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T-Mobile Pulls Out Of Cycling

Stung by ongoing doping scandals in professional cycling, T-Mobile, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom of Germany, has decided to abandon its sponsorship of the sport after 16 years. In announcing the decision to end its contract two years early, Deutsche Telekom made it clear that cycling teams had become a marketing nightmare. It will also end its sponsorship of races.

With an estimated budget of nearly $18 million this year, T-Mobile was by far the biggest operation in cycling. Deutsche Telekom first sponsored the team, under different management, in 1991. The announcement follows the collapse of the Discovery Channel team earlier this year. That team--partly owned by Lance Armstrong--was unable to recruit a sponsor to replace Discovery.

Cycling's current inability to lure major sponsors is a potential financial disaster "The visibility these issues have in Germany is enormous," says Bob Stapleton, who took over as GM and owner of the T-Mobile team last year. "This is 50 times Barry Bonds."



Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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