Sunday, July 10, 2005

Great News From The Tour De France

Like most Americans, I don't give much thought to bicycle racing. Sure, it is a grueling sport. Sure the races require superior athleticism, teamwork and strategy. But I'm a stick and ball kind of guy, so watching the races is right out.

That said, the last seven years of Lance Armstrong have caused me and most sports-loving Americans to pay attention significantly more than we would have without Lance. Without Lance, I would have thought a Peloton was just the goofball who took over the Attic last week. Now I know it is the main group of riders in a race (the goofball is Poetellect. Rumor has it he's an alter ego of Scott Johnson's.) The point is now I read the daily Lance updates and snicker that the national sport of the country I love to hate is being dominated like never before by an American, even better a Texan.

This year is special to me. Not because seven Tour titles would be an unprecedented feat likely to never be broken, at least within my lifetime. This year is special because Lance's team is sponsored by the Discovery Channel, after years of sponsorship by the United States Postal Service.

For years as I checked up on Lance, I had to ask myself, "Why is the USPS sponsoring a racing team?" For years I burned the slow burn that consumes me when I see blatant government waste arrogantly paraded past my face. Can we agree on one fact: that government shouldn't advertise its services? The monopoly power should be good enough. Advertising can only do one of two things: crowd out private competition that would be more efficient or simply exacerbate the inefficiencies of the government function that already exist.

Further, as I said above, Americans really don't pay attention to cycling. The Tour De France is held overseas. Therefore, the majority of the ad spend is creating awareness of people who do not and can not even use the USPS.

I don't know why the USPS pulled their sponsorship of Armstrong's team. Likely they are spending the ad money anyway, in forms less obvious to me. But at least I won't have to fume up for the next two weeks as I read the sports page.

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Blogger Mr. Poe said...

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