It is Official — the Red Bull and BORA-Hansgrohe sponsorship deal is clear to move forward. But why?
The rumor mill has been churning out a possible Red Bull + BORA-Hansgrohe partnership for a few weeks now. Well now it’s official. It’s moving forward. And it brings with it plenty of grand speculation of a super-Tour-team.
Dropping an official statement on January 29th, the BORA-Hansgrohe team website explained, “The joint venture between Red Bull and Team Manager Ralph Denk’s operating company can be implemented as planned. The Austrian antitrust authority has no objections to the planned partnership with BORA-Hansgrohe. Further details will be presented during the season.”
What will or could a Red Bull-BORA-Hansgrohe Team mean?
Now that Red Bull is out of the UCI MTB World Cup broadcasting game, it is free to pursue other ventures.
Up to this point, the iconic energy drink brand has only sponsored individual athletes, never a team. However, it does have a collection of outstanding and well-rounded professional cyclists, on- and off-road. Although, as a brand, they do tend to focus more on ‘extreme’ athletes and ‘death-defying’ sports.
Now, If I let my mind run really wild, I would love to see all of the current Red Bull cycling powerhouses join up as a super squad.
Current Red Bull-sponsored men’s pro road cyclists include: Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), Wout Van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike), Anton Palzer (already on BORA-Hansgrohe), and more still to come. They also have a new Red Bull Junior Brothers U19 road development team that’s likely to be a source of up-and-coming riders going forward.
Hell, maybe they could add American Justin Williams who wears the Red Bull helmet on L39ION of Los Angeles to the Euro-racing roster, too!
What about the Red Bull dropbar women like Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, Zoe Bäckstedt, Kata Blanka Vas, who first come to mind? Or could some XC, DH, Freeride or even BMX riders make do some crossover collaborations with the new road team?
That is all purely speculative, of course. And there’s plenty of existing contracts that would keep it from happening too easily, I think…
Or a straight-forward title sponsorship?
With (some) of the INEOS sponsor’s plastics money recently going to purchase 25% of Manchester United for $300 million, this could be the perfect time for a new cycling powerhouse to swoop in at the top-tier of the sport. And powerful new sponsors, too!
The Red Bull and BORA-Hansgrohe teams could end up being just that. Above all, Red Bull could assemble their famous athletes accordingly, the team would be stocked with loved cycling personalities.
Can Red Bull energize Road Cycling?
Maybe Red Bull could shepherd in new crop of road cycling fans?
If all goes according, we would see Red Bull Media House producing shows around the Red Bull and BORA-Hansgrohe team and some of its featured athletes. I’m a massive fan of Red Bull video content, especially the films. They certainly are great story-tellers!
And I would love to see a Red Bull feature on World Tour life. Can you imagine a Red Bull produced film about Paris–Roubaix?!
What does BORA-Hansgrohe management think?
Ralph Denk, Team Manager of BORA-Hansgrohe, explained what the decision could mean for the future. “With today’s decision, we have cleared an important hurdle. The foundations of our partnership with Red Bull are now officially in place. This is the green light we’ve been waiting for to proceed with the formalities and many specific parts of the collaboration.“
For now it sounds like a pretty straightforward Pro Team sponsorship deal, right? But we can’t help but read deeper in between the lines.
What are Red Bull’s next moves on the road?
Although no monetary commitment has been disclosed nor a clear product agreement (other than those cool custom helmets, we assume), details should come to light rapidly.
If Red Bull is looking for a title or co-title sponsorship, I’m sure it’s not cheap.
But they seem like a company not afraid to dump cash into some wild bike projects. And are not new to aerodynamic optimization, whether F1 or on two wheels.
Now, we’ll see what they can do on the road!
Red Bull’s venture into the World Tour might convince other brands to do the same. We might be rooting for a Monster Energy-Visma-Lease-a-Bike-Drywall squad someday?
For more information and to dive more into the Red Bull and BORA-Hansgrohe partnership, check out: