Sep 06, 2011 at 02:02 PM
written by Kris Mathis

Three's A Crowd? Top Cycling Team Names Trio of Title Sponsors

One of cycling's top teams will have three different title sponsors the next time you see them on the road. RadioShack and Nissan are joining the Leopard-Trek World Tour Team as sponsors for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The new team will be one the TV people will no doubt love: the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Professional Cycling Team.

“In modern cycling you cannot move forward without strong sponsors," said Team Leopard owner Flavio Becca. "It is in this respect that today is a further milestone in the development of this exciting young project, which has gained the trust of two well-established players in the world of professional cycling."

Team Radio Shack Managing Director, and former pro cyclist, Johan Bruyneel, had this to say..

“With our sponsors’ continuing commitment and the professionalism of our riders, I’m confident that RadioShack-Nissan-Trek will dominate cycling for years to come,” said Bruyneel. “We are grateful our sponsors believe in this project. This is a great milestone for our team and our global sport."

From a branding perspective, naming three different title sponsors is an interesting choice, even for the sport of cycling, which has never been known for brevity in naming. Many times a title is intended to drive brand awareness, but more often than not a title sponsorship is also intended to denote a level of status. It would seem that combining a trifecta of titles dilutes both of these objectives. There are thousands of deals in the SponsorPitch Sponsor Index, but we've never seen a team or for that matter, event, with three wholly distinct title sponsors. Brevity also matters when it comes to activation. Try squeezing RadioShack-Nissan-Trek Professional Cycling Team into a hashtag.

Success to the sponsors, of course, won't hinge on name alone. It's much more important what specific assets each sponsor receives from the deal (particularly as it relates to the kit) and how each of these assets will be activated, but if the past is any judge the public (probably the media too) will shorten the name to the first brand in the new name or ignore the sponsorship altogether and revert to the former team name.

Setting aside the politics of cycling, this gives us something to ponder:

Is the value of title sponsor (x) diluted proportionately by adding x+1, x+2... ?

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