When sponsorship works
if you follow my twitters or facebook updates, you know i was in hog heaven this past weekend: North Carolina, three days of cycling, talking with spectators and racers and most importantly, hanging out with the elite team Barkley sponsors. Barkley is a presenting sponsor of the Hincapie Coca-Cola Cycling Team, a team of elite pros chock full of talent and true class. it was a joy to hang out with the team, and team manager Adam Little, who played host/educator during the various criterium races we watched.
(Scottie at the line for the Presbyterian Invite Crit in Charlotte)
Barkley is also a sponsor of the Hincapie Development Team - a U-23 group that's kicking hind-quarters at races across the country. The New York times wrote a story about that sponsorship - check it here.
being that our elite team is so strong (both men and women riders were winning and front-of-pack at each of the races), i heard our agency's name quite consistently. but that's only one part of a successful sponsorship. the true measure of success was found talking with spectators, other racers and local cycling leaders who had looked up the Barkley website and also had stellar things to say about the character and talent on this team. the similarities in both organizations personalities was powerful.
much of why i was traveling to these races was to do my planner duties and talk to people. i took hours of video interviewing folks about what makes them tick in relation to sports and healthy lifestyle. from 5-year-olds on training wheels to professional cyclists, the insights were valuable and the conversations were a lot of fun to be part of.
the other thing i realized is how advanced that part of the U.S. is in terms of active lifestyle. the cycling culture there is insane. the average small-town spectator knew the teams - even some of the racers - and could rattle off the ins and outs of a criterium race easily. you don't see that in Kansas City.
big thanks, again, to Adam for rolling out the red carpet. kudos to the team for some big wins and great sustained effort during a long week of racing.
check out the team blog here for more. they have a nice post on the weekend here.