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USPS Sponsorship of cycling team(27 posts)

USPS Sponsorship of cycling teamfunknuggets
Jul 25, 2002 7:50 AM
Any other cyclist being pressed on this. We had a discussion at lunch at work the other day about it. Some guy brought it up on the local sports channel the other night and voiced that he thought it was ludicrous. It prompted an hour and a half debate on the sports radio station as to whether or not USPS was justified in its expendature. I was pretty miffed to say the least.

I had seen this thread earlier and had lots of ammunition, but didnt get in. Their basic position against it is that the average citizen is paying more for stamps to pay for this team and it is a government agency. Plus, since they have a "monopoly" on letter service, why do they have to advertise overseas. Im still a bit miffed. Anyone else hearing this media arguement? They even prompted listeners to call their congressman and complain... can you believe that?
F### your co-workers and their candy-a55 opinions...eschelon
Jul 25, 2002 8:01 AM
The USPS is not government organization. It is domestic monopoly that is REGULATED by the government as far as pricing goes. The government does not give the USPS any money. The USPS asks the government if they can raise the rates. Our government does not subsidize the USPS organization. The USPS team was not created so that everyone is America is reminded to mail their letters through USPS. It was created to improve services/sales figures of package delivery against their competition: FedEx, UPS, Airborne Express, etc.

Your co-workers are a bunch of overweight, football jersey wearing poseur candy-asses who are vicariously living their glory days of playing pathetic high school football by celebrating everytime they see their favorite football player shakin' their asses on national tv in their tight, shiney knickers with the drawstring crotch and smacking each other on their asses.
don't hold back; tell us how you really feelFez
Jul 25, 2002 8:21 AM
i think its great usps is sponsoring the team, and i see it as a shrewd business move. advertising to get the same exposure (both yearround and during the TDF) would probably cost far more. and it sure doesn't hurt that usps is sponsoring the team with the 3 time tdf champion rather than an average team with no star.

but i was wondering exactly how much USPS is kicking in for sponsorship and how much the other sponsors are as well. Anyone know?
I'm cutting and saving this reply. n/mfracisco
Jul 25, 2002 8:29 AM
n/m
What about being Federal workers??longfellow68
Jul 25, 2002 9:16 AM
Aren't the mailmen federal workers? How does that fit in??
Federal workers?...does it matter?...it's moot.eschelon
Jul 25, 2002 9:24 AM
Wow, well said! I love the last parasentance!rwbadley
Jul 25, 2002 10:35 AM
We must work with the same guys!!!
Ummm, no. It is a federal agencyjtolleson
Jul 25, 2002 11:26 AM
Headed by the Postmaster General, part of the cabinet. It's employees are federal workers, and it is funded by the budget approved each year by Congress. It is not just a private service with a government monopoly.

Can't decide how I feel about the underlying issue, but did want to clarify this point.
Damn...you shot my argument to hell. Anyway, grab your pitchforkeschelon
Jul 25, 2002 11:30 AM
Postmaster General is no longer part of the Cabinet...TJeanloz
Jul 25, 2002 11:58 AM
The P-Master General was demoted, in 1971, to being a non-cabinet level position.
re: USPS Sponsorship of cycling teamIseemo
Jul 25, 2002 8:16 AM
I think this was prompted by 20/20 on Friday night (John Stossel's rant?). He brought up this issue as he bashed the postal service. (Happened to catch the end of it as I switched from OLN).

Echelon provided some good ammo for your counter-argument.

I disagree with most folks re. their rant about the USPS. For such a cheap price, I believe I receive exceptional service.

But, as echelon said, their purpose for sponsoring a team is to increase overseas exposure - which they absolutely have done. I'm sure they're constantly evaluating if they're getting any bang for the buck (as all sponsors do).
I have heard that USPS sponsors the team for the European, notbill
Jul 25, 2002 8:17 AM
domestic market. Apparently, USPS believed that it would help them compete with the big carriers in Europe, where shippers have a choice to use USPS or other global carriers. This is just what I had heard -- I have no knowledge of the European shipping market, and I don't know, but am curious, as to whether USPS delivers anywhere but to the US -- anyone know?
I also would think that the cycling team is a miniscule part of the USPS budget. If gas goes up or down a penny, it has to be a far, far, far bigger deal. For this money, they have a (relatively) huge star in Lance Armstrong, a good-looking, charismatic, winning star who also happens to be, by all accounts, a very decent guy. Image being everything, what's not to like?
What everyone forgets about the USPS is...tyrius
Jul 25, 2002 8:18 AM
they also are competing against FedEx, et. al. for package delivery. Sure they have a monopoly on letter carrying, but I don't think they make s#!t doing that. Think about what you get for 37 cents. You get your letter mailed through a reliable (most of the time) organization and it really doesn't take that long to get to it's destination. So, USPS is basically promoting their package delivery service worldwide and they get a ton of exposure through the team.

