HSBC Pulls British Cycling Sponsorship 4 Years Early

Feb 25, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
Roger Vieira goes light over the rocks keeping his eyes on the task at hand

British Cycling has been struck another blow as HSBC has exercised a break clause in its contract and has ended a sponsorship deal that was supposed to run until the 2024 Olympics.

BBC Sport reports that the bank pulled the sponsorship due to a "shift in its UK marketing and partnership priorities" and the relationship will finish at the end of 2020.

The deal is thought to be worth 10mGBP a year to the British governing body that has been rocked in recent years by accusations of bullying and sexism. Former British Cycling senior doctor Richard Freeman has also been charged with helping a rider to dope following a mystery testosterone delivery to the national velodrome, his tribunal will resume in spring. HSBC has also gone through its own turbulent period recently and announced last week that it will be axing 35,000 jobs after its profits fell by a third in 2019.

As part of the sponsorship deal, HSBC also the title sponsor of the UK national series for downhill and cross country. British Cycling told us that this will continue until the end of 2020 although it is unclear what will happen after that.

We spoke to an insider who told us that this isn't good news for British Cycling, especially as it comes during an Olympic year. They said that British Cycling funding is crucial for prize money and UCI fees for the national series and while this money isn't coming directly from HSBC it has to come from somewhere. Hopefully, British Cycling will be able to find another large sponsor before the end of the year to continue to provide this level of support for mountain biking in Britain.

Julie Harrington, chief executive of British Cycling, said: “On course to get over two million people cycling regularly, British Cycling’s partnership with HSBC UK has delivered lasting benefits for our sport and for communities up and down the country.

“We will part with HSBC UK as firm friends and, in the meantime, look forward to working with them to support our riders to achieve their best in Tokyo."

Posted In:
Industry News


  • 60 1
 Smart, getting your testosterone delivered direct to the velodrome
  • 5 0
 LOL, never heard of a PO Box I guess.
  • 10 0
 "i never accidentally received packages of testosterone to my house, even when I was getting testosterone delivered to my house."

Floyd Landis, upon hearing of Richard Freeman's denials of ordering doping products.
  • 20 0
 what about the middle man being cut out of the market? #supportyourlocaldealer
  • 20 0
 I suppose that making 35,000 people redundant, instigated by Noel Quinn, in order to cut costs by £3.5bn, is more of a concern than sponsoring one countries team on a global playing field, a shame at such an important time for British cycling and the turmoil within it.
  • 7 0
 steady on with the sensible comments, they'll throw you out
  • 20 0
 I assume it has far more to do with things going on in HSBC than anything to do with British Cycling...
  • 16 2
 This is the internet. We would rather eat some tea leaves, spray them against the wall in some gassy diarreah expolsion and then try to read them.
  • 3 0
 Soon to be SBC bank, when Hong Kong shits itself to death thanks to the CCP.
  • 10 1
 What are you talking about? I thought providing banking services for terrorist groups and money launderers was a solid business plan.

"Here at HSBC, we don't care where the money came from, you're fam."
  • 4 0
 Rampant sexism, ethical failings, a government inquiry and brexit?

  • 2 0
 @scott-townes: that’s any bank that can get away with it
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes: Sir, they are "Social Activists", not Terrorists. That is a hurtful word....
  • 20 0
 Have Shortage of Bike Cash.
  • 14 2
 All joking aside, there are in general two kinds of sponsorships. My company (that I own) for instance will sponsor events simply for the love of the sport. We do not at all expect a ROI nor a tax deduction for the contribution to a given event/company/sport.

HSBC, on the other hand, would need to see an ROI on their investment. Much like Gatroaide sponsoring IronMan Triathlon or Trek/Specialized/Giant sponsoring a cycling event. Will the potential increase in cutomer base offset the cost of the sponsorhip? If not, it is not a hard decsion to pull the funds. That just makes business sense.
  • 7 1
 Are you looking to expand down under? I like the sound of your ethos. Moral returns over financial.
  • 11 19
flag Boosting (Feb 25, 2020 at 10:27) (Below Threshold)
 How were they expecting a return with a 10milllion/year return endorsement? It's not like everybody is gonna switch banks because they sponsor the national team. I don't think they were doing that simply for the ROI. Nice try tho, business chap.
  • 12 0
 I too enjoy Returns On my Investments on my investments
  • 3 0
 @jaycubzz: I usually withdraw my ROI investment returns from the ATM machine using my PIN number.
  • 4 4
 @T-Bot: @T-Bot: the thing is, in the current world. Say Timex sponsors Ironman. Some internet nut goes out and finds that one of the competitors is a convicted sex thing you know the ONLY thing you see is that "Timex supports sex offenders" not the reality at hand. Then maybe they find out the sex offender rides a Specialized.........this is what is wrong with the "Woke".

