Last year HSBC announced a six year sponsorship deal with British Cycling starting Jan 1 2017.So the question is why? Why cycling? HSBC is huge sponsor of sport from Wimbledon to the British Open and Rugby Sevens, so sport is important to them but cycling?
In a Mori Poll in 1998 looking at the top 10 participation sports, cycling did not make the top 10. By 2014 Sport England was declaring cycling the 4th most popular participation sport behind Swimming, Athletics (including jogging) and Football. The spectacular rise in the popularity of cycling now sees 2.7 million people stating they cycle at least once per week (www.cyclinguk.org/cycling-uk-cycling-statistics).
In the last few years we have seen first, Bradley Wiggins and then Chris Froome winning the Tour de France. The eight gold medals of the GB Team in 2012 London Olympics and of course in 2007 the Tour de France had a stage start in London. Cycling has become mainstream and just as important for sponsors cycling is associated with success, with GB cycling and Team Sky arguable the best in the world.
For HSBC sport is important because
'Sponsorship is a way of promoting our brand, engaging our customers, inspiring our staff and connecting with the communities we serve.
Our strategy is to associate ourselves with partners who reflect our business priorities and help us make connections with customers.'
-Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC
The rise in popularity of cycling has provided a huge boost for business as well. Halfords the largest volume retailer of cycles has seen sales grow by double digits for the last few years - premium bikes by 24.9% during 2014. Halfords see such growth they now have the brands Tredz and Cycle Republic in the portfolio, opening 17 Cycle Republic stores. The premium clothing brand Rapha has seen sales grow by more than 30% per annum for 11 years in a row. Cycling may attract the Sunday morning MAMILs (middle aged men in Lycra) but it is also attracting significant consumer spending and significant consumer interest.
And it is not just the MAMILs – the cyclinguk.org cycling statistics show that one in four cyclists are women, which may not initially seem that high but outside of gym and swimming is huge compared to most sports.
As far as our industry is concerned – promotional products – cycling has seen some really high demand. Sourcing City, the industry body says that the number of searches for cycling products such as seat covers and bells is as high as the number of searches for Footballs.
So if you are thinking of associating yourself with a sport then it might be worth giving cycling a thought. As a sport it represents all aspects of health and fitness, but it is also growing in popularity and is seen as young, vibrant sport. And these last few years is associated with sporting success and some of the biggest household names – a cyclist has one won BBC Sport Personality of the Year 3 times in the last 10 years. But I leave the last word to António Simões, Chief Executive, HSBC Bank plc, said:
“We are extremely proud to be working in partnership with British Cycling. Successes at the Olympics and Paralympics in both London and Rio have put cycling well and truly on the map”
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