Plus, I think it's great that an American rider is kicking a$$ in the Tour for an American team.

Nothing like Americans only thinking about what happens within our borders.

Just my 2cents.
re: USPS Sponsorship of cycling teambikedodger
Jul 25, 2002 8:22 AM
Just curious,

Would your opinion of USPS sponsorship change if instead of a bike team, they sponsored a F1 racing team?

Mike
re: USPS Sponsorship of cycling teamnovagator
Jul 25, 2002 9:29 AM
If I remember correctly, a couple of the Armed Forces are sponsoring racing teams (maybe Busch series?). And they are smart to do so, they are advertising to one of their target audiences - young, white, lower income, males. USPS probably spends maybe $3M on the cycling team, and that is to increase exposure overseas for their Global Delivery Service. I for one have to say that I have no problems with the USPS domestic service and $0.37 for a first class letter is a steal.
re: USPS Sponsorship of cycling teamklay
Jul 25, 2002 8:24 AM
Well, the USPS has had to "act" like a private company for the last 20 years and have lost any tax-subsidies they might have received in the past. Part of trying to be profitable is advertising and marketing the delivery services that they sell in Europe. (These are in addition to their domestic first class services). This puts them in competition with UPS, FedEx, and DHL. The US govt. shouldn't ask them to be responsible for their own profit and then handcuff them in their efforts to be profitable. That would only lead to higher stamp prices...

IMO - They are getting a lot of bang for their buck in terms of advertising.

K
Now.....african
Jul 25, 2002 8:42 AM
If they sponsored Jeff Gordon in a nascar and Lance on a bike, hell we would get on well with all the redneck a55 oles out there on the road.
USPS did want to sponsor NASCAR...eschelon
Jul 25, 2002 8:45 AM
but they said it was too expensive.
Image: Lance vs. "Going Postal" & Cliff ClavenPdxMark
Jul 25, 2002 9:24 AM
I'm not a marketing guy, nor do I pretend to play one, but here's one thought about possible benefits of the USPS sponsorship...

One aspect of advertising is the creation of "image." In competing with express carriers (FedEx) and even surface carriers like UPS, USPS has long suffered from a comparatively mediocre or poor reputation (whether or not deserved). How long ago was it that USPS was mostly associated with sit-com character Cliff Claven or "going Postal?" With Lance & the Postal Team, USPS seems to want to re-make it's image into one of a lean, fast, successful organization. It's a marketing scheme that's made Nike huge and has been adopted by ALOT of businesses.

$5 -$8 million per year seems like a paltry sum to change how a multi-billion dollar business is perceived by customers in a very competitive market.
First class idiots IMHOAllisonHayes
Jul 25, 2002 9:29 AM
Lance delivers!
Stamp out the naysayers!
Express your opinion, don't let cyclists be second class!
Tell 'em to zip their lips!
Address your concerns to your congressman!
Make this your priority
Go Postal!

My 37 cents
No prblem with it even if I am not a cyclistelviento
Jul 25, 2002 10:06 AM
Anyone who knows about major corporations the size of USPS will know that 8 million dollars is like nothing. As I pointed out, Merrill Lynch spends $300 million on stationery EACH YEAR.

Cyclist or not, I'd still think they got a pretty damn good deal out of it.

BTW, advertising doesn't just increase YOUR SHARE of the pie; it helps increase the size of the entire pie as well.

I think those self-appointed business executives that think they are the superior judge of a pure business decision, they can just shut the **** up.
A few things...funknuggets
Jul 25, 2002 10:41 AM
I agree, Im totally for the USPS sponsorship, but wanted to clear up a few things...

Quote: "The government does not give the USPS any money." I read or heard somewhere that last year, the US govt subsidized in the realm of $125 million to the USPS. So it is more like an Amtrak scenario.

Quote: "The USPS is not government organization." Postal workers get federal benefits.

I think it is a wise advertising move as far as media exposure, but I think that the most intelligent argument that I have heard is why to advertise US Postal Services period, when there is a monopoly on the letter service. Instead, they say they should be marketing the team as the Overnight Delivery or something like that which would more directly be in competition with UPS or Airborne Express, or the foreign package delivery services.

Plus, it seems that many of these invalids think that the USPS is sponsoring them just for this race, instead of the 20 or so that they are in. Plus, when they train here in the states, or overseas for that matter... are they obligated to wear their logoed attire? Regardless, for the number of pics plastered on merchandise, newspapers, magazines, television, and internet... and screensavers (the look!!!), I think it is a solid use of advertising dollars. Plus, one article quoted that this annual expense is 6% of their annual advertising budget. If I were a taxpayer, I would be pissed at where the other 94% is being used...
talking to myself.... point-counterpointfunknuggets
Jul 25, 2002 10:46 AM
Another point people are saying is that the govt subsidy and the price of stamps is the "public's" money. Perhaps this advertising campaign is designed to increase income, to potentially decrease the amount of subsidy that they require, thus decreasing the "tax burden" of the public.

