The professional cycling team currently sponsored by SmartStop Self Storage is seeking a new title sponsor for the 2016 season following the company’s change in ownership. Extra Space Storage Inc., a self-storage real estate investment trust, recently closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of 122 SmartStop facilities and has assumed third-party management of 43 other locations.
The team, owned by Premiere Sports Group, will release its riders from their contracts, according to several sources. The Tour of Alberta in September was its final race. “Today is the last day for Team SmartStop. I wish I could clearly articulate what the team meant to me,” Mike Creed, team director and former professional cyclist, tweeted during the race’s final stage.
The search for a replacement title sponsor has been tough, Creed said. "If the team continues, it won’t be in its current form. It will be on another racing license, and I don’t think it’s fair to string people along. While I am hopeful, it’s better to say this team as we know it is over."
The team began racing as the Time Factory Development Team in 2007, according to one source. In 2008, Mountain Khakis became its title sponsor, followed by SmartStop as a secondary sponsor in 2012. Premier Sports Group was formed around the same time “to lend formal infrastructure to oversee the management and operation of the cycling team,” according to its website.
SmartStop took over title sponsorship in 2014, which became the team’s most successful season, one source reported. In total, the team has won four national championship titles, the yellow jersey at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and the overall win at the Tour of the Gila.
“We could not have achieved the success and growth of the program without the steadfast support of SmartStop and, specifically, [CEO] Michael Schwartz,” Premier Owner James Bennett said in a press statement. “Their excitement for the sport was contagious in the organization, and the success we had was directly linked to their desire to see us at the top step of the podium. We will miss their involvement, but we understand that all good things must come to an end. We welcome a new chapter in our organization to take this successful platform to another company interested in racing at the highest level in North America.”
“We have weathered this storm before and always been able to improve upon this program from year to year,” Bennett added. “While we have a great basis to field a team next year, we are looking for the right partner to represent their company and rebrand the team. We feel that with continued access to this continent’s premier events, we can provide a marketing experience like no other. But, again, it is subject to finding the right company who can see the value we provide.”
Schwartz founded SmartStop Asset Management LLC this year. The company owns 49 facilities totaling 3.4 million square feet of storage space in 13 states. It plans to grow its portfolio through acquisitions and new development.
Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Extra Space currently owns or operates more than 1,300 self-storage properties in 35 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico. The company’s properties comprise approximately 870,000 units and 97.5 million square feet of rentable space.