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Going Postal
July 24, 2000
Q Why does the U.S. Postal Service sponsor a cycling team?
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July 24, 2000

Going Postal

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Q Why does the U.S. Postal Service sponsor a cycling team?

A Sure, having Lance Armstrong (left) as your human billboard is great, but if you're a federal agency looking for an endorsement deal—which is odd to begin with—why pick a sport that's far more popular outside the U.S.? "Marketing," explains team coordinator Bob McKenna. "We do it because a surprisingly large number of companies have interests in cycling: Visa, Yahoo!, Nike. We use the team to develop relationships with these and other sponsors." (Unlike most other government entities, the Postal Service has corporate competitors, such as FedEx.) Still, do you really want people picturing bicycles as they get ready to overnight their packages? "The cycling team is a metaphor for the postal service as a whole: Training, planning, teamwork and effort add up to a win," says McKenna. Besides, he adds of the sponsorship, which runs in the low seven figures, "our budget's tight. We can afford cycling. NASCAR's too rich for our blood."

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