News Corporation holds talks with World Series Cycling

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-28/bskyb-news-corp-said-to-discuss-breakaway-cycling-series.html

British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY), the U.K.’s biggest pay-TV provider, is holding talks about becoming a partner in a new cycling championship involving most of the teams that compete in the Tour de France, three people familiar with the situation said.
BSkyB wants to increase its bet on cycling after bankrolling Team Sky, whose rider Bradley Wiggins last year became the first British winner of the Tour, the people said. News Corp. (NWSA), which owns 40 percent of BSkyB, is also interested in broadcasting the series outside the U.K., one of the people said. The people declined to be identified because discussions are private.
The so-called World Series Cycling project is gathering pace as the sport’s ruling body, Union Cycliste Internationale, which has opposed it for more than a year, is weakened by the fallout from Lance Armstrong’s doping confession. A BSkyB executive and attorney met with a dozen teams on Feb. 13 in Geneva and another meeting about the project is scheduled for tomorrow in Paris, two of the people said.
“It’s an opportunistic move: it’s probably a time when people are in favor of a breakaway” championship, said Tim Westcott, an analyst who covers BSkyB and sports rights for media consulting firm IHS Screen Digest.
BSkyB spokeswoman Alice Macandrew didn’t immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment on this month’s meeting with teams. News Corp. spokeswoman Miranda Higham declined to comment on the company’s plans for the sports-rights market.

Increased Funding
The plans are being led by two former soccer executives: Jonathan Price, a former Manchester United sponsorship manager, and Thomas Kurth, who oversaw a group lobbying for Real Madrid and other European teams. Under their proposal, cycling teams would get some 50 percent of the series’ revenue.
Currently, cycling’s TV income goes to race organizers like the family-owned Amaury Sport Organisation, which controls the Tour de France, and teams have to rely on sponsorships to survive. Paris-based ASO isn’t part of the World Series Cycling project at the moment, the people said.
Price didn’t return a call seeking comment on the project, while Kurth declined to comment. ASO officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on their plans.
The objections of Pat McQuaid, president of cycling’s ruling body, slowed the project to a virtual standstill last year, two of the people said. McQuaid said in January 2012 that the series would threaten historic races such as the 80-year-old Tour of Switzerland. Since then, the UCI has come under criticism from anti-doping authorities for its handling of affairs relating to Armstrong, including receiving a financial donation from him.

Gathering Teams
Less fearful of retribution from the UCI, the number of teams that agreed to race in the series has risen to 12 from eight in recent months and three other squads are also holding talks with Price’s Gifted Group Ltd., the people said. Czech billionaire Zdenek Bakala, who owns the Quick-Step team that includes the U.K. sprinter Mark Cavendish, allied with Price’s group in December.
Should BSkyB and News Corp. take a stake in the championship, it would fit with their strategy of seeking more influence on sports TV rights, partly in an effort to control costs as spending on competitions such as English soccer’s Premier League spirals, Westcott said. News Corp. subsidiary Fox International Channels last year bought a controlling stake in the Dutch soccer league’s media company. In 2011, News Corp. made an approach to buy Formula One.
Cycling will be “a whole lot” cheaper than F1 and soccer to get involved with because it doesn’t have a global appeal, Westcott said. In probably the biggest current broadcast deal in cycling, France Television pays as little as 23 million euros ($30 million) a year to show the Tour de France among other events owned by ASO, Westcott said. BSkyB agreed to pay 760 million pounds ($1.2 billion) a year to show Premier League soccer, starting from the 2013-4 season.

Changed Plans
Price and Kurth -- who had planned to hold as many as 10 new races on four continents in 2014 -- are now proposing to stage fewer new events and incorporate established races in the championship in an attempt to win over the McQuaid, according to two of the people.
McQuaid didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. In a Feb. 25 telephone interview, UCI management board member Brian Cookson confirmed McQuaid was in talks with the former soccer executives.
“They’re talking,” Cookson said. “The answer is not to have a breakaway league but to do something that improves the existing system and takes the sport in a new direction.”
This could be the final piece of the jigsaw. If News Corp backs the World Series with it's money and TV networks it'll change a lot of things.
 
