February 09, 2007
Discovery Channel's '07 season to be its last
The Discovery Channel team will spend at least some of its 2007 season seeking a new title sponsor, after a management shakeup at the network, according to Sal Ruibal at USA Today.
With Monday's departure of Discovery Network president Billy Campbell, a longtime supporter of the team, the network decided not to extend a 3-year contract that started in the 2005 season. That's when Lance Armstrong won his 7th consecutive Tour de France. The team was previously sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, which left the sport after negative publicity about the cost of its team sponsorship.
The AP quoted a Discovery Channel statement, which said the company “decided to aggressively shift our focus and resources to support our core business goals and objectives.”
With US national champion George Hincapie, defending Giro champion Ivan Basso, Levi Leipheimer, Yaroslav Popovych, and Tom Danielson, Tailwind Sports general manager Bill Stapleton should be well positioned to find a replacement sponsor.
On the other hand, the team has traditionally been sponsored by U.S. companies, which may be less likely to sponsor the team with Armstrong out of competition. The sport's continuous doping scandals may also discourage sponsors.