep the level high without these teams at the moment though.
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    I don't think you should distinguish between clubs that don't promote and teams that don't promote they're just the same really. If they don't promote they don't promote, but otherwise yes, giving preference to promoting organisations makes sense as that what gives you the chance to race when you're not promoting.

    I would absolutely defend the right of the organiser to select the field on whatever category they want, and would encourage promoting the sport as part of that selection criteria. The real problem is still really that the majority of the work can only be done by a couple of people. Getting out marshalls is often really easy (certainly pretty easy for us with over 400 members) but the bulk of the organising is outside that and can't easily be shared. It would be nice to promote more races commensurate with the size of the club, but as you say all the "teams" who are happy to just pay more to race rather than promote discourage that.

    Both the two leagues in the south east charge "clubs" who don't promote more to enter the league/races, but it doesn't seem to be an encouragement to promote, they just pay the extra fees.

    Mind you in selecting a field by anything other than First come first served, I suspect you will get a lot of abuse sent your way. Other organisers appear to, sadly.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Oh and in the example of Amaferanga, the races can simply be joint promotions between the "team" and the club, as that's what they really are presumably.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • ban them from racing? im part of a team and i WOULDN'T be happy if i was stopped from riding a course which i have ridden for 3 years simply because of who im part of.

    some teams actually do host races, look at team swift!.
    Coveryourcar.co.uk RT Tester
    north west of england.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Bit of jealousy by the rider I think :D
    What about private member then, by your criteria a private m,ember not in any club would never race.Not everyone wants to be part of a "club".
    I prefer to ride for a "team" than a club,most club riders whenracing dont race as a team, especially down your way :D
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    What about private member then, by your criteria a private m,ember not in any club would never race.Not everyone wants to be part of a "club".

    Not everyone wants to stand by the side of the road marshalling in the freezing cold.
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    My local club focuses in TT's so it was much better for me to join a small shop team with other racers...why should I be penalised because I want to race with team mates and not TT?
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    It's perfectly fair to discriminate in favour of teams or clubs who promote events - effectively that is what many road race leagues do already. I'd do it myself if it was a simple process - but it's not because as has already been mentioned some small teams do promote races and some rather large clubs do not - or just promote the odd circuit race which hardly counts.

    Personally I do think the practice of small sponsored teams taking riders is harmful to the sport - it tends to draw experienced riders away from clubs and means that clubs have less motivation to say promote higher cat road races (as most higher cats don't ride for the kind of clubs that promote). It also takes good riders away from the kind of clubs that are typically doing a lot of youth coaching - so you've got less experience filtering down to the kids.

    Having said that I've nothing against individuals who ride for or organise small teams and I can see why in some circumstances they'd do that - I might even do it myself in a different situation - I just think the system would be better if is discouraged the practice of sponsored teams below say elite or at least first category level. For me stronger long established clubs would be better for the sport than short lived sponsored teams - though yes there will be exceptions on both sides.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • xixangxixang Posts: 328
    Personally I do think the practice of small sponsored teams taking riders is harmful to the sport - it tends to draw experienced riders away from clubs and means that clubs have less motivation to say promote higher cat road races (as most higher cats don't ride for the kind of clubs that promote). It also takes good riders away from the kind of clubs that are typically doing a lot of youth coaching - so you've got less experience filtering down to the kids.

    +1

    my club and a couple of other smaller clubs in the area have been decimated by a couple of local (and not so local) bike shops setting up teams and cherry picking the riders they are pally with/would do well for advertising. The result being that the kids/youths that are left behind and were looking at road racing with the seniors (once they move to jnr) have now lost their impetus with no one (or in my clubs case just me) to look up to or encourage/mentor them. Its also meant the club now finds it difficult to find new senior members as there is an insufficient senior core left to attract new people, as they see whats left as a "youth and parent" only club and so go elsewhere. Any decent juniors that do happen to crop up end up getting tempted away by the lure of free/cheap kit and supposed "kudos" of being in a team.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    The thing with racing for a club as opposed to a team though is that it's every many for himself still with the club. Some people like that, some don't. Personally it really p!sses me off to have selfish club mates who'll happily chase you down if you're in a break.
    More problems but still living....
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    amaferanga wrote:
    The thing with racing for a club as opposed to a team though is that it's every many for himself still with the club. Some people like that, some don't. Personally it really p!sses me off to have selfish club mates who'll happily chase you down if you're in a break.

    It appears to be every man for himself for some teams too, however certainly clubs are probably worse for this - however are 2/3rd cat "teams" really compensating riders enough that it's not still essentially individuals paying their own way? Our club ends up paying back something like 20% of entry fees to the racers, 'cos that's essentially the problem, do you really want to pay to enter and then be forced to do nothing. It's very rare in our club to have a club mate chase you down - although there is the occasional selfish riding, and even more of lots of guys all wanting to save themselves and everyone else in the race looking at the large representation from your club and expecting you to bring back the break.

