Cycle tour in hunt for new sponsor
By CRAIG BILDSTIEN
THE state's biggest international event is without a naming rights sponsor, after winemaker Orlando's decision to end its deal with the Tour Down Under.
The Jacob's Creek label will no longer be attached to the cycling event, but its organisers are already talking with several potential new backers to take over the rights, believed to be worth about $500,000.
The annual cycle race is broadcast to a global audience of millions and media exposure for this year's event was estimated to be worth almost $20 million.
Orlando told race organisers in January that it would end their eight-year association, company managing director Stephen Couche admitting yesterday it had been "a hard business decision to make".
He said the move had been the result of "a change of focus" within the organisation.
"We have enjoyed a tremendous eight years . . . but it is time to move on," Mr Couche said.
Orlando would remain involved in the event as official wine supplier. The announcement comes with Orlando's decision to shift key marketing functions to Sydney.
The Jacob's Creek naming rights are understood to have cost the company up to $500,000 a year.
Tourism SA's Australian Major Events chief executive Bill Spurr declined to reveal the exact amount.
Mr Spurr confirmed AME was already negotiating with up to five possible new sponsors, but would not name them. If anyone else was interested, "I would be pleased to talk to them".
Mr Spurr said he was not disappointed by the Orlando decision and was confident another naming rights sponsor would be found.
"Sponsorship will offer huge opportunities in the next few years, with crowd numbers and audience figures expected to climb," he said.
In February, the tour won the Australian Sport Tourism Award, ahead of the Australian Open Tennis. Economic impact of the 2006 race is still being evaluated, but it was $13.2 million last year.
This year's event attracted 495,000 spectators, including 11,670 interstate and overseas visitors.