Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

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Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Ross » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:29 pm

Following on from Bicycle Network and Coca-Cola sponsership thread I notice that the Cycling Australia Road National Championships has naming rights sponsor of Mars, the confectionary company. Another of the NRS races, the Grafton to Inverell, is sponsored by McDonalds. With nearly everybody being overweight is this the right thing to do? What's next, Domino Pizza Fitz's Challenge, Victoria Bitter Amy Gran Fondo or maybe the Winfield Blue Tour of Bright?

I guess you could look at other cycling sponsors such as Orica GreenEDGE and say they aren't ethical either due to environmental concerns.

Should cycling only have ethical sponsers or should they just accept whatever money they can from whoever wants to give it to them?
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by BNA » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:00 pm

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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby redsonic » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:00 pm

This is a good question. Companies only support sport because they get something back from it. Presumably, McDonalds benefits from associating its name with a bicycle race. I would imagine the implied message would be that all these fit, slim athletes eat McDonalds too, so it can't be all that bad for you. Whether the cyclists involved want to be associated with this message is another thing again. I wonder if the organisers of the race sought any opinions before they took the sponsorship?
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby DavidI » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:56 am

Define "ethical" though?
Do we reject Subaru because their cars pollute?
Do we accept a manufacturer of vitamin supplements that haven't been clinically proven?
"Ethics" depends on the person. Do we reject sponsorship from a local butcher just because a certian percentage of participants are hard-core vegan and believe animal products are unethical?
Do we reject sponsorship by a local brothel because some people believe such things are unethical (even if they are 100% legal, at least in this state)?
Not having a go, just trying to open up the debate.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Xplora » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:10 am

The last couple of years has seen the complete disintegration of the international cycling stage, and the withdrawal of key sponsors (thinking of Rabobank here). The ethical quandary is on both sides of the fence for many sports. I couldn't sponsor rugby league, and would struggle with AFL, given their off field dramas lately. I dig the point rosco, but cycling needs all the help it can get. Sports sponsorships are completely different to community partnerships like the BV/Coke link and I'm not sure we should focus on sports too much because there has always been ethical dramas with sports sponsorships; community programs like the Coke one go to another level and deserve more scrutiny.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby march83 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:14 am

santos and orica deserve a mention here. i would rate both of those companies as "less moral" than coke or mars...
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby silentbutdeadly » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:21 am

If cyclists who want to race want to only race events that have sponsors that fit their ethics or no sponsors at all then they'll have to be prepared to pay more to participate.

From my perspective, my LBS is both a sponsor of my cycling club and an arrogant thief with the customer service skills of an electrocuted elephant. So his sponsorship is not ethical to me. But I'm happy for the club to take his money. Especially since few of us really personally support his business. So my ethics are...untainted.

Same likely goes for Cycling Australia or Mountain Bike Australia members...most of whom probably don't buy that many Subaru's or Mars confectionery either. Take their money, chase their prizes...

Therefore...if you are CA or MTBA member then you really don't have any cause for concern or alarm. If you aren't....too bad, so sad...your ethics are your problem.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby il padrone » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:22 am

Mars bars were a big part of my early years riding bikes - handy energy food :wink:
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:31 am

To answer the question of the OP, as xplora said, the money is way too hard to come by at the moment for organisers to be picky.

On the ethics side of things though, I think it's on the nose for Amgen, a company that makes EPO, to sponsor the Tour of California.

I eat take away like maccas whenever I feel like it, but am a hell of a long way from fat because I do plenty of riding. The reason there are so many overweight people around is because they don't do enough strenuous activity, obviously living on maccas and coke every day won't help matters but it is far from the sole cause. I think there is far too much focus on foods and diet as the cause/cure for obesity.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Ross » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:31 am

DavidI wrote:Define "ethical" though?
Do we reject Subaru because their cars pollute?
Do we accept a manufacturer of vitamin supplements that haven't been clinically proven?
"Ethics" depends on the person. Do we reject sponsorship from a local butcher just because a certian percentage of participants are hard-core vegan and believe animal products are unethical?
Do we reject sponsorship by a local brothel because some people believe such things are unethical (even if they are 100% legal, at least in this state)?
Not having a go, just trying to open up the debate.


I welcome your input but I think you may be taking this to the extreme. I'm sure if you looked hard enough and had an extremely long bow you could find ethical fault with pretty much any company/sponsor. I was just pointing out the glaringly obvious ones.

