Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Driven by Marketing the Giro Points to Globalization

Interesting, perhaps troubling, comments as they relate to German team NetApp being selected as the last wild card team for the 2012 Giro d'Italia, made by race director Mauro Vegni (see Michele Acquarone, Managing Director at RCS Sports, comments here).

"For some years now the Giro d'Italia has been aiming to be an international product: we need the Giro to be loved not only in Italy but also in the rest of the world. If we go somewhere in Europe, for example, the Giro d'Italia means little or nothing.

This year the wild cards protected the Italian heritage from the point of view of the presence of Androni-CIPI, who had won the Italian Championship last year, Farnese-Selle Italia and Colnago CSF. The selection of the fourth team was based upon a criteria related to marketing areas that are important to us, such as Germany. There was anger about the exclusion of Acqua&Sapone: from a purely technical point of of view the team is more capable than NetApp but in terms of the German market that NetApp opens to us we decided to invite NetApp. We received fourteen requests for invitations to the Giro. There were other teams that from a sporting point of view deserved to be selected more than NetApp but we wanted to select a team not only from a sporting view but also one that followed our marketing logic to make the Giro more international."

Team NetApp:

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  1. Wow! I guess I shouldn't be surprised but I am. Those words speak volumes and not in a good way. I'm very disappointed that marketing takes the front seat at the Giro...it makes me question whether or not I want to follow it this year.
    I love the Giro far more than the Tour and some of that stems from the fact it isn't the Tour...it lacks the marketing-driven atmosphere that has increasingly pervaded the Tour over the last 10 or so years. However, if the Giro wants to compete directly with the Tour it will lose. I hope this is only a blip on the screen and not the start of a trend.

  2. What's the old saying..."a camel is a horse designed by committee"? The singular, passionate vision of one man (Vincenzo Torriani, Angelo Zomegnan, etc.) is better than group-think. Another example of this wrong-headedness is the Giro asking the fans what stages they would like to see - the result is the Passo Stelvio finish, except they're going the wrong way! The famous 48 numbered switchbacks will be ignored as they climb from Bormio instead of Prato allo Stelvio. And the infamous Mortirolo looks to be climbed from the "wrong" side as well. We can only hope someone will emerge as benevolent dictator and seize control of La Corsa Rosa before it enters a dark period.