Jul 19, 2011
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I also hope it doesn't happen. They are trying to turn cycling into F1 or something but it won't work. All these new 4-day stage races in particular just look terrible.
 
So they're trying to stage fewer of these new joke events in an attempt to win over McQuaid?

Surely the very point of breaking away is to get AWAY from Pat McQuaid?

Seriously though, the UCI, for all its faults, wouldn't be as much of a joke as a series consisting of historyless, characterless overly short stage races.

If this became the pinnacle of the sport, I would no longer be here. I would want no part of this, and if this is what it would take to get ride of Verbruggen and McQuaid, I never thought I'd say this, but I might be willing to suffer more of them.
 
Aug 16, 2011
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Really hope the various players in cycling (the riders, the race organizers, the UCI, the fans, etc.) speak out against this and don't allow it to happen. This would be horrible for the sport.
 
Hopefully ASO and RCS will reject this stupid series.

Then the UCI needs to act swiftly and ban any cyclist/officials who participate in this series from UCI sanctioned events.
Perhaps they can also ban any Federation who facilitates the new series.
That can kill off this idea.
 
Dec 30, 2011
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the asian said:
Hope this doesn't happens. It will become even more of a farce than now.
Pretty sure fixing will be rampant.
It is rampant in cricket and I don't mind. :)
 
Dec 30, 2011
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the asian said:
Hopefully ASO and RCS will reject this stupid series.

Then the UCI needs to act swiftly and ban any cyclist/officials who participate in this series from UCI sanctioned events.
Perhaps they can also ban any Federation who facilitates the new series.
That can kill off this idea.
The UCI decided to support Bakala, they may very well consider this one as well.
 
Dec 30, 2011
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Zam_Olyas said:
Anything to do with sky is the best thing to happen to cycling. I hope they are successful as i want to read froome19 ramble on and on in a long post how good it will be.
Oh, don't worry I will do that regardless.
Though I don't favour Sky over BBC or whatever.. just because they have the same name.

In all honesty I have always thought such an idea have good potential. If this project can eradicate the bad bits of the previous World Cycling Series plans and push forward with the good bits then I think it is a good idea. There will have to be a level of focus away from the proper fans as it revolves around the commercial aspect but the key to this project succeeding is the limit which they enforce on that.

Get rid of that loony 4 race idea and this could go somewhere.

Dazed and Confused said:
UCI considered the plans (Bakala), but rejected them as far as I know.
Dunno. Where did you see that?

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/omega-pharma-quickstep-team-owners-propose-major-reform-for-cycling

According to the pair they have the backing of the UCI and a share of the current WorldTour teams to set up a company charged with the professionalisation of the sport, with a new race series, a more transparent anti-doping campaign, television revenue sharing, and a new ranking and points system all featuring.
 
Oct 16, 2009
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Puke. It's hard to think of anything worse than the UCI, but I think this is it. Pro cycing is already turning into a joke, this would be the punchline.
 
Aug 16, 2011
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MatParker117 said:
If News Corporation write a big enough check why would ASO and RCS care?
Hopefully they care more about the sport than they do about getting a big paycheck.
 
Jun 18, 2012
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Nightmare scenario. I cant stand Sky or News Corp and the thought they'd control the tv rights is awful. All they've done with football in the uk is fleece the fans directly and indirectly and they're heading the same way with rugby union.
 
Afrank said:
Hopefully they care more about the sport than they do about getting a big paycheck.
Lol:D

Son, this is business. The only hope is that they think they can get more out of continuing to run things themselves. But if the bad guys make a high enough offer, everyone has a price.
 