As for morality? I do not care if my broker burns the whiskers off of kittens if he performs.
  • 1 0
 @Boosting: This type of communication operation is only for pure Notoriety and remain in the main brands clients can think of when looking for financial or banking services.Very very hard to quantify any real ROI for this type of communication but once your company has been that big and established it is something you need to do. Same as for Coke, McDo, Nike and so on. So throw away millions just to have your logo as often and everywhere as possible, Cycling, especially with the olympics is not a bad choice, but like someone said, it seems they have other concerns to deal with.
  • 18 9
 USA had 1 paid Track Cycling coach at the Rio Olympics. Great Britain had a caravan of 40-50 paid staff. Welcome to the real world GB.
  • 4 1
 Is it how they made medals? By burning monies?
  • 15 0
 And UK won 12 medals (6 gold) and the US 5 in total.
  • 14 1
 @watchmen: so by that math all the USA would need to beat the UK would be 2 more staff
  • 4 1
 @matt-15: Probably, we are infamously inept after all. The real obstacle would be those damned Aussies and the doubly damnable Dutch. They are very good a track cycling.
  • 27 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: Aussies are good at track cycling because here we have to fight the coriolis effect riding counter-clockwise in the v-drome. When we compete in the northern hemisphere it is like having extra watts. Science.
  • 1 0
 How many other coaches across cycling disciplines?

Every country pumps money in to home Olympic success - there’s a noted cycle of improved results 2 cycles before a home Olympics and 2 after. The money hose does a lot, and normally at some point, coupled with pressure to perform leads to ethical issues.
  • 5 1
 Well yeah, if this sport federation is involved with sexism, bullying and doping I get that the sponsor doesn't want to be associated with them anymore. Good to learn that it is playing fair and decent is what pays and making a mess of things actually implies that you're getting less money than you were hoping to get. HSBC is voting with their wallet.
  • 32 1
 Or, that wallet is particularly empty at the moment, hence the 35,000 redundancies. Banking has never been scared of bullying or sexism, or drugs.
  • 2 0
 @tomhoward379: With a few exceptions
  • 10 4
 Brexit when you can!
  • 2 0
 Dont like the bike dont buy it, vote with your wallet they say. Dont like HSBC puling out, vote with your wallet and open accounts etc. Kind of exposes how mental that notion is.
  • 4 0
 33% drop in profits might have summat to do with it
  • 3 0
 First signs of the next global financial crisis.
  • 4 0
 They probably have some illegal logging operation to bankroll again...
  • 2 0
 "Illegal logging". That's a fresh way to put it.
  • 5 0
 I still remember the smirk on HSBC Vehicle Finance's bosses face when someone read out a script say that we were all fired in favour of some Sri Lankans. Still, I f*cked off to Whistler off the back of it and never went back, so the joke's on you Big Grin
  • 2 0
 HSBC should not be using my money on this money pit, no returns what so ever!
  • 2 0
 BC put all their money into road cycling anyway. Would love to see them do more with MTB / BMX
  • 1 0
 A couple of years ago British Cycling had people here for a local XC race here in Basel just before the Lenzerheide WC. The HSBC branding was pretty noticeable!
  • 2 0
 They have to focus their efforts on laundering terrorist's money and helping out the cartels.......
  • 2 0
 First step in making a great empire.
  • 4 3
 All athletes worldwide better get used to the idea that the Olympics will not happen this year, or maybe ever again.
  • 7 2
 Oh yeah, absolutely. Olympics is sooo four years ago. It is time to scrap the whole thing.
  • 2 1
 @vinay: COVID 19 is now, though.
  • 5 0
 @Feideaux: Im with you on this. Cronovirus is likely to put a stop on the olympics especially given its in Asia. Given $100 billion was wiped off the Stock Exchange today because of it, the Olympics is mere small change. Time will tell.
  • 4 1
 @Feideaux: Nah, I just hate the Olympics. The idea of having top athletes together in one place and celebrate sport was a cool and romantic one. But as I grew older I realized it is also a big shitshow of nationalism, manipulation, ego and money grabbing over the bags of athletes and people who happen to live in the place that has to be cleared for the construction of the olympic village.To then be left with a load of concrete which in most cases is useless for the people living there. In the UK and Japan the situation is obviously better than in China and Brazil but most of it is still pretty messed up. So if they ditch the Olympics for once and for all I'm happy.
  • 2 0
 It must seem like the skye is falling for British cycling fans.
  • 5 0
 Skye isn't failing, it's seems that way because of rising sea levels.
  • 1 0
 Was banking on that cash...
  • 2 0
 Welcome to Australia...
  • 1 0
 bc shit show strikes again
  • 1 0
 haha the little bike industry getting pushed around
  • 2 1
 HSBC is Brexiting.
  • 5 6
 At least they can say their not part of the EU union. That’s something that should keep them happy we’ll passed 2024.
  • 26 0
 Everyone can say they are not part of the European Union union.

Let’s hope UK kingdom and the USA of America can strike a trade deal.
  • 10 0
 @Mojo348 nicely said German man
  • 8 10
 Love Europe, love our European cousins, hate the EU. @Mojo348:
  • 2 1
 @Mojo348: genuine lolz. Thank you.
  • 15 5
 @CrispyNuggs: cause it provided much needed promise of war free Europe after the disasters of early XX century? Cause it let European countries to form an unprecedented cooperation on many different levels? Cause borders disappeared?
  • 3 4
 @dj100procentenduro: Im neither for nor against but there are more than a few countries wishing they could control their boarders right now.....
  • 6 0
 @ilovedust: some can even spell the word
  • 5 0
 @egb81: their snowboarders are out of control. I saw one crash into the lift line yesterday.
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