Cycling and athletics prove double trouble for Mills' funding plan
23:12 GMT, 3 October 2012
A grand plan led by deputy LOCOG chairman Sir Keith Mills to maximise Olympic sports’ chances of attracting sponsorship rights could be derailed by the big two, cycling and athletics.
The Mills brainchild to capitalise on the success of London 2012 is the British Sports Marketing Bureau, under whose banner the sports would pool commercial rights to attract big umbrella deals that could be geared to suit clients’ requirements.
Mills, expected to chair a reformed combination of UK Sport and Sport England, is canvassing support across all sports. His idea received widespread backing at meetings last Friday and on Wednesday from governing bodies.
Issue: Cycling and athletics are causing problems with the planned deal
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But there is understood to be considerable opposition from the two sports least in need of a collective organisation — cycling with their huge Sky funding and UK Athletics whose 50million five-year Aviva deal expires in December. But UKA are planning to bring in a Champions League style roster of backers themselves — putting them in competition for sponsors with the British Olympic Association. And that is the type of Olympic sport in-fighting Mills is setting up the BSMB to avoid.
However, swimming, which has the most sponsorship money after athletics and cycling, is broadly in favour of the BSMB proposals.
They do not prevent sports doing individual deals which are not in conflict with the overall sponsorships being sought.
Mills said: ‘For this to work, we will need the vast majority of sports behind us. Some of them are asking questions but none of told me they’re opting out.’
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