Chemical company Ineos is moving from making headlines on the business pages to the sports section.
Last year, the company revealed its design for the United Kingdom's entry in the America's Cup yacht race as the backer of Ineos Team UK. And March 19, it officially announced it was taking over sponsorship of the U.K.-based professional cycling team previously backed by 21st Century Fox and the broadcast company Sky.
For those of you who don't follow professional cycling — I'd peg that at a solid 88 percent of the American public in the post-Lance Armstrong era — Team Sky is a top competitive team, with members winning the Tour de France six of the past seven years.
Think of it as the cycling equivalent of the New England Patriots suddenly becoming known as the M. Holland Patriots. Or the Extreme Tool & Engineering Patriots. (Sorry. Employees at the Upper Penninsula of Michigan toolmaker Extreme would probably much prefer to own the Packers.)
And yes, I hear that mumbling. In the post-Armstrong era, everything and everyone is suspicious in professional cycling. And, well, sports in general. Cynicism has its place.
That said, for the riders, Ineos' support means that a very strong group of riders and coaches and support staff will continue as a unified team, rather than facing a future when they could have potentially been split up.
And for Ineos, the name is about to become more well known beyond the materials world.
"Cycling is a great endurance and tactical sport that is gaining ever more popularity around the world," Ineos Chairman and CEO Jim Ratcliffe said. "Equally, cycling continues to mushroom for the general public as it is seen to be good for fitness and health, together with easing congestion and pollution in city environments. Ineos is delighted to take on the responsibility of running such a professional team."
The new Team Ineos is set to make its debut at the Tour de Yorkshire, which starts in Doncaster, England, on May 2.