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The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

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samhocking said:
What made the Indurain years bearable was there was only a 30 mins highlight show back then on C4 and half of that was adverts. But as you say, especially in UK, Continental Road Racing was like this untouchable exotic mystery only 4 people in the entire UK watched and actually understood and it was so uncool to like cycling it made it even more exotic.
Internet ticker for 6 hours :cool:
 
thehog said:
samhocking said:
What made the Indurain years bearable was there was only a 30 mins highlight show back then on C4 and half of that was adverts. But as you say, especially in UK, Continental Road Racing was like this untouchable exotic mystery only 4 people in the entire UK watched and actually understood and it was so uncool to like cycling it made it even more exotic.
Internet ticker for 6 hours :cool:
You had internet in the early 90’s? I don’t think I even knew it existed until about 99-2000 and never used it until a couple of years after that.
 
King Boonen said:
thehog said:
samhocking said:
What made the Indurain years bearable was there was only a 30 mins highlight show back then on C4 and half of that was adverts. But as you say, especially in UK, Continental Road Racing was like this untouchable exotic mystery only 4 people in the entire UK watched and actually understood and it was so uncool to like cycling it made it even more exotic.
Internet ticker for 6 hours :cool:
You had internet in the early 90’s? I don’t think I even knew it existed until about 99-2000 and never used it until a couple of years after that.
I first saw the internet in about 1995 ish and became a more regular user once I went to University in 1996.

Through the indurain years I'd have thought that a tiny, tiny proportion of people in the UK would have been able to use it and the idea of an internet ticker of races would have been just a glint in the eye of the milkman.
 
simoni said:
King Boonen said:
thehog said:
samhocking said:
What made the Indurain years bearable was there was only a 30 mins highlight show back then on C4 and half of that was adverts. But as you say, especially in UK, Continental Road Racing was like this untouchable exotic mystery only 4 people in the entire UK watched and actually understood and it was so uncool to like cycling it made it even more exotic.
Internet ticker for 6 hours :cool:
You had internet in the early 90’s? I don’t think I even knew it existed until about 99-2000 and never used it until a couple of years after that.
I first saw the internet in about 1995 ish and became a more regular user once I went to University in 1996.

Through the indurain years I'd have thought that a tiny, tiny proportion of people in the UK would have been able to use it and the idea of an internet ticker of races would have been just a glint in the eye of the milkman.
I remember the C4 TDF magazine, I think my dad still has them all. First time I used the internet was at uni too I think.
 
simoni said:
King Boonen said:
thehog said:
samhocking said:
What made the Indurain years bearable was there was only a 30 mins highlight show back then on C4 and half of that was adverts. But as you say, especially in UK, Continental Road Racing was like this untouchable exotic mystery only 4 people in the entire UK watched and actually understood and it was so uncool to like cycling it made it even more exotic.
Internet ticker for 6 hours :cool:
You had internet in the early 90’s? I don’t think I even knew it existed until about 99-2000 and never used it until a couple of years after that.
I first saw the internet in about 1995 ish and became a more regular user once I went to University in 1996.

Through the indurain years I'd have thought that a tiny, tiny proportion of people in the UK would have been able to use it and the idea of an internet ticker of races would have been just a glint in the eye of the milkman.
ASO provided a ticker way back then. I used to follow. Back then it was known as “push” technology.
 
samhocking said:
What made the Indurain years bearable was there was only a 30 mins highlight show back then on C4 and half of that was adverts. But as you say, especially in UK, Continental Road Racing was like this untouchable exotic mystery only 4 people in the entire UK watched and actually understood and it was so uncool to like cycling it made it even more exotic.
It wasnt that many ...
 
King Boonen said:
thehog said:
samhocking said:
What made the Indurain years bearable was there was only a 30 mins highlight show back then on C4 and half of that was adverts. But as you say, especially in UK, Continental Road Racing was like this untouchable exotic mystery only 4 people in the entire UK watched and actually understood and it was so uncool to like cycling it made it even more exotic.
Internet ticker for 6 hours :cool:
You had internet in the early 90’s? I don’t think I even knew it existed until about 99-2000 and never used it until a couple of years after that.
Yes the Internet was prevalent in the 1990s, that’s when WWW was invented. The internet has be around since the 1960s.

Here is the cyclingnews race ticket from 1995. Paltry by today’s standards but it did exist.

http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/results/archives/letour/prol.html
 
thehog said:
King Boonen said:
thehog said:
samhocking said:
What made the Indurain years bearable was there was only a 30 mins highlight show back then on C4 and half of that was adverts. But as you say, especially in UK, Continental Road Racing was like this untouchable exotic mystery only 4 people in the entire UK watched and actually understood and it was so uncool to like cycling it made it even more exotic.
Internet ticker for 6 hours :cool:
You had internet in the early 90’s? I don’t think I even knew it existed until about 99-2000 and never used it until a couple of years after that.
Yes the Internet was prevalent in the 1990s, that’s when WWW was invented. The internet has be around since the 1960s.

Here is the cyclingnews race ticket from 1995. Paltry by today’s standards but it did exist.

http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/results/archives/letour/prol.html
Thats like looking back at hieroglyphics or something!!