    It is in fact one of the big reasons I don't race at the moment - but I just don't see the lower cat teams being any better with this regard - groups of clubmates certainly do act as a team, it's just not unaminous.

    I actually think the junior riders would do better on a team, that is actually interested in being a team, since you're less likely to convince the mid thirties guy that being anything but selfish is really helpful if that's not their nature - but with a group of juniors it's much more likely as they will be aiming to progress to where it's required.

    Tom Dean Sure not everyone wants to do it - that's why when the sport needs it, giving preferential treatment to those that do makes sense.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    jibberjim wrote:
    Tom Dean Sure not everyone wants to do it - that's why when the sport needs it, giving preferential treatment to those that do makes sense.

    Sorry I wasn't clear - this was exactly my point!
  • amaferanga wrote:
    The thing with racing for a club as opposed to a team though is that it's every many for himself still with the club. Some people like that, some don't. Personally it really p!sses me off to have selfish club mates who'll happily chase you down if you're in a break.


    I would love to ride for a proper team that will work together, in the lower cat races it would make such a difference, and I certainly dont think you can blanket punish people that think similarly. Punish people that don't help at races by all means, but it is hard as many people might help out at a 2nd claim club yet race for a team which might not promote...should they be punished?
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,508
    Bit of jealousy by the rider I think :D
    What about private member then, by your criteria a private m,ember not in any club would never race.Not everyone wants to be part of a "club".
    I prefer to ride for a "team" than a club,most club riders whenracing dont race as a team, especially down your way :D

    Definately not that. I said in my OP that I would place private members down the list in over-subscribed events too. If a team promotes races then they would be classed in the same way as clubs that promote. From a quick check of the teams in the race that prompted the rant I can't see any of them mentioning promoting their own events.

    When we have all our decent riders riding our club can work well as a team. We've struggle last year and so far this year but in 2010 were very good at controlling races.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    Saw this thread after I posted my own, Pross have you been reading my mind? :lol:

    Completely agree about the small teams thing and the way that clubs are decimated. It's even worse in women's racing, except that they are even more fickle and flock to the latest greatest team every year. In fact, I have seen posts on FB saying stuff like "I need a team for this year, who can offer me something?" from female ~2nd cats. They change teams with the seasons it seems. As a result, my club has no more female racers, except me. Which is probably ok because women at the 2/3 level aren't super great at racing as a team anyway... but I digress.

    I do wonder where it's all going... lack of races, too many entries, is it going to become like sportives or triathlon where some savvy business-type recognises a profit in the making, comes along and puts on races and charges £40-50 an entry instead of £15-20 and people are happy to pay it? Then the old organisers give up because a labour of love in volunteering is only wonderful when someone else isn't doing the same job you are but at a healthy profit. And then we're left with only the expensive entries and no more grassroots stuff. Could that happen?

    More importantly, how do we get people to put more back into the sport, especially all the newcomers who haven't seen how it worked before cycling got big? How do you impart a sense of obligation into people, and downplay the "I'm a paying customer, serve me" attitude?
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    I used to be in a club that promotes several events every year. In reality though, one guy does about 90% of the work, a few others contribute to organising stuff and about 5 or 6 people do most of the marshalling between them. The other 90+ members of the club do censored all in the way of helping out, yet based on what people are saying here those 90+ people would somehow be MORE entitled to race? Hmmmm....
    More problems but still living....
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    That's true - you will always get freeloaders - I don't think it's so much about entitlement to race - more what is likely to produce a good grass roots sport. Strong traditional clubs are more likely to put on events than short lived teams - you take the racers out of the clubs you are less likely to get so many races.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,508
    amaferanga wrote:
    I used to be in a club that promotes several events every year. In reality though, one guy does about 90% of the work, a few others contribute to organising stuff and about 5 or 6 people do most of the marshalling between them. The other 90+ members of the club do censored all in the way of helping out, yet based on what people are saying here those 90+ people would somehow be MORE entitled to race? Hmmmm....

    But then it's up to the promoting club to have their own rules in their constitution such as all members being expected to help out at at least one race.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    I can see the points made toa certain extent, but this sort of forces riderstojoin clubs that promote races soyou get a ride. So if all riders joined clubs that promote teams,how would you limit field sizes then? :D
    As in all sports when some one gets good enough they are often poached by other clubs teams,but not discriminated against.
    If this was the case and race organisers did what is suggested here, the so called better riders who ride for sponsors would have to stay in a club or they will not get any races, then these sponsors would pull out completely so not sure thats a particularly good idea.
    Better idea would be to try to get them to assist or sponsor races with clubs.
    It may also be time to do a cat5 and have 4/5 races now as there seems to be a lot more beginners racing these days.
  • xixangxixang Posts: 328
    being devils advocate (and not necessarily my view) but does sponsorship of team/clubs have a place in amateur sport? What does it really bring? I know some lbs/companies that sponsor events rather than teams/clubs. Is this many a better way forward?
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Its a sort of stepping stone tobigger and better things, happens in all sports. You cannot expect clubs to be able to fund free kit and parts to riders, sosponsors have a part to play.
  • xixangxixang Posts: 328
    Its a sort of stepping stone tobigger and better things, happens in all sports. You cannot expect clubs to be able to fund free kit and parts to riders, sosponsors have a part to play.

