Tour of Britain readies sponsorship drive

The Tour of Britain’s organisers are readying a sponsorship drive for international commercial partners in a bid to exploit the event’s growing TV audience.

Race organisers prep major recruitment push for international sponsors to exploit the event’s growing TV audience.

The push hopes to capitalise on the success of this year’s race, which enjoyed its largest ever television audience with almost a million viewers tuning in to watch either live coverage or highlights.

Organisers will also look to create more long-term partnerships around the race that are activated through grassroots initiatives such as school coaching programmes and amateur competitions throughout the year.

Alastair Grant, commercial director of Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot Group, says he is confident the multi-stage race along with the other cycling events around it will be able to attract international brands, despite coming soon after the Lance Armstrong scandal.

Dutch financial firm Rabobank pulled out of professional cycling last month after announcing that it was “no longer convinced” that professional cycling is a “clean and fair sport”.

Grant adds: “Commercial interest in the sport is in rude health in the UK and the sport its primed for further growth moving forward. Brands still want to work with us despite the [The Lance Armstrong] allegations because cycling is a sport that’s flushed with British success and brands want to be associated with that.

“This year’s race was broadcast live across more than 130 countries and this is only going to grow as interest in the UK riders continues to grow. We’re talking to two major international brands at the moment about the brand building opportunities this type of scale can provide.”

Live coverage of the race was shown on ITV4 for the first time earlier this year and the broadcaster saw an average of 382,000 viewers across each of the eight days of the event. The race was last shown live on TV in 2006, when the BBC broadcast coverage of the event’s final stage.

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