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HSBC cuts short main sponsorship of British Cycling

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Global bank HSBC has exercised a break clause in its main sponsor contract with British Cycling.

The eight-year deal between the two organisations began in 2017 and had been set to run until 2024, but will now end after the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo. Industry experts valued the sponsorship at between £2.5m (€3m/$3.2m) and £3m per year.

The association was ended by HSBC due to a shift in its marketing and partnership priorities within the UK.

It follows news in December 2019 that the company would not be renewing its A$1.5m- (€912,000, $918,000) per-year sponsorship deal with Rugby Australia.

The bank recently announced it would cut costs by around $4.5bn by 2022 after losses increased by almost a third in 2019.

For British Cycling it represents the loss of a deal which has been described by its chief executive as a ”huge moment”, when it was announced that HSBC would replace Sky as the organisation’s main sponsor.

British Cycling will now seek to find a replacement contract, though industry experts feel it is unlikely this will match the value of the HSBC deal.

Ian Stuart, chief executive of HSBC UK, said: “We are extremely proud of what our partnership has delivered over the last three years and excited about what it can achieve this year. When we set off on this journey together we wanted to get two million people cycling regularly and we’re on track to smash through that this year.

“We wanted this partnership to create a legacy and it has. It has changed the way we approach things as a company as we encourage our customers and our colleagues to make healthier and greener choices.”

Julie Harrington, chief executive of British Cycling, added: “On course to get over two million people cycling regularly, British Cycling’s partnership with HSBC UK has delivered lasting benefits for our sport and for communities up and down the country. We will part with HSBC UK as firm friends and, in the meantime, look forward to working with them to support our riders to achieve their best in Tokyo.”