Absolutely! Funding is so crazy tight because when companies look at sponsorship opportunities they say “What’s in it for me? What’s my ROI?” I can’t remember which podcast it was, maybe SoCal but the DS for EF Drapac was talking about how his friends were blow away at the amount of funding he can secure without any expected ROI.
We talk about this out here (Vancouver BC) that organizing road races comes with a serious cost, crits can contain an event to a few blocks and if promoted right (Like Superweek) can drag a ton of people out to the race and local businesses can jump on this movement and draw customers in for revenue on that day or have a captured audience to promote too. Teams can jump on this and park their brands in sight of the crowds and yes marketing is a fickle bitch, reach and engagement can be hit or miss but the exposure can do wonders for some businesses (Meteor Intellegentsia, ClifBar, ButcherBox, Rally Health etc…) these are brands that we recognize because we see and know the teams.
But when teams get real large and want to contend on a world or Pro Conti level, how do you convince a fortune 500 company to drop a million dollars of funding on a cycling team and explain that to their B.O.D??!! Oh and that with this million dollar injection they might see no increase in stock share.
So do we look at it a different way? Does it become a pay to play model and riders get more involved in their own team fund raising and and companies put more money directly into the events to the benefit of their immediate community/shareholders? You’re definitely right about Nascar except that they’ve got a captured audience, tickets for the event and sales of Nascar swag is insane!!
So now take a major Criterium like Athens or Blue Dome crit, you turn it into more than just a crit. There’s a festival, carnival, food trucks, local vendors and you make it something more that just a bike race?? Ok now we’ve got a formula to start to roll with, cities get involved because there’s a positive impact on community involvement. My parents had no idea what a crit was until I invited them out one year to watch, they were blown away by what they’ve been missing all this time and sponsor our major event every year now.
The documentary Peloton did with Crit and their interview with the organizers of Tulsa in my opinion perfectly captures and shows what a bike race can be, they’ve nailed it. A football town, that enjoys tailgate parties and creates an outdoor street stadium that everyone benefits from. That’s the formula! How do we apply that to every race??
I could keep rambling, I love crits and racing bikes, i want to see them succeed and grow in North America (including Canada).