In the V8 Supercars some years ago cigarette advertising was banned and there was much hand wringing and people predicting the end of this sport but new sponsors were found and today it flourishes (well, it did until the 2 main manufacturer participants said they are going to cease manufacturing in Australia in a few years time...but that's another issue). It would cost a lot more to sponsor motor racing than bicycle racing so surely it can't be that hard to find other, more ethical sponsors?

Maybe the banks could step up and sponsor some cycling events or teams, they seem to make plenty of money, but then their ethics might be on the nose too...
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby g-boaf » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:13 pm

Ross wrote:I welcome your input but I think you may be taking this to the extreme. I'm sure if you looked hard enough and had an extremely long bow you could find ethical fault with pretty much any company/sponsor. I was just pointing out the glaringly obvious ones.


But isn't that what everyone does on here, in the interest of a good debate? Fight your point to the death until the other guy gives up. :D

Personally, I'm no fan of cigarette sponsorship or alcohol sponsorship. As for Orica, it is not that good either, but what can you do?
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:42 pm

g-boaf wrote:
Ross wrote:I welcome your input but I think you may be taking this to the extreme. I'm sure if you looked hard enough and had an extremely long bow you could find ethical fault with pretty much any company/sponsor. I was just pointing out the glaringly obvious ones.


But isn't that what everyone does on here, in the interest of a good debate? Fight your point to the death until the other guy gives up. :D

Personally, I'm no fan of cigarette sponsorship or alcohol sponsorship. As for Orica, it is not that good either, but what can you do?

Basically you go looking for sponsors rather than accept money from those trying to minimise the damage to their brands as a result of what their products or services inflict on the broader community.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby richbee » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:58 pm

ldrcycles wrote:On the ethics side of things though, I think it's on the nose for Amgen, a company that makes EPO, to sponsor the Tour of California.

Putting aside the abuse of this particular substance by a large proportion (lets not tar all of them) of the 90's and early 00's peleton, EPO is a very useful drug for the treatment of totally non cycling related ailments such as cancer induced anemia, and anemia in young babies. The product was developed for a valid medical use and it's hardly likely Amgen promoted it's use in the peleton given the negativity of any discovery (BALCO anyone).
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby djw47 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:39 pm

Ross wrote:Following on from Bicycle Network and Coca-Cola sponsership thread I notice that the Cycling Australia Road National Championships has naming rights sponsor of Mars, the confectionary company. Another of the NRS races, the Grafton to Inverell, is sponsored by McDonalds. With nearly everybody being overweight is this the right thing to do? What's next, Domino Pizza Fitz's Challenge, Victoria Bitter Amy Gran Fondo or maybe the Winfield Blue Tour of Bright?

I guess you could look at other cycling sponsors such as Orica GreenEDGE and say they aren't ethical either due to environmental concerns.

Should cycling only have ethical sponsers or should they just accept whatever money they can from whoever wants to give it to them?


"Nearly everybody is overweight"? really? There's a lot of larger people about, but I don't think that nearly everybody is.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby The 2nd Womble » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:04 pm

Close enough to nearly in Queensland.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Xplora » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:43 pm

Ross wrote:Banks.... but then their ethics might be on the nose too...

Yes. That part.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby antomeno » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:45 am

Anyway, with teh crisis all over the world, it is quite hard to have sponsorship now, so even strange sponsors are welocome
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Lukeyboy » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:59 am

What about being sponsored by Pedigree Dog food or Whiskars cat food? They are both owned by the same company that makes Mars bars, M&M's and 5/extra chewing gum. Maybelline is owned by Loreal but Nestle has a 30-45% ownership of Loreal. CocaCola owns Vitaminwater, Sprite, Fanta, Powerade, Mount Franklin Water, Pump water and Mother energy drinks. Remember those ads for Goulburn Valley fruit drinks way back? They are owned by CocaCola too. Pepsico owns KFC and Pizza Hut which is why you can only find their own products such as Pepsi, Mountain Dew, 7up, Sunkist etc in their stores. Vegemite is owned by the same parent company that owns Cadbury, Craft and that Natural Confectionery co. If you are going to get really ethical you're going to be in for a big shock.

