Team Sky may have been handed a lifeline as parent company Comcast could part sponsor the team beyond 2019, according to reports.
The British WorldTour team’s main sponsor is due to pull out at the end of the 2019 season, but reports now suggest new plans for the team.
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Italian newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport reports that Comcast, the American communications giant that recently bought broadcaster Sky, may offer 70 per cent of the team’s budget through to 2021 while a new sponsor is found.
The Gazetta story was published as VeloNews reports that Professional Continental team Israel Cycling Academy has confirmed they are in talks to merge with WorldTour teams, potentially including Team Sky.
Comcast have reportedly offered Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford enough cash to fund 70 per cent of the budget for the 2020 and 2021 season, giving him the opportunity to find the remainder from another sponsor.
According to VeloNews Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylan Adams, the owner of the Israel Cycling Academy, is seeking a merger to ensure his team a spot at the Tour de France by 2020.
Adams said he is in talks with several WorldTour teams, but when asked whether he was seeking a merger with Sky, Adams wouldn’t confirm or deny.
He said: “There are several discussion happening with more than one WorldTour team.
“I cannot divulge too much right now and I don’t have any confirmation on any specific discussions with any specific teams, but that is on our radar screen.”
Last month, British broadcaster Sky announced that it would be pulling its sponsorship at the end of the 2019 season, leaving Team Sky without their main backer.
Brailsford has said he “can’t give any guarantees” but sees opportunities for the team to continue beyond next year.
The parent company Sky was recently taken over by American communication giant Comcast, leading to the departure of chairman James Murdoch, who had been a driving force behind the company’ cycling sponsorship.