The total prize money on offer for the first event in 1989 was US$250,000, including $50,000 for the winner of the general classification. This, together with the race's place in the international calendar between the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, made it attractive to high-profile riders and teams, but the event did not attract large crowds.
The question now raises; What if Donald Trump sponsored a big stage race today? Say for example the Tour of California. What would be the pros and cons? One of the major pros would be funding. At a time where money is tight enough in cycling with multi million dollar deals for teams needed to support them. We have seen that without Oleg Tinkov, we notice the demise of Tinkoff Saxo, a team with the current world champion, british champion and a multi tour de france winner in it no longer being able to spin the pedals without the funding of one man. Similarly to IAM Cycling, hanging up the helmets for the last time at the end of the season. You could argue that this option, may be something that would appeal to Donald Trump in a first occasion before sponsoring a full multi-stage event in its own, even with the ironic name of Trump as a cycling team.
A pro and a con would be press, Trump, in his own character would bring exposure in both a negative and positive way to cycling through his name, character and personality. It may or may not expose many new viewers to a world of cycling through TV deals, merchandise and the exposure that the man himself seems to gain so easily. Trump's personality and celebrity, as well as the scandals surrounding Trump's marriage and business affairs, could deter from the event and annoyed in its previous iteration it annoyed European riders in the race, something that could easily happen again considering some of the personalities and teams in the Pro Peloton.
Often enough concerns with sponsors can often deter teams from wanting to race and potentially cause some of the ‘big boys’ to not turn up and compete; when in reality it is these guys that the viewers want to see racing, time after time, day after day in a multi stage race. It seems that in the days of the Tour De Trump, when he stepped down as the main sponsor, it caused a greater interest from European riders and teams, these are the ones that the American fans want to see more than any other out there and are, after all the teams that make up a large proportion of the teams racing in Le Tour De France.
Back to the main question, is he just too offensive/ridiculous, or is it a case of all publicity is good publicity? As a cyclist I veer to the angle of him being too offensive/ ridiculous. Cycling is the best individual team sport and a beautiful sport in it’s own right. With all the issues tainted its blood so to speak in the past; bringing along additional offencive and extremist characters could, bring the sport spiraling back down as opposed to continually moving upwards in the positive direction it needs to.
The chaps at Attacus Cycling produced the F**K TRUMP socks, which you can see below.