In the early 80's to late 90's or even early 00's cigarette companies were funding motorsport by huge amounts. The development in F1 such as traction control, stability control, ground effects, active suspension, computer controlled components (ECUs, active suspension, sensors, paddle shifters etc) and engine and turbo performance wouldn't have been as developed for that time. Group C's demise was brought down by the costs of the advancing technology, smaller/mid field teams struggling pay the bills to remain competitive to attract more advertising and the FIA getting more and more greedy. Huge amounts of money were being thrown around and coming into the 2002 F1 season alot of countries were now starting to ban cigarette advertising which made up a big chunk out of some teams budget so the rules were modified to keep costs down so the field wouldn't lose teams like Jordan, Jaguar, Minardi, BAR and Sauber (Having lost Prost at the start and Arrows midway through the 2002 season) which didn't have big manufacture backings of the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Williams (BMW), Renault and Toyota who were just arriving on the racing scene. V8 sponsorship was similar. Its now a bloody expensive sport as the whole series has changed to what it was like in the early stages of smoking bans so the likes of the old mid and lower field teams have vanished from the scene all together. Entries are now capped at a particular amount and one race teams are pretty much banned. Testing is pretty much banned for a small allocated amount. Look at the huff that team dynamic? had created a few years back with breaking testing bans and skipping a couple race meetings.

Basically you have to take what you can get as its a cut throat world out there when it comes to sponsorship.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Ross » Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:43 pm

Lukeyboy wrote:What about being sponsored by Pedigree Dog food or Whiskars cat food? They are both owned by the same company that makes Mars bars, M&M's and 5/extra chewing gum. Maybelline is owned by Loreal but Nestle has a 30-45% ownership of Loreal. CocaCola owns Vitaminwater, Sprite, Fanta, Powerade, Mount Franklin Water, Pump water and Mother energy drinks. Remember those ads for Goulburn Valley fruit drinks way back? They are owned by CocaCola too. Pepsico owns KFC and Pizza Hut which is why you can only find their own products such as Pepsi, Mountain Dew, 7up, Sunkist etc in their stores. Vegemite is owned by the same parent company that owns Cadbury, Craft and that Natural Confectionery co. If you are going to get really ethical you're going to be in for a big shock.


Didn't know the connection between all those products and companies. That reinforces my earlier reply to DavidI that if you dig deep enough you will probably find dirt on nearly every company. But if you could have say Pedigree Dog food or Whiskas as a sponsor even though their parent company is Mars, there is not an obvious ethical issue. AFAIK there are no connection between pet obesity and Pedigree Dog food or Whiskas. I guess this sounds a bit hypocritical but by the sounds of it it's about as ethical as things get.

Lukeyboy wrote:Basically you have to take what you can get as its a cut throat world out there when it comes to sponsorship.


I fear you are right. Good to have a discussion about it anyway.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Robinho » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:09 pm

Whilst it would be great if events were sponsored by Greenpeace, WWF etc, you have to consider the benefits to companies of being associated with such an ethically tainted sport. When the oil companies and banks don't want the bad publicity then you have to take whatever you can get. If it promotes or provides events then any money is welcome, if people cannot distinguish between a pro-cyclist and am average McDonald's consumer then we have bigger problems to worry about
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Lukeyboy » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:32 pm



:lol: :lol:
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Farmer Elvis » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:58 pm

I notice that Santos has pulled their sponsorship on the north west tour. Therefore no north west tour next year. So who is the loser here, Santos because they are no longer sponsoring or the up and coming pros who miss out on quality race time. Like these companies or not ( I don't) we need to realise that without them local cycling events may not happen. Don't expect other companies to take their place, Santos will not become less profitable because they aren't sponsoring cycling but cycling may be worse off without them.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby The 2nd Womble » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:27 pm

Because there just aren't enough "fun" rides in this country. Meh.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby Lukeyboy » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:02 pm

If the tour is indeed cancelled I don't think Santos would be the loser there. If anything it would be the cyclists that don't get to showcase their talent as part of the National Road Racing Series. Then there are the towns that the tour visits and the associated economy and showcasing (media publications etc) that would follow as a result.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby RonK » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:43 am

Ross wrote:I guess you could look at other cycling sponsors such as Orica GreenEDGE and say they aren't ethical either due to environmental concerns.

Well, on environmental grounds you would have to say the sport of cycle racing is unethical considering the number of cars and buses and the amount of air travel involved.
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Re: Ethical sponsorship of cycling events

Postby The 2nd Womble » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:49 am

RonK wrote:
Ross wrote:I guess you could look at other cycling sponsors such as Orica GreenEDGE and say they aren't ethical either due to environmental concerns.

Well, on environmental grounds you would have to say the sport of cycle racing is unethical considering the number of cars and buses and the amount of air travel involved.

Alright that's it. Everyone out.
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