Veldhoven, The Netherlands — In June 2015, Amsterdam was named the second-most bike friendly city in the world by Wired magazine. In fact, the entire country is known for their avid cyclists. With so many people who bike daily, those who chose to do it professionally are highly regarded.
However, many of the ladies cyclists who race professionally on teams barely make enough money to make ends meet. This is where sponsors become crucial to the success of the athlete.
In 2012, Sengers Metaal of Luyksgestel, Netherlands decided to start the Sengers Ladies Cycling Team. Sengers Metaal provides steel parts for the A. O. Smith Veldhoven facility. This made it an easy choice when A. O. Smith decided to co-sponsor the team. At that time, 17 women competed for the Sengers Ladies Cycling Team, but in 2013 the team stopped competing. In 2015, A.O. Smith reconnected with ladies cycling through Sengers Metaal, becoming a co-sponsor of the Lensworld Zannata team.
“Ladies cycling is a sport that’s really gaining momentum and becoming more popular,” explained Ton van der Hamsvoort, managing director of A. O. Smith in Europe. “Sponsoring them is a good way to represent the company and become a part of the local community.”
As part of the co-sponsorship the A. O. Smith logo gets widely displayed on the team jerseys during televised events and on local websites. In exchange, the team’s new found recognition has helped establish ladies cycling as a more recognized sport.
However, co-sponsoring the team has also provided A. O. Smith with opportunities to further engage with the community; the cycling events are great places to gather with both employees and customers.
On Jan. 11, 2015 Veldhoven hosted the National Dutch Cyclo-cross Championship, sponsored locally by A. O. Smith. In support of the sport, A. O. Smith invited about 50 customers to attend both the men’s and women’s races. A cyclist sponsored by A. O. Smith, Mathieu Van der Poel, won the men’s race and two weeks later became the 2015 UCI Cyclo-cross world champion.
Having a community event that combines business interactions with the community allows A. O. Smith employees to get involved outside of the office.
“The company values really emphasize community presence,” said Ton. “We wanted to be a part of this, and sponsoring cyclists has been a good way to get involved and to spread the A. O. Smith name.”