SunGard to replace Saxo Bank as sponsors of Riis’ team?
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

SunGard to replace Saxo Bank as sponsors of Riis’ team?

by Conal Andrews at 7:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
 
Speculation that deal could be announced during Tour of California

According to reports in the Danish press, the American software giant SunGard and Bjarne Riis may be poised to announce a major new sponsorship deal during the Amgen Tour of California.

The newspaper Politiken, which has long tracked Riis’ search for a backer to take over from Saxo Bank, believes that the deal is very close to reality, citing ‘strong rumours’ in the building up to the top American race.

Riis has been searching since Saxo Bank revealed that it was going to end it sponsorship arrangement one year earlier than was originally envisioned.

He recently expressed cautious optimism that he would have something in place prior to the Tour de France, and said that he would miss the Giro d’Italia as he had to have important talks in the US.

SunGard is a multinational company based in Pennsylvania, and provides software and services to education, financial services, and public sector organizations. It has over 25,000 customers in more than fifty countries, and last year had a revenue of $5.51 billion.

The company already has an existing deal with the team, as announced in January. The one year deal saw the company come on board as a smaller backer of Riis’ setup, and the months since have given it a chance to assess the media impact of becoming a title sponsor of a cycling team.

In that time the riders have taken fourteen wins in some of the top spring races, with Fabian Cancellara dominating the headlines with superb solo victories in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. Andy and Frank Schleck have also shown strong form, and while they have yet to top the podium, they are clearly on course for another fine Tour de France.

Andy Schleck finished second overall last year and is widely regarded as the chief rival to Alberto Contador for this year’s race.

Commenting in January, SunGard chief marketing officer Brian Robins was enthusiastic about coming on board as a co-sponsor. “We see great potential to improve SunGard's brand awareness and visibility as a global IT company by sponsoring Team Saxo Bank,” he said. “We are pleased to align the SunGard brand with one of professional cycling's undisputed leaders.”

The days ahead will reveal if the company does indeed plan to ramp up its investment and to follow in the tracks of another big software company, CSC, which backed the team until 2008.

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