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The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

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Re:

18 Aug 2018 00:55

King Boonen wrote:Yeah, that's the point I'm getting at really. There clearly isn't an audience big enough to support the kind of investment that would be required to produce some kind of season long coverage with shows covering the stories and intricacies of the riders and their performance across different races.


This is wrong simply for the very reason that in Australia it already all exists. Thank God for SBS, even if they occasionally frustrate me.

On free-to-air TV we get every stage of the Tour and the Vuelta live, on average showing about three-quarters of each stage. We used to get the Giro too until RCS agreed a stupid exclusive deal with Eurosport and SBS lost it. On top of that we get Flanders, Roubaix, Amstel, Liege, the Dauphine and the worlds, again all live and free. The Tour and the monuments in particular aren't just televised, they are surrounded by previews, expert comments, interviews and other little pieces. A different free channel also shows our nationals, the TDU and the Evans race. There is also a weekly show covering all the news and highlights from the cycling world, obviously with an Aussie emphasis. The SBS website features a bi-weekly podcast with further news and opinions, video highlights of other races, and a stack of articles on all manner of cycling topics. Put that all together and, while there are gaps and it's not perfect, we get a pretty good season-long coverage of not just the races but the news and travails of the riders and the teams.

All this on a station that is largely taxpayer funded and on a pretty tight budget. Cycling isn't pulling fans on TV in the UK simply because no-one has ever tried to take it seriously. Do it, commit to it, and I bet a solid audience would be found. I know less about the US scene but I'm reckoning the same would apply there too. It doesn't have to be expensive, otherwise I guarantee SBS wouldn't do it. It just has to be done properly.

Is little Australia really the only country where this is possible?
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Re:

18 Aug 2018 02:18

fmk_RoI wrote:Remember when Oleg Tinkoff was going to be our saviour, with his deep, deep pockets?

Remember when Wang Jianlin was going to be our saviour, with his deep, deep pockets?

Now our saviour is supposed to be Silicon Valley Venture Capital funds who'll happily pay lots and lots of money to buy cycling's humongous audience for new streaming services.

Sometimes it's like some cycling fans think the sport is one of those bodice-ripping romantic novels where a white knight with deep, deep pockets will come charging in and take us off to a new life of happiness and lots and lots of money.

I don't see why asking for some consistency in broadcast and presentation of the sport is such a big deal?

The races are televised by someone already.

What's wrong with a bit of polishing up of the product where the money is already being spent to produce and show the content?
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18 Aug 2018 08:40

Only the GTs, world championships and spring classics and a few oddball one-day races like Strade Bianche or Tro Bro Leon have potential to grow the sport's TV audience. And even then I'd much prefer to see 100km races/stages. Intensity is intensity, and if you're broadcasting 3-4 fours of a single sport it better be a Federer-Nadal Wimbledon final.

(I personally like it the way it is but I'm a 30+-year fan)
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Re: Re:

18 Aug 2018 15:05

Mamil wrote:Is little Australia really the only country where this is possible?
What does 'little' Australia actually got? It's got Richie Porte in the stage races. It's got Michael Matthews and Simon Gerrans and Mathew Hayman in the Classics. It's got, what, more than ten riders at the Tour this year, and about the same amount going back several years.

You have to remember how cycling actually works. The nature of the sport is that it is a minority sport. Some seem to have trouble accepting that. But it is. Every now and again, here or there, it booms a bit as a local hero comes along. So America wakes up and takes notice when there's an Armstrong. Australia an Evans. Britain a Wiggins. Germany a Kittel. Look at Van Reeth's TV viewing figures: one of the few countries not to lose audience share this year is the Netherlands, thanks to Tom Dumoulin.

The SBS shows: are they with local commentators, noticing the Aussie riders, or they are with 'neutral' commentary, something not localized to specific markets, a one-size-fits-all commentary?
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18 Aug 2018 16:58

Live coverage of European races on free to air TV in Australia, I wonder why this is the case..?
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Re:

18 Aug 2018 22:45

King Boonen wrote:Live coverage of European races on free to air TV in Australia, I wonder why this is the case..?


English Premier League live on free to air TV in the US. MLS Soccer not. Simple math.

Live cycling of European races at 2am in the morning, bonza mate :cool:
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Re:

19 Aug 2018 07:11

King Boonen wrote:Live coverage of European races on free to air TV in Australia, I wonder why this is the case..?

Some is on free to air, but to watch the season you still have to resort to finding races in various ways.

