For three weeks, television commentators will praise sponsor after sponsor in one of the world’s most beautiful sports environments. Of course, I’m talking about the Tour de France.
The event is, by some, described as ”the world’s biggest annual sporting event”.
I won’t get in their, but rather state that depending on how you count, Tour de France really is the largest [insert the fact that makes ”Le Tour” the greatest] in the world. (Isn’t that a-m-a-z-i-n-g!)
But ok, which are the companies you will hear for countless hours the upcoming weeks?
Let’s take a look at the teams’ largest sponsors, also known as their title sponsors.
The team name is an amalgamation of two different financial firms from France; AG2R Group and La Mondiale Group. AG2R Group is an interprofessional insurance and supplementary retirement fund group. La Mondiale Group is an international group for supplementary pension and estate planning insurance.
Team Astana have gotten its name from the capital of Kazakhstan, as well as the colors of the cycling clothes. The actual sponsor is the National Welfare Fund ”Samruk-Kazyna”, a coalition of state-owned companies.
Team Bahrain-Merida is an easy one. The name refers to the country Bahrain, whose government funds the team, and Merida, who make bicycles.
BMC is an acronym for Bicycle Manufacturing Company. The company is based in Switzerland and manufactures bicycles.
Two German companies sponsor this team. Bora is a Bavarian manufacturer of extractor fans (pictures) and the second name, Hansgrohe, is one of the world’s leading producers of shower heads.
Cannondale makes premium bicycles and the second title sponsor is Drapac Capital Partners, an American-based real estate firm.
Team Cofidis is a classic cycling team name. The main sponsor (Cofidis is a French company offering consumer loans either by phone or over the Internet. Their primary markets are, among others, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Italy (so a cycling team feels pretty ok, let’s be honest).
The team name Direct Energie comes from French gas and electricity company with the same name.
FDJ is a short term for Française des Jeux, which operates the French national lottery. It’s a very classic Tour de France team that many spectators cheer some extra for. (Normally without particular success.)
As FDJ, Lotto Soudal is named by a gambling (lottery) company. The team has ”Lotto” from Belgium’s lottery, while ”Soudal” works with sealants, foams and adhesives.
Movistar is a large telecommunications brand, owned by Telefónica. They are operating in Spain and Hispanic American countries.
This one is interesting. Orica is “the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas and construction markets” (source). An odd bird, unlike bike manufacturer Scott.
Quick-Step, a classic cycling sponsor, is a manufacturer of laminate flooring. They have been sponsoring the team for many, many years – but this is the first year they are solo (which explains the addition of ”Floors” in the name).
Until last year this team was known as ”Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka”, with ”Qhubeka” being a bicycle-related African charity. However, the team had to cut Qhubeka of the official name because people thought the organization was so risch they no longer needed donations. Dimension Data are an IT company.
Fortuneo is an online bank, while Oscaro sells car parts online. There is some questions about if the team name will be Team Fortuneo-Vital, and if you hear that one you might want to know that Vital comes from Vital Concept, who sell agricultural and equestrian equipment.
Katusha Sports makes sporting clothes and Alpecin make hair products, like ”caffeine shampoos and caffeine liquids” (no joke
How about another lottery brand? This one it’s time for the Dutchmen, explaining the addition ”NL” to the name. The second part, Jumbo, is a supermarket chain.
Maybe the most well-known team name these days comes from Great Britain and the television brand Sky.
Sunweb offers summer package holidays, winter sports deals, hotels and all inclusive holidays. A travel brand, that is.
This combo-name is built from Trek, that makes bicycles, and Segafredo Zanetti, the leading Espresso producer in Italy.
Yes, you guessed it, of course the United Arab Emirates has their own team. (Or at least their own team name.)
Wanty is an international company active in the sectors of construction, earthmoving and demolition. Their sponsor-mate, Gobert Group, sell construction materials.
Tour de France – Tour Sponsors
It’s hard to see and feel when you look at the actual event, but Tour de France could be one of the most commercialized sports events in the world.