Updated: Jan 2, 2019
What we're doing to tell a better story about our journey through a year in domestic cycling.
Cycling is changing.
We've known this for a while - in fact, it's been hard to not notice. With the boon of social media in recent years, the way people are consuming sports has changed dramatically as well. 60 second highlight reels on Instagram are in, watching an entire NFL game from start to finish is out. More than ever, people are becoming more interested in knowing the personalities of the sport, rather than just being content to watch the sport themselves. The fans want to be able to experience the game from the vantage point of the players, to understand what it's really like to be one of the sport's elite.
This change has been affecting most sports and cycling is no exception. 2018 was a rough year for cycling in North America, with 3 professional teams unable to find sponsorship for the coming years - two of them being the flagship United Healthcare and Jelly Belly - Maxxis programs, both of which have been staples in the U.S. cycling scene since I've been around the sport. (Note: The former Jelly Belly team just recently announced they found a sponsor - just in time to save the team for next year.)
Even at the highest levels of the sport, teams are struggling to justify the cash needed to run a team to potential sponsors. The Belgian Quickstep franchise, who won 71 races in 2018 were struggling to find a co-sponsor until they finally found Deceuninck in October. Just recently, Sky announced it would cease it's sponsorship of their World Tour squad after 2019, sending shock waves through the peloton, as the team who have won 6 of the 9 editions of the Tour de France in their existence is struggling to justify their value.
I bring this up not to re-hash the woes of the current state of cycling, but to hammer home the following point:
Sponsors care about more than your race results.
Gone are the days where sponsors are happy with seeing their name on race summaries or results pages. It's hard to quantify the reach of including a brand on a jersey - no one is counting the eyeballs that see a team's riders on the road training or the number of people in the crowd at the races a team participates in. It's much easier for marketing departments to understand follower counts, web page interactions, and video viewership.
First Internet Bank Cycling is changing too.
In the wake of all of this change, we're working to adapt as a team who supports itself by ultimately delivering great value to our sponsors. We've come up with some ideas to do this beyond what we've done in the past:
1. Create a central point of contact for the team
In the past, our updates about races, events, etc. were managed through a myriad of social media sites and it was difficult to keep the information consistent across all three platforms. This was the primary driver in launching this website - to create a consistent "home base" where our updates can originate from.
2. Create more consistent and engaging content
Our content in the past has been decent, but inconsistent and sometimes irrelevant to a larger audience. This year, we're looking to post more consistently, and make these posts more engaging - be it a blog post about how we're training for an upcoming event, an honest review of a sponsor's product, or a video that brings the viewer alongside us on a race weekend.
In the end, we're working to create a better story that is more interesting to follow. We're captivated by all manners of cycling, and think that with the right exposure more people can be captivated by it to. So be sure to stay plugged in to this blog and website for future updates, sign up for our mailing list to get newsletters about the team, or follow us on your favorite social media platform - 2019 is going to be our best year yet!