To legitimately watch the Giro, you'd have to have Foxtel, and to be able to record and watch it next day at a reasonable hour, you'd have to have Foxtel IQ.

Some races requires resorting to pirate feeds.
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Re: Re:

19 Aug 2018 07:15

fmk_RoI wrote:The SBS shows: are they with local commentators, noticing the Aussie riders, or they are with 'neutral' commentary, something not localized to specific markets, a one-size-fits-all commentary?

SBS takes the feed from the race broadcaster, and for major races then adds their own studio team to top and tail the broadcast with the occasional mid-race discussion. At the TdF they also send their own crew to the tour to provide extra content.
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19 Aug 2018 22:13

Some years ago Eurosport showed the start of TdF stages, then took a break of couple of hours, then went live to finish.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 08:07

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:Remember when Oleg Tinkoff was going to be our saviour, with his deep, deep pockets?

Remember when Wang Jianlin was going to be our saviour, with his deep, deep pockets?

Now our saviour is supposed to be Silicon Valley Venture Capital funds who'll happily pay lots and lots of money to buy cycling's humongous audience for new streaming services.

Sometimes it's like some cycling fans think the sport is one of those bodice-ripping romantic novels where a white knight with deep, deep pockets will come charging in and take us off to a new life of happiness and lots and lots of money.

I don't see why asking for some consistency in broadcast and presentation of the sport is such a big deal?

The races are televised by someone already.

What's wrong with a bit of polishing up of the product where the money is already being spent to produce and show the content?


I don't thin people are saying that - they just don't think it will make much difference.
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20 Aug 2018 09:51

Monetising fans, the football way:
Billed as “the world’s first smartband” and available for £79.99 a throw, the Fantom is to all intents and purposes an electronic bracelet that provides wearers with the kind of “inside information”, in-game stats, polls and quizzes they can quite literally find anywhere else on the internet without having to pay the thick end of £80 for a piece of branded tat. Aimed at the fan who wants “24/7 breaking news about City, from City, packaged in a premium aluminium housing with touch display and soft silicone straps”, this propaganda tool doesn’t so much tell everything you need to know about City, as everything they want you to know.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 10:01

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:The SBS shows: are they with local commentators, noticing the Aussie riders, or they are with 'neutral' commentary, something not localized to specific markets, a one-size-fits-all commentary?

SBS takes the feed from the race broadcaster, and for major races then adds their own studio team to top and tail the broadcast with the occasional mid-race discussion. At the TdF they also send their own crew to the tour to provide extra content.
And because "little Australia" is able to do this you believe, for the sake of consistency in broadcasting, that little Djibouti should also have it's own commentators covering all the major races in a season?
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 10:04

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:To legitimately watch the Giro, you'd have to have Foxtel, and to be able to record and watch it next day at a reasonable hour, you'd have to have Foxtel IQ.
And this is a problem how? You are, are you not, the one advocating moving cycling to a fully paid up online streaming service, where only the dedicated will watch? (Thus killing at a stroke the 70% of the Tour's French TV audience that's only there for the scenery.)
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 11:14

fmk_RoI wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:To legitimately watch the Giro, you'd have to have Foxtel, and to be able to record and watch it next day at a reasonable hour, you'd have to have Foxtel IQ.
And this is a problem how? You are, are you not, the one advocating moving cycling to a fully paid up online streaming service, where only the dedicated will watch? (Thus killing at a stroke the 70% of the Tour's French TV audience that's only there for the scenery.)


Strawman.

Not the point at all. Keep/Put the big races on free TV - the GTs, monuments, worlds, maybe a couple of others - and create a streaming service for all the others, including smaller classics/semi-classics and the one week stage races, with some extra content on the news, teams, behind the scenes etc. Maybe even get some cyclo-cross, track and mountain biking in there. Sell the broadcast rights for the big races as a package,with a one-hour weekly 'magazine format' show attached, and then charge a fair fee for the streaming service as a yearly subscription. Charge $100 a year for it and if even just 100,000 people sign up that's $10 million right there.

If that's not considered viable then I give up.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 11:59

Mamil wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:To legitimately watch the Giro, you'd have to have Foxtel, and to be able to record and watch it next day at a reasonable hour, you'd have to have Foxtel IQ.
And this is a problem how? You are, are you not, the one advocating moving cycling to a fully paid up online streaming service, where only the dedicated will watch? (Thus killing at a stroke the 70% of the Tour's French TV audience that's only there for the scenery.)


Strawman.

