Jumbo, the co-title sponsor of the Jumbo-Visma teams, is set to pull out of sports sponsorship by the end of 2024 at the latest, the Dutch supermarket chain’s new CEO, Ton van Veen, has said.
Jumbo is also due to cease backing the Jumbo-Visma skating team, Van Veen told the Dutch newspaper AD, as well as its sponsorship of Formula 1 racer Max Verstappen.
The company’s contract for the cycling teams is due to expire at the end of 2024 and will be respected, Van Veen said. But he added that if another sponsor wanted to take over sooner, Jumbo would be happy to bow out.
"That sponsorship has brought us a lot of brand awareness, but we have now won everything there is to win," Van Veen told AD.
"We annually invest more than 20 million euros in sports sponsorship, but I can only spend every euro once," he added. "We cannot return that money to the customer, or invest it in sustainability or health."
Jumbo came in as a second sponsor for the men’s cycling team - whose roots stretch back to 1984 - in 2015, when it was known as LottoNL-Jumbo. It then took over as the team’s main backer in 2019, with a women’s team formed in late 2020.
Since then in men’s racing, the team have won all three Grand Tours, with Primož Roglič in the Giro d’Italia (2023) and Vuelta a España (2019, 2020, 2021) as well as the Tour de France with Jonas Vingegaard (2022). Of the five Monuments, they have won both Milan-San Remo (2020, Wout van Aert) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Roglič, 2020).
Of their top names, Vingegaard is under contract until the end of 2027, Roglič until the end of 2025, Van Aert until the end of 2026, and Marianne Vos until the end of 2025.
Jumbo is a privately owned company with a turnover in excess of €10 billion from its supermarkets located in the Netherlands and Belgium, and it has been the main sponsor of the Jumbo-Visma cycling and skating team since 2015. It has no real business interests outside of the Netherlands and Belgium.
For now, there is no news regarding developments concerning the second title sponsor, Visma, a Norwegian business software and IT company.
However, as long ago as March, doubts about how long the team’s main sponsor would remain with the team were already emerging, with a spokesman for Jumbo telling Dutch news outlet NOS: "At the moment we are looking at our positioning, We also check whether our sponsorship policy is still in line with our vision."
Team boss Richard Plugge told Wielerflits that month that he sensed the sponsor was weighing up its options about backing the squad, saying: "Something is still going on at Jumbo."
Prior to this spring, the supermarket group had already withdrawn much of its sponsorship from motorsport after the Public Prosecution Service launched an investigation into money laundering. Former CEO Frits van Eerd was questioned as part of the ongoing investigation and resigned from his position at the company. Jumbo commissioned a fact-finding investigation, saying in its annual report that "no criminal offences within Jumbo have emerged from this".
Also, in December 2022 Chairman and Dutch supermarket entrepreneur Karel van Eerd, who had led the company through its period of increasing sports sponsorship, died at the age of 84.
The most recent deal between company and teams was signed in 2019, Wielerflits reported, for a period of five years. Although Jumbo apparently had an option in the contract of continuing sponsorship a further two years, it has decided to leave after a total of 10 years involvement in the sport.
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get The Leadout Newsletter
The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The Independent, The Guardian, ProCycling, The Express and Reuters.