A Jumbo-sized budget hole?

Jumbo-Visma rose from a team with no title sponsor to one of the biggest and best in the sport. But it may be on the hunt again for a backer.

One of cycling’s most powerful teams might need a new sponsor after next season. (Photo © Cor Vos)

After the year Jumbo-Visma had in 2022, the last thing they probably would have foreseen for 2023 was to find the backing of one of their title sponsors in doubt, yet the supermarket chain Jumbo are reportedly considering ending support amid a reassessment of their sporting sponsorship as a whole.

In contrast to the team’s on-the-bike success, the Jumbo supermarket brand had a year to forget, with its then-CEO Frits van Eerd forced to step down in late September after being arrested in a suspected money laundering case, with police later finding hundreds of thousands of Euros at his home. Frits’ father, Karel, the founder of Jumbo, then died in December at the age of 84.

Naturally, the company is taking stock after such a period of turbulence, and due to the connection of Frits’ alleged money laundering case with motorsport, it had already been announced that the brand would be pulling all deals in that area apart from the agreement with Dutch Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen.

New sponsor alert?! If only there was a deep-pocketed, multinational brand with long experience in cycling. (Photo © Nico Vereecken/PN/Cor Vos)

But further change may be coming. While Frits van Eerd’s departure was initially characterized as temporary, the March 2023 appointment of Ton van Veen as new CEO (and the elevation of Frits’ sister, Colette, as board chair) indicates there’s no going back.

And the latest whispers heard by Dutch outlet AD suggests that the sponsorship situation is far from settled; Verstappen’s deal as well as the Jumbo-Visma cycling and skating sponsorships are now potentially on the chopping block. Nothing is decided yet, though, and the current deal until the end of 2024 for the cycling and skating squads will be honoured.

Jumbo’s current spending for its sport sponsorship budget totals around €20 million a year, and was undertaken at the behest of Karel van Eerd, but according to AD, the current management feels it may have already maximised the brand awareness to be gained from such promotion. Jumbo have sponsored the men’s cycling team since 2015, and the team told AD they are closely monitoring the situation with their sponsor.

What did you think of this story?