'Challenging time for sponsorship'
Tour of Southland cycling organisers do not appear to be panicking, even though a naming rights sponsor has still to be confirmed for the November race.
Cycling Southland chief executive Nick Jeffrey said that despite being in discussions with Southland and national businesses, tour organisers were now reviewing the sponsorship structure and were having to look at having a family of sponsors.
''The opportunity that we have now is to have a bit of a look at how we deliver the event and fund the event,'' Jeffrey said.
PowerNet's naming rights ended in 2012 after 12 years, during which the tour confirmed its standing as one of the most successful and toughest multi-stage cycling races in New Zealand.
The tour, first raced in 1956, has secured a number of strong second-tier sponsors but lacks a top-level backer for the November 3 to 9 race.
''It's a challenging time to be in the market looking to secure sponsorship,'' Jeffrey said.
He understood that agreeing to be the naming rights sponsor was a ''major transaction'' for any business in a difficult economic climate.
Many events had also faced the same challenges to lock in funding, but Jeffrey believed it was possible.
The Tour of Southland was such a well-known and recognised event, which showcased Southland at its best on both a national and international stage, that he was ''comfortable'' with the position they were in.
They had been in ''well-progressed discussions'' with businesses for several months and, in some cases, even before the 2012 tour. Despite nothing eventuating, he was upbeat about one coming through.
They had been fortunate to have had PowerNet for such a long time, but all good things came to an end and it had provided them with the opportunity to re-evaluate and do things differently.
''It has been a good exercise for us,'' Jeffrey said.
- The Southland Times