While a naming rights sponsor has so far remained elusive, new UCI ProTour team GreenEdge has secured its first non-technical deal.
Car manufacturer Subaru has signed a two-year sponsorship which is tied into an agreement that was announced concurrently with Cycling Australia, whereby funding to televise road, mountain bike and BMX disciplines with the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) will receive a significant boost. Subaru will also assist AustCycle – an Australian Federal Government initiative to train the public in cycling skills – and aid the safety message championed by the Amy Gillett Foundation.
GreenEdge General Manager Shayne Bannan said that the deal was a significant one for his team on several levels.
"With Subaru, we have access to the perfect vehicles for all our different purposes and demanding tasks throughout the season. From the cobbled paths of Paris-Roubaix to the alpine roads in the Tour de France, we'll be driving great cars that suit the task at hand.
"Also, and just as importantly, we'll be part of a great initiative promoting sustainability, safety and the joy of riding bikes. It's great to see a big, international brand like Subaru support such a valuable cause and we are very happy to be a part of it too."
Technical sponsors Scott Sports and Santini were signed in March and April respectively.
Bannan told Cyclingnews on Tuesday following confirmation of GreenEdge securing a ProTour licence that the job of selling to potential sponsors has just become a whole lot easier.
"We took the philosophy that we were really going to focus on the brand GreenEdge, we were going to focus on getting the license and now we've done that we're in a position to create a really good image for the team which will hopefully entice a major partner over the next year or so."
The team's financial backer, Melbourne-based businessman Gerry Ryan said in October that they were looking to the Asian markets for additional funding, most likely starting from the 2013 season.
"We haven't had a great deal of support from Australia but we are very close to a couple of Chinese companies," Ryan confirmed. "What we're trying to do, it's about a partnership, not a sponsorship. And what we want to try and do is get the sponsor, the partner to fit into the culture that we've developed.
"I'm not concerned but my son Andrew whose role is sponsorship, has the greatest incentive to go out there and make it happen because it's his inheritance that I'm spending."
However, Cyclingnews believes that a naming rights sponsor is still a possibility for GreenEdge's inaugural season.
As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.
Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.
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