Sky has announced that 2019 will be the final year of its involvement in cycling, drawing to a close an association spanning more than a decade.
The move will bring to a conclusion the pay TV operator’s ownership and sponsorship of the successful Team Sky UK cycling team, which will continue to race under a different name if a new backer is secured to provide funding from the beginning of 2020. The team will compete as Team Sky for the last time throughout the 2019 road racing season
Team Sky cyclists have won six of the last seven Tour de France races.
Sky’s decision to step back comes as 21st Century Fox, which owns a minority stake in Team Sky but which has now sold its stake in Sky to Comcast, also confirmed that 2019 will be the last year of its involvement in cycling. The pair said that they and Team Sky’s management will give careful consideration to approaches from third parties with an interest in working with one of the world’s most successful sports teams.
Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Group CEO, said: “We came into cycling with the aim of using elite success to inspire greater participation at all levels. After more than a decade of involvement, I couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved with Team Sky and our long-standing partners at British Cycling. But the end of 2019 is the right time for us to move on as we open a new chapter in Sky’s story and turn our focus to different initiatives including our Sky Ocean Rescue campaign. I’d like to pay a special tribute to Dave Brailsford and the immensely talented team of riders and staff he has assembled at Team Sky. What they have achieved together would have been beyond the dreams of many just a few years ago. We thank you for joining with us on this journey and look forward to enjoying our last season of racing together.”
Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Sky Principal, said: “The vision for Team Sky began with the ambition to build a clean, winning team around a core of British riders and staff. The team’s success has been the result of the talent, dedication and hard work of a remarkable group of people who have constantly challenged themselves to scale new heights of performance. None of this would have been possible without Sky. We are proud of the part we have played in Britain’s transformation into a cycling nation over the last decade. While Sky will be moving on at the end of next year, the Team is open minded about the future and the potential of working with a new partner, should the right opportunity present itself. For now, I would like to thank all Team Sky riders and staff, past and present – and above all the fans who have supported us on this adventure. We aren’t finished yet by any means. There is another exciting year of racing ahead of us and we will be doing everything we can to deliver more Team Sky success in 2019.”