Team Sky has revealed that the 21st Century Fox logo will appear on team kit and vehicles beginning with the Tour de France, which starts on Corsica on Saturday with Chris Froome as overall favourite, as part of what it describes as “a long term commitment” from News Corporation, owner of the Sky brand.
Perhaps in keeping with the recently unveiled logo’s sober tones, the deal was announced less with the fanfare and searchlights associated with the old 20th Century Fox logo familiar to generations of moviegoers, but in a news story posted on the Team Sky website yesterday evening.
From pictures released by Sky, it seems to be just the text of the logo that will appear on the lower back of the team kit, omitting the searchlight graphic, which can be seen in the animation below.
The announcement comes as News Corporation, owner of a 39.14 per cent stake in BSkyB and Sky Italia, prepares to split its operations into two separate, publicly traded businesses.
One, still named News Corporation, will contain its publishing assets, the other, under the proposed 21st Century Fox name, will provide an umbrella for its entertainment and media properties such as Sky, Sky Italia, and Fox Entertainment Network.
No financial details have been released in relation to 21st Century Fox’s backing of the world’s number-one ranked team.
However, while Sky’s existing sponsorship is reckoned to be the most successful in the professional cycling in terms of exposure, its reach is limited due to the few markets in which the brand operates; bringing the 21st Century Fox brand on board therefore makes it relevant to territories where Sky isn’t present, but Fox is, such as the United States.
Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford commented: “We’re excited to have this long-term commitment and to welcome 21st Century Fox on board.
“It feels like great recognition of the strength and value of the partnerships we’ve developed. 21st Century Fox is a perfect fit and is an appealing global brand that will be great to work with. We’re looking forward to racing on their home soil, at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, this summer.”
Current Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, missing this year’s race due to a knee injury, has already confirmed he will be taking part in that race.
James Murdoch, News Corporation’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer, added: “It’s a great time to increase our commitment to Team Sky and to add the support of an exciting new entertainment brand.
“We’re proud of the team’s success so far, its professionalism and its approach to attracting new fans to the sport and increasing grassroots participation in cycling.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.