    why should clubs provide free kit? And sponsors involvement would be in events such as prizes etc. or assisting with costs in return for advertising or naming the event etc.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    At elite level I think it's positive - a strong domestic scene in the UK is a good thing and most clubs aren't really set to compete in semi-pro type events. Lower down I think it does detract from the sport for reasons rehearsed in this thread - again absolutely nothing against riders and team organisers.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,508
    xixang wrote:
    being devils advocate (and not necessarily my view) but does sponsorship of team/clubs have a place in amateur sport? What does it really bring? I know some lbs/companies that sponsor events rather than teams/clubs. Is this many a better way forward?

    I think there's a difference between sponsoring a club an sponsoring a team. Our club sponsors are basically club members who put money into the club. We have 3 in total and 2 probably get nothing much in return (a repair garage and a builder) and the 3rd is a LBS who give all club members a 10% discount but get the benefit of an increased trade. As a result of the sponsorship the club is able to provide club kit at a subsidised rate. To me the big difference is that with a club anyone can join and they will all benefit from the money a sponsor puts in. With a team it is only the sponsor and a few selected riders that benefit.

    OWM mentions above that if the teams get excluded from races they may pull out of sponsorship altogether but would that be much of a loss? In most cases they are only doing it for self-promotion and the only beneficiaries are them and the few people who ride for them each year who may get loaned a bike, given kit and have their entries paid. There are a few exceptions where the teams are possibly targetting developing young riders and helping them make that progression to Elite level but I suspect they are in the minority. Club racing has managed for decades without these small sponsored teams.

    Yes, clubs are often disorganised and it isn't unusual for team mates to race each other but it is amateur racing, do we really need organised chains pulling back breaks and setting up the club Cav wannabe for the sprint? It used to be the case that in national amateur / divisional champs teamwork was specifically prohibited (although it obviously happened).
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    xixang wrote:
    Its a sort of stepping stone tobigger and better things, happens in all sports. You cannot expect clubs to be able to fund free kit and parts to riders, sosponsors have a part to play.

    why should clubs provide free kit? And sponsors involvement would be in events such as prizes etc. or assisting with costs in return for advertising or naming the event etc.
    Who said they should? Read my post properly, you will see I said they could not be expected to provide kit whereas sponsor are expected to, in other post I also said they could assist in organising with a club.
    I do not see any problem having teams, clubs and private members, it is a sport not a closed shop and in my view should never be restricted to club members only, it will end up like golf !! It is not like football or rugby where you have to be in a club to be in a team to participate, it is for individuals and riders who ride in team.
    personally with allthe money bcf get form lottery, membership and race organisers I think they shpuld be doing far more to organise races, then if there were enough there would be no issue.
    Some people I know have to pay £100 just to enter one race a year at world track champs!! Why do we have to pay gold membership then a further £30 for a license? I digress :D
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Those are the costs - if we start asking BC to take on race organisation those costs will only increase. I know in the East Mids they have an event workgroup but it's a few very dedicated volunteers (ok maybe one paid staffer involved I think) who are taking on that work. For example the guy organising the Div Champs this year from our club is already organising a road race in the Autumn - so one guy taking on two road races in his own time. When people say BC should do this or that what they may not realise it BC often means unpaid volunteers who are doing a huge amount for the sport already. It's up to the racing fraternity to sort their own sport - and that means clubs and teams promoting events - I think all some of us are arguing is the system could be tweaked to reward teams and clubs that do put on races - not a ban on teams but just encourage them to put something back.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,508
    Also, BC get their Lotto funding based on results in Olympic disciplines and the money is ploughed back into the development programmes for those sports (presumably along with a lot of the licence / membership money). However, it does seem that club level cycling doesn't get much back financially.
  • Pulling together races under a league than then favours entry to the member clubs (or teams) who promote the league events is the solution. If there is then a capacity problem - the solution is to stage more races. If there are enough riders to have a capacity problem then there are enough people, if they play their part, to stage as many events as necessary.

    If clubs (or teams for that matter) have a problem with their members chipping in to help run events, but find the same people taking the places in the races then that is an internal matter for that club. Although a league could be constituted that required race entrants to also volunteer to help run events...

    Making a distinction between 'team' and 'club' is almost meaningless - given that niche clubs exist largely just for racing purposes anyway - but if 'teams' are put together to allow talented riders additional support and opportunities to then progress (with people often putting their own time/money into making this possible for the riders) that should really be applauded. Otherwise - what stepping stone is there for the really exceptional rider to progress? When this sort of support is laid on for the few really good riders within a traditional club setup it will inevitably lead to problems - remember that club cycling is by no means just about racing, but it SHOULD be about the whole membnership...
    Put me back on my bike...

    t' blog: http://meandthemountain.wordpress.com/
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