$21 Million to Ride at the Tour De France

$21 Million to Ride at the Tour De France

Wondering how much it costs to sponsor a cycling team for the Tour de France?

The Dutch lender Rabobank Group pays an incredible 15 million euros, or $21.5 million, every year to be the main sponsor of its team. Recently, the online trader and asset manager Saxo Bank A/S announced that it renewed and increased its backing of Alberto Contador and his team. Saxo did not disclose the details of the arrangement, but it's probably similar to what Rabobank is paying.

Contador, 28-years-old and a three-time Tour de France champion for the French cycling team, will be among cyclists heading out tomorrow for the grueling three-week, 2,100-mile race. And every one of these cyclists are backed by a big name corporation paying
big bucks.

Surviving Through Sponsorship

Sponsorship is incredibly important to a cycling squad’s survival. Team Milram, a German cycling team that was once supported by a German dairy company, was forced to fold after a fruitless search for a replacement sponsor. 15-time stage winner Mark Cavendish’s team, which is backed by Taiwan-based cell phone producer HTC Corp., may not be able to compete next year if it does not acquire sufficient funding.

The Perks of Giving Millions

Sponsors invest a great deal of money in cyclists, but the potential returns make it worthwhile. Saxo Bank, which opened its first branch in Copenhagen in May, can use its sponsorship as a way to get the word out about its services, promote its new retail business and entertain hedge-fund clients. VIP patrons will dine with team owner Bjarne Riis and ride in a helicopter after a stage in the Alps. They will also be able to meet Contador sometime during the race.

The Tour de France begins tomorrow with a 119 mile stage between the Passague du Gois and Mont des Alouettes in the Vendee region of western France. If you’re a cycling fan, tune in!

Have you ever been asked to sponsor a friend’s event on a smaller scale? Here are our tips on affording philanthropy.

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