PROTOUCH™ is an African Sports brand, focussed solely on enabling African Athletes to perform on the World Stage. Our aim is to first revolutionize Professional Cycling in South Africa, by building a sustainable business [beyond sponsorships] that supports high performance. Then, we plan to replicate this model into other territories in Africa – to enable more African athletes too.
WHY DO WE EXIST?
Professional Cycling is one of the oldest professional sports, with origins that are deeply rooted in tradition and passion for over 100 years. However, it is still commercially underdeveloped, with a massive reliance on sponsorship as its only source of revenue. This model has not evolved and impacts heavily on its future.
The majority of sports, have a business model that allows teams to operate as businesses – teams cover their costs by selling tickets to matches and, merchandise like jerseys, flags, banners and sports equipment to their fans. They charge brands money to endorse their products and put their logo on a variety of items and, they sell the broadcast rights to their events to make even more money. This allows teams to be profitable and, team owners to earn dividends or invest back into these team to buy better players, staff, and equipment so the next year can be even more successful.
In professional cycling, teams cannot do this. There is no stadium or venue for teams to charge an entry fee. The teams do not produce the equipment or the clothing, so they do not make money from sales. The teams do not organise the races, so they do not make money from the television rights to those races.
In its current form, the business model of professional cycling is not a business model – it is essentially a charity model! There is no way to make money other than to raise revenue from sponsors and donations. This means that professional cycling teams do not aim to be profitable, Teams simply try to ensure they survive and can race in the following season. Professional Cycling has simply not evolved…
A NEED FOR CHANGE!
If it is to survive, Professional Cycling must reduce its reliance on sponsorship, and develop new ways of creating revenue for the sport. Alternative incomes from offerings that engage the cycling enthusiast fan base – as well as new audiences – is the most important economic driver for survival of the sport.
Centred around the number one UCI-ranked Continental Road Cycling Team in Africa – PROTOUCH Pro Cycling – we have assembled an ecosystem that encompasses a range of commercial initiatives, focussed on unlocking value for fans, athletes, brands and investors.
COMING IN 2021
WE HAVE CREATED A NEW BUSINESS MODEL – an integrated African Sports Brand, comprised of multi-Continental and National Team partnerships, alongside athlete agency and development – interconnected through content, distribution and fan engagement – and, enabled by Blocksport.
Launching in 2021. We are building an aggregated Pan African Cycling FAN ENGAGEMENT & ATHLETE IMPACT PLATFORM, where cycling enthusiasts can enjoy the latest Team and Athlete-related news, statistics, race and athlete rankings and fan experiences.
With aggregated social media and moderated fan chat, we aim to help African Cycling Teams and Athletes engage and manage fan communities and drive new revenues from merchandise, crowdfunding, sports betting, broadcasting content and brand activation.
We have building our ecosystem since 2017, here is a snap shot of what we have created to support more sustainable Professional Cycling in Africa:
THE PROTOUCH™ PRO CYCLING TEAM is the top-ranked Continental Team in Africa, based on UCI Points it is ranked 5th in Asia and at the end of 2019 was in the Top 25 ranked Continental Teams in the World. Recently we announced our plan to launch an e-Sports Development Team, aimed at 13 – 18 year olds and focussed on the new virtual platform racing. Read more about Our Story HERE.
SUPPORT SA TALENT™ was created as a platform upon which, to recognise performance and build athlete-funding opportunities. The SUPPORT SA TALENT™ Project includes: Our National Road Cycling Series – which tracks and ranks over 1 000 athletes, across 20 road cycling events annually – and, recognises and awards talent [across 14 categories] at the annual Awards Event, hosted by Phil Liggett; Our Virtual Racing Series – launched during Covid-19 Lockdown, the Series has over 260 registered South African riders, who have participated in 17-weeks of competition, using our own registered event on the Zwift Platform; Our newly launched Marketplace – where cycling enthusiasts can access preferentially-priced products (10% off site-wide), with 10 – 15% rebates paid into The Phil Liggett Foundation.
We have a range of new Support SA Talent initiatives and events planned for 2021 and beyond, including the introduction of a new Pro Racing League and a broadcast rights property bringing more local racing to the fans.
FUND YOUR PASSION™ provides a crowdfunding capability; an Athlete Impact Investment Fund, that leverages the SA National Treasury-approved Section 12J Investment Channel; and, our soon-to-be-launched Athlete Rewards Programme.
TOUR DE AFRICA™ is a Grand Tour Pursuit – LAUNCHING IN 2021 – to take-on over twenty one iconic routes from South Africa and, our Continent – covering over 1 000km and 13 000m of vertical elevation. By participating in this Pursuit, cycling enthusiasts will be featured on our leader boards, earn points for completing segments and improving their rank and, bonus points for participating in Real-Life Pursuits. These points accumulate to crown the overall Tour de Africa Champion in 2021 and enable the unlocking of even more rewards, as part of our Athlete Rewards Programme.
THE PHIL LIGGETT FOUNDATION™ – in partnership with the Global Voice of Cycling – is a non-profit organisation set up to further enable South African athletes onto the World Stage. It is focussed on raising funds for athletes participating in UCI Continental Teams and SA National Team and, supported by National Road Champions, Ryan Gibbons and Ashleigh Moolman Pasio as well as ex professional SA rider, commentator Johnny Koen.
“With only two African riders on the start list of the 2019 and 2020 Tour de France and, South Africa [as the Top Cycling nation in Africa] having only just qualified for just three invitation for the Tokyo Olympics – investing in this dream could not have come at a more opportune time in African Cycling” – Phil Liggett.