Jul 16, 2010
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Parrulo said:
this would kill cycling.

ASO, RCS, Unisport and the flandrien classics won't let this happen, particularly RCS and the flandriens.
Why would they care? Tour, Giro, Vuelta and all important classics would still exist.
 
Don't let the record label take you out to lunch
You're the one that's got to pay at the end of the day
And try not to want people to like you too much
You'll just need more and more flattery to recharge your batteries
Don't let showmanship become more important than honesty
If you don't want to be so many things that you see
You don't have to act crazy to do something amazing
You can be just like you should and still do something really good
And even when you know that there's nobody listening
Say it to yourself because it's good for your health
I know nothing makes sense if you think too much
Religion, a pigeon, radio and television
Though it takes so much strength just not to suck
And not to be a cynic, but defer another gimmick
But you're distraught at the thought of losing everything again
And they say it's not the way you play the game but if you win
But don't let the record label take you out to lunch
'Cause every sip of soup is gonna get recouped
And you'll get a good review and then you'll get a bad review
But don't get suckered either way because none of them know you
Don't let the record label take you out to lunch
Because they'll call you a cab then put it on your tab
I'm leaving town for a while but I'll be in touch
One thing I know is true is that I've got a lot to do
And that it takes a big heart to make great, great art
And I'm just a little dot in a great big pot
But now that I have started it is hard to stop
I'm wondering at night about what's wrong and what is right
And is somebody your saviour if you owe them back a favour?
No they're not, so there's only one choice that you've got
Don't let the record label take you out to lunch
'Cause though the fishes look delicious someone's got to do the dishes
People might say you're insane or you're just looking to complain
And you need them more than they need you so don't bite the hand that feeds you
And everyone's been fair and nice so you consider them a friend
But everything still has a price and you don't want to overspend
'Cause it's your wallet and your soul when the check comes in the end
No matter what the situation or if you love your occupation
I'll move off on the hors d'œuvres, that's not what I'm in it for
I only want what I deserve, I want no less but I want no more.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Don't let the record label take you out to lunch
You're the one that's got to pay at the end of the day
And try not to want people to like you too much
You'll just need more and more flattery to recharge your batteries
Don't let showmanship become more important than honesty
If you don't want to be so many things that you see
You don't have to act crazy to do something amazing
You can be just like you should and still do something really good
And even when you know that there's nobody listening
Say it to yourself because it's good for your health
I know nothing makes sense if you think too much
Religion, a pigeon, radio and television
Though it takes so much strength just not to suck
And not to be a cynic, but defer another gimmick
But you're distraught at the thought of losing everything again
And they say it's not the way you play the game but if you win
But don't let the record label take you out to lunch
'Cause every sip of soup is gonna get recouped
And you'll get a good review and then you'll get a bad review
But don't get suckered either way because none of them know you
Don't let the record label take you out to lunch
Because they'll call you a cab then put it on your tab
I'm leaving town for a while but I'll be in touch
One thing I know is true is that I've got a lot to do
And that it takes a big heart to make great, great art
And I'm just a little dot in a great big pot
But now that I have started it is hard to stop
I'm wondering at night about what's wrong and what is right
And is somebody your saviour if you owe them back a favour?
No they're not, so there's only one choice that you've got
Don't let the record label take you out to lunch
'Cause though the fishes look delicious someone's got to do the dishes
People might say you're insane or you're just looking to complain
And you need them more than they need you so don't bite the hand that feeds you
And everyone's been fair and nice so you consider them a friend
But everything still has a price and you don't want to overspend
'Cause it's your wallet and your soul when the check comes in the end
No matter what the situation or if you love your occupation
I'll move off on the hors d'œuvres, that's not what I'm in it for
I only want what I deserve, I want no less but I want no more.
Your bar is very high, LS.


Lewis with Griffen.

Griffen, almost sounds like Geffen a rebel who ended up like a whor* anyway.
 

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