Despite being a new company, Vulpine immediately looked to invest in women’s cycling via the Matrix Fitness team. Following the publication of an article written between Stef Wyman and Vulpine founder Nick Hussey, about the costs of running a women’s team, Nick took the bold step to move up to co-title sponsor with Matrix for 2014. Team “Matrix Fitness – Vulpine” followed and thanks in no small part to Nick’s investment, as well as his passion and drive behind the scenes, the team has had a stand-out season.
An invitation to the first Friends Life Women’s Tour set the scene for a great year and the team took the opportunity with both hands. Nick, and Vulpine, were a key part of the success in the team, as they lined up against the worlds best day after day in some of the most testing conditions seen during the road season. The photo’s diaries produced each day by Vulpine photographer Paul Calver documented the team as it took on its biggest challenge to date, and showed a young team at work and at play, on the bike, as well as behind the scenes.
With Matrix Fitness so happy with 2014’s season, thus ramping up their sponsorship level to grab sole title sponsor in 2015, Vulpine won’t feature in the team name for 2015. They will still be an important part of the set up as they continue to be official supplier of casual clothing for the riders off the bike. Their stylish and practical designs will now be seen at the worlds leading races as “Matrix Fitness” pursue a race calendar that includes Tour of Flanders, Fleche Wallonne and La Course. On top of this the team will be hoping to take on its home tour in June and see major progress in the Friends Life Tour.
“It’s safe to say, Nick has helped put us on the map. He’s a driver behind the scenes, as well as a vocal supporter of the team, and the sport, in the public eye. Vulpine might be unable to take a title sponsor slot this year, but they are not gone from the team. Nick has stated that he wants to be involved long term and even tried to become the key title sponsor himself. It says a lot about the incredible progress of women’s cycling, that we now have this competition for sponsorship. I know Nick is disappointed not to be able to hang onto title sponsorship, but is overjoyed that the sport is now demonstrating such fantastic returns for sposnors, that he couldn’t quite keep up this time.
Vulpine will still be a key player, for the third year in their third year of existence, and there is certainly no reason why we wont see Vulpine coming back as a title sponsor in the future. I know that Nick is already looking into making this happen.” Commented team manager Stefan Wyman
With Vulpine no longer in the team name, there is an opportunity for a new partner to step in and become part of the team. “The team will be launched as Matrix Fitness for 2015, but we certainly hope to attract further investment, now we can show incredible growth and media interest, from a team that works so closely with sponsors. With World Champions joining the team from 1st January, we feel that we can be a very good team for prospective sponsors. The team has a proven track record of rewarding sponsors and has build an exceptional behind the scenes team, including Nick, who look to innovate and reward at every opportunity.”
Nick commented, “I sponsor the team for many reasons. Some personal, many business. Stef excels at combining real world business acumen with unfakeable passion for cycling and his riders. He chooses riders who are more than just their results; people the public want to support. He gets marketing better than most marketing managers. He’s pragmatic but knows where the line is. I’ve got huge value out of my sponsorship so far, and intend to continue long term and ramp up as we grow. It’s huge fun, personally, and our proportion of sales to women has leapt from 15% in 2013 to 31% in 2014. We have nearly quadrupled revenue in women’s cycling overall. I want potential sponsors to know this, because it gives me great pleasure to see the progress women’s cycling is making, particularly in Stef’s team. Anything who says women’s cycling isn’t commercially viable for sponsors needs to sit and have a chat with me!”