Premier Sports Group, owners of Team SmartStop, confirmed on Monday that SmartStop Self Storage will not renew its contract with the team at the end of the season, leaving the US Continental outfit seeking a title sponsor for 2016. SmartStop was recently acquired by Extra Space Storage, Inc., bringing about the change. Team owners said they have enough sponsorship base to field a team next year, despite losing SmartStop.
SmartStop has been part of the program’s growth since the company joined as a presenting sponsor in 2011. The company took over as title sponsor in 2014, when the team had its most successful season to date. After being overlooked for the Amgen Tour of California last year, the squad went on to win several national titles, wearing yellow at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and winning the individual National Racing Calendar standings with Travis McCabe.
“We could not have achieved the success and growth of the program without the steadfast support of SmartStop and specifically, Michael Schwartz,” said Jamie Bennet, Premier Sports Group co-owner. “Their excitement for the sport was contagious in the organization, and the success that we had was directly linked to their desire to see us at the top step of the podium.”
Exceeding expectations last season, the team carried the momentum into 2015, opening the year with several stage wins in the Domincan Republic. Rob Britton later won the GC at Silver City’s Tour of the Gila in May, and teammate Eric Marcotte followed by winning USA Cycling's pro criterium championship.
In a statement announcing that it is seeking a new title sponsor for next year, Premier Sports Group said it hopes that continued access to the top races in North America later this season will help secure a title sponsor. Meanwhile, the organization has enough base to field a team for the upcoming season, according to the statement. The team also recently signed Emerson Oronte in May.
“We have weathered this storm before and always been able to improve upon this program from year to year,” Bennet said. “We feel that with continued access to this continent’s premier events, we can provide a marketing experience like no other. But it is subject to finding the right company who can see the value we provide.”
The next race for the team will be the upcoming Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah in August.