The British Cycling governing body has today unveiled a major, long-term commercial partnership with the UK bank Lloyds.

Lloyds will immediately take up the position of title sponsor for the new Tour of Britain events which will begin in June with the first women’s edition, as outlined by a major events unveiling in February.

The agreement has been called one of the largest such commercial deals in UK sport covering a national governing body, worth a reported £20 million ($25 million).

Lloyds will sit at the top of the British Cycling commercial list in terms of the new tour, followed by a range of partners underneath (some of them yet to be announced). It becomes the first British Cycling lead commercial partner since global bank HSBC – that relationship ended in mid-2021, earlier than had originally been planned when an eight-year deal was struck in 2016.

It effectively gives commercial viability to the Tour of Britain, which was taken in-house by British Cycling late last year after the body split with previous event organizer SweetSpot (last year’s events were canceled after a title sponsor could not be found). SweetSpot subsequently went into liquidation.

In addition to the Tour of Britain element, Lloyds has secured title partnership rights for all British Cycling national series and national championship events, while the company logo will also feature on the team kit of the Great Britain cycling team.

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Lloyds returns to the sports sponsorship market after a lengthy gap – their last move in this sector came as a commercial partner of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

As well as putting its name to the Tour of Britain, Lloyds will title-sponsor “a suite of pioneering new events” to be organized by British Cycling under a five-year event plan detailed earlier this year.

This list includes an international urban cycling festival featuring BMX freestyle, and “the development of a national track league concept.”

Speaking at a virtual media briefing, British Cycling chief executive Jon Dutton (appointed to that role last April) said: “This deal is part of a bright new future – the history of British Cycling [referring to the SweetSpot issues] is well-documented, this presents an opportunity to behave and engage with our audience in a different way.

“Working with the board, we’ve made a bold and brave decision to take the tours in-house, there’s obviously an element of risk involved in that.

“We’ve been forward-looking, that’s taken some bravery … We want to behave in a modern way, and to engage with a younger audience … It’s about looking forward, not back.”

The previous Tour of Britain title partner was AJ Bell, the online investment platform, covering the 2022 races.

Back in February, Dutton said at that point that “commercial sponsorship will be a vital part of the cocktail of funding that will be needed to stage the two races,” and that conversations were beginning then.

Darren Henry, commercial executive at British Cycling, commented, meanwhile, that “this has come about quickly and we’ve been working at an incredibly fast pace to get it done.”

He added: “Lots of planning has already gone into various activations. This is taking control of our own destiny.

“Coming out of the market to redefine our commercial assets, and then going back to the market with a completely new proposition and brand, that’s all been very deliberate. Testament to that is the time – or lack of – we’ve taken to agree this deal.

“We definitely saw a good response to us going back to the market – with a fresh approach, involving the creation of new assets, such as new events, this message is definitely resonating.

“This is the start – we’ve got a number of conversations at a very advanced level which we’re looking to announce very soon as well.”

Henry also said there “will be plenty of opportunities for other brands to engage,” and that some of these would be non-endemic.

With the first edition of the new Women’s Tour of Britain set to begin in less than a fortnight, there has also been speculation over broadcast rights to the new-look event.

It is understood that all four stages will be covered live on free-to-air TV in the UK and that there will be further information on this front in the next week.