Friday, February 29, 2008

Team Polar Disbands

Team Polar started in 2006. The first year of the team was good. The second year of the team we started to really bloom. We did hundreds of presentations to triathlon, running and cycling clubs across the United States. I know I've done at least 30 presentations in two plus years. I've spoken to groups of 10 and 350. Today, we officially have learned that Polar marketing management has decided that in 2008 they will disband the team. They may "look at" bringing the team back in 2009 but I doubt it. I think this is probably due to budget. I don't know how the economy is by you...but here it isn't good. I know in March many major corporations are rumored to be announcing layoffs of thousands of people.

I am very sad. Not only because a sponsor (whose product I believe in and will continue to use) has decided not to keep a grass roots team out there, but because a lot of friends I've made along the way will now go our separate ways. There are a lot of us who will probably remain friends the rest of our lives; Ron, Laura, Barbara, Tony, Kimber to name just a few.

Dear Team Polar 2007 Athlete:

We have enjoyed working with you over the last year. Together, we believe we made great strides in educating the marketplace on the importance of heart rate based training, while proudly represented Polar both on and off the race course.

So, it is with great regret that we must inform you that Team Polar has been put on hold for the 2008 season. We appreciate all of your efforts and hope to work with you again in the future.

So off I go to try and find a new sponsor...in March.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous said...
    Bob,

    Regarding Polar disbanding the team, why is it important to find another sponsor? I've been on a "sponsored" team before and found it to be more of a distraction that anything else. I can't imagine that Polar would have provided much more than a free heart-rate monitor and some apparel. If you do have to find another team, perhaps you can contact Garmin and persuade them to start one up. FWIW, I think their products are superior anyways.

    March 3, 2008 11:55 AM


    Bob Mitera said...
    Being on a sponsored team is and isn't important all at once. The benefits as far as the latest heart rate training information has helped me make serious gains these last two years on the bike. I'm still no super star but that information has helped. Secondly, training with a group of Polar athletes helps. I train 98% of the time alone which is very hard. No masters swimming. No track groups...solo except for one bike ride a week. Being on a sponsored team provides the motivation to get my ass moving when I feel low.

    As far as Garmin goes, well...hospitals and cardiac units around the globe (as well as I) disagree with your feeling about Garmin. Polar is the gold/platinum standard in heart rate monitoring and the S3 foot pod works way better than the Garmin that one of my buddies has. He is always asking me how far have we gone and what is our pace.

    ************
    Post your name/location - it's ok to disagree and offer different opinions on my blog! Who knows, we all may learn from each other.

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  2. Bob,
    Sorry to hear this. If Polar was smart, they would keep some of you guys/girls that worked their asses off for them to the mainstream world of triathletes! You did a great job for them! :) Jen H.

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  3. Hi Jen - THANKS! Yes, we are working on something local. The Chicago team has a really strong relationship with each other (very supportive) and with Eric the regional sales manager. We've done a lot together in the first two years. Polar has a new director of marketing in the USA and he/she "feels that they should spend this money on television ads" - a direct quote. Since we really didn't cost much I have to question that thinking. I know that in the first two months of 2008 I have already spoken to 240 new triathletes about Polar products and how they work. Seems like cheap, grass roots advertising to me! I'll probably be sponsored "locally" from Eric. It opens more sponsorship opportunity for all of us by inviting other sponsors in. I know some of the guys/gals got picked up by Zoot and have to wear their clothing now which they couldn't do before. So we have a shot at getting more sponsors which is always helpful in this expensive sport. Getting a pro deal from Lynskey Performance really made that bike happen for me.

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