Gloin22 wrote:Does winning matter ?
I mean HTC in example won ****loads and still ceased to exist.
Just because one team won a lot and couldn't find a sponsor doesn't mean winning is irrelevant, just that in HTC's case there were other issues. The team were probably also looking at a much higher wage bill or less beastly squad. A lot of stars on less money than they probably are now, so a sponsor is either looking at paying much more or getting much less than HTC did out of their sponsorship.
Their style of racing - racking up the numbers in sprint stages - made them very much a team to appeal to the casual fan. The casual fan, however, is generally most interested in "home" success. Despite the international squad, however, there was only one big winner: Cavendish. As such, they were probably best placed to appeal to the British fan. Unluckily for them, the British cycling market had recently been pretty much saturated by the SkyBorg.
Even if they had found a British sponsor, they would have struggled to finance any British leaders other than Cavendish. With Sky desperate for Brits to lead their squad, talented British riders to get the fans interested when Cav isn't riding would cost an absolute fortune. So a "British" identity was pretty much out of the question because of Sky, but any other would have been difficult because of Cav.
For those reasons they couldn't attract medium-sized domestic companies like Lotto or Omega Pharma, as they would have lacked sufficient penetration in any individual market to justify the sponsorship. As such, only transnational companies are going to be valid sponsors, which restricts the choice of sponsors. Those big companies don't want to risk cycling sponsorship and the potential fallout.
Winning might not guarantee you a sponsor, but it's certainly better than not winning.