Not the point at all. Keep/Put the big races on free TV - the GTs, monuments, worlds, maybe a couple of others - and create a streaming service for all the others, including smaller classics/semi-classics and the one week stage races, with some extra content on the news, teams, behind the scenes etc. Maybe even get some cyclo-cross, track and mountain biking in there. Sell the broadcast rights for the big races as a package,with a one-hour weekly 'magazine format' show attached, and then charge a fair fee for the streaming service as a yearly subscription. Charge $100 a year for it and if even just 100,000 people sign up that's $10 million right there.

If that's not considered viable then I give up.
So give the events with an audience to one provider and sell the events without an audience to another provider whose primary interest is in buying audience? Seriously, you haven't really thought this through, have you?
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 12:07

Mamil wrote:Charge $100 a year for it and if even just 100,000 people sign up that's $10 million right there.
$100 times 100,000 people is not €10,000,000 for the sport.

How much goes to the taxman? How much goes to the service provider? How much goes on promoting the content? How much goes on producing the content? After that, how much is left for the race organisers?

This is up there with the mathemagics behind Pat Lefevere's cycling app...

Let's add more. Let's take fuboTV, as it was mentioned earlier. Currently it claims 100,000 subscribers. For the Superbowl, it claimed 60,000 concurrent streams. It charges $15 per month for a broad range of content. So. Hands up who thinks fuboTV could pull in 100,000 cycling fans for the cruddy little races that TV doesn't want to broadcast?
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 12:44

fmk_RoI wrote:So give the events with an audience to one provider and sell the events without an audience to another provider whose primary interest is in buying audience? Seriously, you haven't really thought this through, have you?


Incorrect, again. TV rights go to independent broadcasters, for a price, same as now but better packaged. The streaming service would be directly affiliated with the UCI. No need to sell it to a provider/s, just find an audience for it in itself. The WWE Network is an excellent example of how to do it, just on a smaller scale for cycling.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 12:50

Mamil wrote:
fmk_RoI wrote:So give the events with an audience to one provider and sell the events without an audience to another provider whose primary interest is in buying audience? Seriously, you haven't really thought this through, have you?


Incorrect, again. TV rights go to independent broadcasters, for a price, same as now but better packaged. The streaming service would be directly affiliated with the UCI. No need to sell it to a provider/s, just find an audience for it in itself. The WWE Network is an excellent example of how to do it, just on a smaller scale for cycling.
So now you want the UCI to get into the broadcast business?
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 12:59

fmk_RoI wrote:$100 times 100,000 people is not €10,000,000 for the sport.

How much goes to the taxman? How much goes to the service provider? How much goes on promoting the content? How much goes on producing the content? After that, how much is left for the race organisers?

This is up there with the mathemagics behind Pat Lefevere's cycling app...

Let's add more. Let's take fuboTV, as it was mentioned earlier. Currently it claims 100,000 subscribers. For the Superbowl, it claimed 60,000 concurrent streams. It charges $15 per month for a broad range of content. So. Hands up who thinks fuboTV could pull in 100,000 cycling fans for the cruddy little races that TV doesn't want to broadcast?


Obviously there are costs involved. But they wouldn't be excessive. The majority of races are already filmed, it's just about centralising the production and dissemination. You don't need a lot - around 5 camera bikes, a couple of fixed cameras, a helicopter (even our local Evans race uses three!), a couple of commentators, a presenter, all the technical and editing gear and staff, and some marketing. It's not that much. A lot of races are broadcast locally anyway, the UCI would simply need to piggy-back off that with a suitable deal.

For someone who obviously has had a long interest in the sport, you have a shockingly low opinion of its popularity and marketability. Personally I believe there is more interest out there in the smaller races, be it a Tour de Suisse or a Hamburg Cyclassic, than you think. GIve it a little time and I reckon a well-made service could crack 100K easily. The demand for streamed digital content now is massive. Cycling needs to get into the 21st century and stop living in the 1980s.

Only other thing I would add is that the streaming service would also cover the big races, just not exclusively. But as a sweetener it would include extra content on those.
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Re: Re:

20 Aug 2018 13:03

Mamil wrote:a couple of commentators, a presenter,
You really aren't playing with a full deck, are you? A couple of commentators and a presenter? What language are we broadcasting in, the universal language of bollicks?

Have you even looked at reality recently? What size broadcast team does Europsort have to bring to a race in order to meet the needs of its small number of Europe-based broadcasters?

You play with your fantasies, I'll stick to the real world.
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