17th annual ECSS Congress Bruges/BEL, July 4-7 2012
PROFESSIONAL ROAD CYCLING: A BUSINESS NETWORK PERSPECTIVE
Lagae, W., Dejonghe, T.
KU Leuven - Lessius University College Antwerp
Professional road cycling: a business network perspective
Although cycling is (1) a very popular sport in core European countries, (2) is developing in other countries and (3) was one of the first commercial sports to be practised professionally, the business of professional road cycling has been insufficiently researched (Brewer, 2002, Rebeggiani & Tondani, 2008, Benijts, et al, 2011). The product 'professional road cycling' is an individual sport practiced in teams, rather capital intensive, outdoor sport organized on public ground. Professional cycling is built around the world calendar of the Union Cycliste International, that consists of a non-homogeneous set of one-day and stage races. An additional peculiarity, especially of relevance in media coverage and television broadcasts, is that teams are labelled through the name(s) of the title sponsor. Teams depend, within their business-to-business environment, strongly on sport sponsorship deals as revenues from television rights, prize money and gate revenues are limited (Lagae, 2005). In addition, road cycling is vulnerable to doping, which has become a more prominent issue for corporate sponsors, who are entitled to cancel their barter trade or sport sponsoring agreements if evidence (and sometimes only indication of speculative nature) is found of either a team's or a rider's involvement in doping. Cycling is also characterized by a large and heterogeneous set of stakeholders with various interdependencies. The influence of stakeholders on the governance of cycling, ownership and distribution of television and marketing rights and anti-doping policy are hot topics (Morrow & Idle, 2008; Benijts, T. & Lagae, W. (2012).
Benijts, T. and Lagae, W. (2012), Using program theory to evaluate sport league reforms: the case of professional road cycling, European Sport Management Quarterley, Vol. 12 No. 1, (accepted).
Benijts, T., Lagae, W. and Vanclooster, B. (2011), "The influence of sport leagues on the business-to-business marketing of teams: the case of professional road cycling", Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 8, pp. 602-613.
Brewer, B.D. (2002), "Commercialization in professional cycling 1950-2001: institutional transformations and the rationalization of doping", Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 276-301.
Lagae, W. (2005), Sports Sponsorship and Marketing Communications. A European Perspective, Harlow, Prentice Hall/Financial Times.
Morrow, S. and Idle, C. (2008), "Understanding change in professional road cycling", European Sport Management Quarterly, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 315-335.
Rebeggiani, L. and Tondani, D. (2008), "Organizational forms in professional cycling -- an examination of the efficiency of the UCI ProTour", International Journal of Sport Finance, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 19-41.
European Database of Sport Science (EDSS)