But then again, I think that the USPS lost quite a bit of money last year...
No competition for USPS? What the....DrPete
Jul 25, 2002 11:14 AM
USPS competes, and they do it with the likes of UPS, FedEx, Airborne Express, and whoever else is delivering letters these days. I use USPS services more often as a result of their support of cycling.

What kills me are people who complain about the price of a friggin' stamp like it's going to break the bank. Let's see, how many stamps does USPS have to buy to get Lance his new wheels? Ya think that maybe the manufacturer supplies them, if not for free then at a huge discount? It's good for them, too. I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, the fact that 1) our mail is now protected to some extent from biological warfare agents and 2) more and more correspondence is sent by e-mail might have something to do with the price increase. I'm guessing that the cycling team is less than one half of one percent of the USPS operating budget.

As far as the federal agency thing.... The armed forces advertise, various government agencies buy TV spots to talk about whatever, and USPS does it because they have to compete. There's no rule against it.

Here's the big question, then... Why does Deutsche Telekom, the ONLY choice for phone service in Germany AND a federally-controlled agency, sponsor a team?
re: it is actually profitable for USPScyclopathic
Jul 25, 2002 11:40 AM
I've seen an article somewhere with cost analysis showing that it costs less for USPS then advertising and far more effective. It also stated that it is very profitable (~4$ for every 1$ invested), but being a sceptic I wasn't quite convinced that all new business USPS got should be contributed to USPS cycling team performance.
(long read) Response to Radio Hostfunknuggets
Jul 25, 2002 2:03 PM
I think we are dancing along a margin. As a cyclist and a business-type person, I really have no problem with the USPS sponsoring a team. Why is it the public's money? In the face of decreasing usage of typical mail services due to internet, electronic bill pay services, and online payment.. .the face of mail business has changed. The volume of standard mail is down, when that is where the USPS gets 98% of their revenue. So, they have to look at other markets... foreign markets, parcel services, express delivery... where they compete against private companies such as UPS and Airborne Express, Mailboxes Etc, bike messengers, etc. UPS sponsors a NASCAR where the UPS name wheels around in front of millions of NASCAR fans every single Sunday. USPS has to compete against that. So, suppose they continue to lose market share by NOT marketing in these areas and the usage of stamps continues to decrease, the USPS's reliance upon federal subsidies will actually INCREASE, thus taking even MORE taxpayer dollars on top of a likely increase in postage. Did you realize that the USPS got federal money in the arena of $125 million last year?

Please keep in mind that the money that USPS pledged to the US Postal Team is in the area of 5-7 million a year. That is 6% of their annual advertising budget. If I were a taxpayer, I would be pissed at where ever the other 94% is going. At least you see this one. The USPS Team goes to approximately 20-30 events a year, there are 15 members of the team, they all contractually must train and race with their sponsors logos. Now think of this, imagine how many zillions of images and such that are plastered on newspapers, memorabilia, magazines, websites, television, and even spoken on broadcasts. The expendature of 7 million for millions and millions of times that USPS is being seen or heard by easily hundreds of millions of people is a freaking steal! Did you know that during ONE stage of the Tour de France in Germany that there were over 1 million spectators along the course? Think if you were a stockholder of a company that advertises during the super bowl. 20 million for 30 seconds... please. USPS has one of the best marketing deals on the planet.

Then you have to think of intangible things, the association with one of the most amazing sports stories in history. In response to the negative publicity that the USPS got in the 80's and early 90's with its employees going "postal" doesn't exactly ring a positive image. So, tie yourself with an amazingly successful team and with a feel-good story and what you have is a cheap way to bring about more positive image of your organization. Not to mention that they are associated with speed through rain, sun, mountains...etc... it kind of goes along with their motto (through rain, sleet, snow...etc)... right?

Now, think about the cycling industry in the United States...4.2 billion dollars (US DEPT OF COMMERCE) in retail sales last year, not including internet sales and auctions. Suppose 1/10 of those businesses and individuals switch to USPS from UPS simply because of their affiliation with the USPS team and Lance Armstrong... suppose shipping costs are 1/10 of total cost... you know what the revenue difference would be? 42 MILLION a YEAR in retail sales alone. Tell me that is a bad usage of "taxpayer" dollars.

As to the fact that they do not advertise a specific service, such as express delivery vs UPS, or overnight delivery vs Airborne Express. Please keep in mind that these are specific services and require specific advertising campaigns for each one. For a parent company, it is not uncommon for the parent company to market, as opposed to marketing each and everyone of their products. For example... look at Hallmark... they advertise themselves, as opposed to all of their products (ie: advertising crayon products will not increase the sale of cards...).

Use your calculator and not your head, it would be a m
(long read) Response to Radio Host (cont)funknuggets
Jul 25, 2002 2:05 PM
cut it off...

Use your calculator and not your head, it would be a more effective use of your airtime.