By Kirsten Robbins in Rock City, Georgia
News that Discovery Channel brought Mio Technology Europe on board as a co-sponsor broke in a press release found on GPS Business News last Wednesday. Mio announced that they were going to be sponsoring the cycling team beginning with the Tour de France and continuing through the remainder of the 2007 season.
According to Paul Notteboom, Mio President for Europe, MIO is not as well known as its other GPS competitors Garmin, TomTom or Navman. Sponsoring the world ranked cycling team would provide their product exposure and brand awareness. Notteboom noted that sponsoring the team should also promote channel communications, public relations and targeted advertising.
Discovery Channel's director sportif Johan Bruyneel could not comment on the new sponsorship but he mentioned there would be a formal press release regarding MIO's co-sponsorship in the near future. Bruyneel noted, "It is more likely going to be a co-sponsorship somewhere between 24-Hour Fitness and AMD."
The big question that remains is who will be the new title sponsor if the Discovery Channel team beginning in the 2008 season? There have been rumours of several companies coveting the prized sponsorship slot but there has been no word of a concrete signing. Bruyneel was very optimistic when asked about the state of the team's title sponsorship before the time trial at the Tour de Georgia.
"Things are looking very good for a new title sponsor next year," Bruyneel said. "Nothing has been solidified yet but we are heading in a very positive direction for a new title sponsor next year. I am very positive and hopeful about a new sponsor and I better be because I want to keep my job."