BLOG | by Charlie Dundas

As trade winds hit HSBC’s sponsorship portfolio, where next for British Cycling?

HSBC announced this week that it plans to prematurely end its eight-year sponsorship deal with British Cycling. The bank, which has also said that it will axe 35,000 jobs, has seen its profits fall by a third this year, leading to a number of changes – including to its sponsorship strategy.

So where does that leave British Cycling as it prepares to head to Tokyo for this year’s Olympic Games?

Well, our data suggests that the sport is in pretty good shape and continues to offer good value to other potential sponsors.

As we revealed in our Buzz Report this month, cycling events continue to generate plenty of positive chatter in the UK. Although not under their purview, it’s healthy that three cycling events – the Tour de France, Tour of Britain and Ride London – perform strongly in 2019, coming 10th, 22nd and 48th respectively in our rankings. Cycling is a big part of the UK’s sporting conversation.

More pertinently, though, cycling also attracts a sizeable following across the UK. It enjoys a market of 4.4m in the UK, making it the UK’s 11th most-followed sport today – a ranking that is only likely to improve during and after the Olympic Games, especially given a good showing from the Kennys and the rest of the GB team.

But it’s really in participation where British Cycling can tell its most powerful story.

Cycling is the second most popular sporting activity in which to take part in the UK, ranking the sport above football, golf and even running. In fact, an astonishing 8.2% of Brits (4.3m) tell us that they have cycled in the past two weeks, meaning that two wheels are beaten only by swimming in the popularity stakes.

So while Olympic medals in July and August may make potential sponsors sit up and take notice of British Cycling, it is in the sport’s broad participation base that the governing body’s strengths really lie. If it can find suitors looking to reach that market, then there is a good chance that a replacement for HSBC can be secured before the year is out

Photo © John Cameron

BLOG | by Charlie Dundas

Commercial Director

With over 15 years’ experience in the sports and sponsorship field, Charlie’s role at YouGov Sport (SMG Insight) is to develop new market opportunities as the company continues to grow internationally. He also assists established and future clients to get the most from YouGov Sport’s market-leading tools and research techniques.


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