QUESTION: PETRONAS is known for its involvement in F1 and other motorsports. Why did it choose a cycling event, as title sponsor for PETRONAS Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL)?
Answer: PETRONAS has been Le Tour de Langkawi’s long-time partner since 1997, and has contributed immensely to the successful organisation of past editions.
With cycling gaining popularity in Malaysia and around the world, we believe LTdL is a good platform for PETRONAS to build and project its brand both locally and internationally.
LTdL is unique as it is a cross-country, multi-stage race that also hosts community programmes at each location, which helps us to better engage the spectators
We are proud to be the title sponsor of a well-established international event that has been able to sustain its appeal and maintain its relevancy for the past 24 years.
PETRONAS is committed to continuously support LTdL which is not merely a cycling race, but an important part of a national agenda that promotes sports tourism and spurs the local economy.
It is a sporting event that is close to the people’s hearts. Malaysians from all walks of life would come together to cheer the cyclists at every route during the tour. This bears testimony to the strong spirit of Malaysian hospitality that we all share.
PETRONAS is certainly supportive towards meaningful initiatives such as LTdL, which brings people together and offers a unique experience for all.
This embodies the true meaning of LTdL’s 25th edition slogan “Sports Unite, Cycling Contributes”, which seeks to emphasise the importance of unity via the sport of cycling.
An event of this scale is also able to showcase the country’s beautiful landscapes, and help promote Malaysia as an international tourist destination, in alignment with the aspirations of Visit Malaysia 2020.
PETRONAS is keen to support the efforts to promote cycling as a sport among Malaysians, especially youths.
LTdL is becoming increasingly well known as the breeding ground for future cycling champions in the international cycling arena. One such example is Egan Bernal of Colombia who competed in LTdL 2017 (the youngest yellow jersey wearer in the history of LTdL) and went on to win the Tour de France in 2019.
Closer to home, we have seen local champions emerge from LTdL and we hope to play a more meaningful role in establishing a route for young Malaysians who aspire to go the distance in the world cycling arena.
PETRONAS is confident that LTdL is able to produce more homegrown professional cyclists such as Terengganu-born Anuar Manan, who is the first Malaysian to win a LTdL stage in 2010.
Q: What kind of commitment does PETRONAS have in the staging of LTdL?
A: We have agreed to become the title sponsor for LTdL for three years, from 2019 until 2021.
Q: What kind of crowd turnout and TV viewership are you expecting?
A: LTdL is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and multiple activities have been planned to encourage public participation and engagement on the ground.
Therefore, we estimate a greater crowd turnout at all race locations. We can also expect decent viewership through extensive media coverage by broadcasters located in PETRONAS’ key markets, including China and Southeast Asia.
Besides RTM, China-based stations such as Hainan TV, Qinghai Satellite TV and Zhibo TV will be featuring the race, as well as Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Asia Pacific which are available in 52 and 11 countries respectively.
Q: What is in store from PETRONAS’s participation in this year’s LTdL especially off the race track?
A: This year, we are hosting site activations to attract not only current cycling fans, but also first-timers to the race. We welcome visitors to drop by the PETRONAS booth at LTdL’s finishing venues in KLCC, Alor Star and Langkawi and experience the exciting activities there, including a chance to own exclusive PETRONAS merchandises.
Q: What other opportunities will LTdL present to PETRONAS?
A: As a responsible corporate citizen, PETRONAS pays equal attention to community outreach efforts as much as it does to its business operations.
It values sponsorship as an opportunity to grow and benefit together, not only with partners, but also the community.
In addition to our continuous brand building efforts both domestically and internationally, the sponsorship of LTdL presents an opportunity for PETRONAS to increase its influence among a wider reach of the community, namely the cycling sports fans and spectators.
Q: The company has only been the LTdL title sponsor for a year, but the race has seen some interesting developments and been quickly and closely associated with PETRONAS. How do you think this is achieved?
A: We have been involved in LTdL for more than two decades now. We hope that our current role as a title sponsor will further add value to PETRONAS’s continuous nation-building efforts.
We are excited for the Sabah and Sarawak cycling routes to return to the fold this year, after making their last appearance in 1997.
We certainly look forward to the race reaching even greater heights in future editions.
Q: Will PETRONAS’s partnership with LTdL continue in future editions?
A: As the title sponsor, PETRONAS’s current priority is to see that the race stays true to its intent in terms of bringing synergetic value to our sponsorship goals. We hope it will continue to progress, especially in developing homegrown world cycling champions and promoting Malaysia as a sports and tourism hub.
New Straits Times, 5 February 2020