February 7, 2006 – The top professional cycling stage race in North America will have a new and engaging brand identity, as the Georgia Ford Dealers have agreed to a title sponsorship for the Ford Tour de Georgia. The 2006 Ford Tour de Georgia, the premier cycling event and rolling festival conducted each spring, will take place Tuesday, April 18 to Sunday, April 23, and will continue to benefit the Georgia Cancer Coalition.
“The Georgia Ford Dealers are excited to play a leadership role in this emerging property, and to support the event’s core objectives by promoting cycling, good health and the Georgia Cancer Coalition. When we say Ford is built for the road ahead, we can clearly exemplify that brand message with a world-class cycling event like the Ford Tour de Georgia through the Ford dealers and in the communities where we live and work,” said John Shoemaker, Past Chairman of the Atlanta District Ford Dealers Advertising Association. “This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the diverse beauty of our state, as well as the hospitality of its people. Ford dealers across the entire route, and across the state, are eager to activate both community and customer programs for the spring.”
Ford has 121 dealers in the state of Georgia and will partner with its official agency, J. Walter Thompson, for sponsorship activation. In addition to showcasing over 100 official Ford vehicles during the event, promotional plans include sweepstakes, a web-based affinity program, showroom promotions and a pre-event publicity tour. Purchase incentives and promotions to generate consumer traffic to the local dealerships will focus on April as the promotional window, creating attention for Fusion, Escape and F150 vehicles. The Ford Tour de Georgia launches a fresh logo treatment today in conjunction with this announcement and a new web site, www.fordtourdegeorgia.com
“We are very excited to announce this partnership and to align the event with such a favorable brand as Ford. The synergies with the communities are already very strong, and we look forward to unveiling our promotional programs that will excite people about the Tour and the Ford brand,” said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports, the sports marketing company licensed to operate the Tour.
The Atlanta District Ford Dealers Advertising Association will take the lead with the partnership. In the Southeast, the Association has contributed to many community organizations, such as the Komen Race For The Cure. For sports marketing, Ford has aligned with the Atlanta Falcons and several university athletic programs in the Southeast. One of the goals of Ford’s community involvement is to lead the way in corporate citizenship.
“Local Ford dealerships have played a major role in the economic and civic vitality of Georgia communities,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Craig Lesser. “Sponsorship of the Ford Tour de Georgia is a perfect fit Ë† the Tour is a shining example of how an event can combine elements of tourism, economic development and civic responsibility to make a positive impact on our state.”
Now a marquis race for national and international cycling teams, the Ford Tour de Georgia is one of the highest ranked stage races outside of Europe, being upgraded to a Hors Classe (2.HC) event by the Union Cycliste International (UCI).
“Ford’s commitment to the Ford Tour de Georgia is an essential element in the growth of both the event itself and the sport of cycling in the United States. Annually, this event makes legitimate strides in becoming a more prestigious event globally, so naturally an association with a company like Ford is a perfect complement,” said Gerard Bisceglia, Chief Executive Officer of USA Cycling. “Their continued support to cycling projects like the Ford Tour de Georgia, as well as an elite-level women’s mountain bike team Ford Cycling, represents a significant dedication to our sport.”
The Ford Tour de Georgia has gained international prominence as a sporting event, and has become a very effective platform in Georgia for the Georgia Cancer Coalition to promote its messages to state residents. With promotional support from local Ford dealers, the Georgia Cancer Coalition hopes to double the sale of the Georgia Breast Cancer license tags, which funds breast cancer screening and treatment services for Georgians in need.
“The Tour promotes so many things, most notably good health through exercise, good partnerships with our host cities and Tour sponsors, and great entertainment for our neighbors and visitors to enjoy. We are honored to have Ford help us as we continue to create a call to action to Georgians during the Tour, which is to win the race to defeat cancer,” said Bill Todd, president of the Georgia Cancer Coalition.
ABOUT THE FORD TOUR DE GEORGIA
The Ford Tour de Georgia is America’s premier, professional cycling event and rolling festival of community activities. The Tour is held annually in the spring with a varying route. It is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and USA Cycling (USAC) as a 2.HC rating, making the event one of the top stage races for elite athletes around the world. The 2005 Tour was won by Tom Danielson (USA) of the Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team; champions from previous years include Lance Armstrong (USA) in 2004 and Chris Horner (USA) 2003. The Tour’s official beneficiary is the Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCC). The Ford Tour de Georgia is owned by The Georgia Partnership for Economic Development (GPED) and is managed by Medalist Sports. Merchandise and the latest updates are available at the official website, www.fordtourdegeorgia.com
ABOUT THE GEORGIA CANCER COALITION
The Georgia Cancer Coalition is an independent, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization located in downtown Atlanta. The Coalition was incorporated under the laws of the state of Georgia effective July 27, 2001. Both the Internal Revenue Service and the Georgia Department of Revenue have granted tax-exempt status to the Coalition. The mission of the Georgia Cancer Coalition is to reduce the number of cancer deaths in the state. In so doing, Georgia intends to become a national leader in cancer control by accelerating prevention, early detection, treatment and research. The Georgia Cancer Coalition brings together leading Georgia hospitals, universities, biotech firms, civic groups, non-profits, and government agencies to provide cancer research, prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer. The Coalition was created to coordinate cancer-dedicated expenditures from the State’s share of the National Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund. The Coalition is reg istered as a Charitable Organization with the Secretary of State. The official website is www.georgiacancer.org .