I was thinking something similar during the world cup - nowadays its all perfect HD coverage and wall-to-wall analysis and information but I remember marvelling at how far away Mexico was in 1986 and asking how it was possible to watch games lives from so far away even though it was a fuzzy picture and the commentators sounded like they were on telephones from the moon!

Nowadays it feels like we know far too much about cycling and its difficult to get excited about an attack etc. (even without Sky being there) as we all know such-and-such lost 5 minutes in Romandy a month back so there's no way he's going to be able to make it stick now. The exception was the Roubaix stage this year which was gripping as you just didn't know what was going to happen.
 
Re:

roundabout said:
The first Tour website was in 1995, as far as I know

here it is in all it's glory, courtesy of the web archive

https://web.archive.org/web/19980526070429/http://www.letour.fr/tour95/

Not convinced that there was a ticker though
Apologies, I used the CN ticker. Back then it was an Australian website so you keep up with the Tour overnight. When I was in England I also used the internet as far back as 87 as well. Push technology was meant to be the death of news on TVs. Apps would sit in small windows outdoes of your regular browsers windows which would auto update. It died a death once dynamic HTML was born and the beginning of Flash.
 
Jul 4, 2016
234
12
3,060
Smoking leads to drug taking. Tues lead to aicar abuse and personal anecdotes lead to open letters. Our anecdotes need a lot of beefing up and polishing to come anywhere near that open letter that I was privileged to read. It seems like a distant memory now.
 
Jan 11, 2018
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Re: Re:

King Boonen said:
This gets difficult as it crosses both the legal and illegal ways of dominating and relies on some assumptions.

The number of winners isn't that unusual, It's happened twice before in about 5 periods where one team was dominant. Usually it signals the end of that teams dominance and a short period of single wins. The "traditional" angle is also a difficult discussion that is going on elsewhere, I'll just say I don't believe that Sky have some secret formula other teams don't. Money and corruption are much more likely.

Is it the winners or the team that are the issue? If Landa had won would he be getting as much scorn as Thomas? If Bernal takes over in the next couple of years will he? It'll be interesting to see if the second case happens and clearly it ties in with the perceived natural ability of the rider.

I'm not old enough to remember much before Indurain but I do remember his wins being very, very predictable. I don't remember enough to know if it was as boring as the two periods that followed, someone else might.

As to making it entertaining for casual fans for hours that's just not going to happen. How many casual fans sit down and watch 5 days of a cricket test match? Or 9 innings of baseball? Or 4-odd hours of NFL or however long it takes? If you want cycling to appeal to the masses then you need to arrange short races (and this is where track racing and crits appeal). Otherwise you have to design courses that are predictable enough that you can centre TV and advertising around it, and that will in turn ruin the racing for proper fans. It's not an easy thing to grow and it's why cycling is, I think, unlikely to gain massive popularity beyond the more dedicated fanbase. As for bad for business, I'd like to see proof of that, i.e., viewing figures for the Tour pre USPostal and Pre Sky and during their dominance. If anything, in a sport like cycling, I wonder if it's actually the opposite?
I think the types of winners plays a part, particularly when 2 of them are of the same type, 1 is borderline inexplicable, none showed GT-winning pedigree until relatively late in their careers, and all are the same nationality. It all suggests that one team has such an inherent advantage that they simply have the ability to pick and create Tour winners, even from material that is obviously high quality but relatively speaking have not been perceived to be in the very elite in the 3-week discipline. I agree, it's not totally unprecedented, but it's far from exciting. If it was Bernal next I think that would be a little more interesting, since he's quite different to the others, but the dominance and methods, if they stayed the same, would still have a dulling effect on the quality of the spectacle.

I wonder if being Australian has clouded my interpretation of casual fans of the Tour. Here, the race is on from around 9pm-1am at nights, on free-to-air TV. The late nights do take their toll, but it's otherwise just about the perfect viewing time - there's no work or other things in the way, mostly you literally don't have to give anything else up to watch it. The result is that there are many Aussies who are either 'July fans', or who watch mostly for the scenery, but will watch even more and get into the action if the quality of the racing is good. So casual fans are an important element of the Tour coverage here and the broadcaster knows it and builds its product around it. Sky's dominance has hurt their viewing figures noticeably (although Porte constantly crashing hasn't helped either). But I guess all that doesn't apply for other countries apart from NZ.

Nonetheless, no question on the whole I'm sure more people are watching than in the 1990s, simply through the greater exposure and access the sport has now on a global scale. But the recent trend seems to be downward again, based on these admittedly very incomplete figures:

https://cyclingtips.com/2018/07/today-at-the-tour-okay-that-was-boring/

Surely Sky's continued stranglehold on the race, and the predictable nature of too much of it, compounded by the unsatisfactory handling of Froome's AAF, are significant contributing factors towards this. Some sort of well-considered shake up is needed, or the value of the event and its product will start to decline.
 
Mamil said:
To look just at the ASO, 2015 data (from the article I linked above) says that global broadcasting rights just for the Tour amount to 50 million euros per year, while 2013 data says that the ASO reported revenue of 180 million euros and a profit of 36 million euros. Granted it isn't a huge amount, nor is all that revenue just from cycling. Giving a slice of that profit to the teams wouldn't make a huge difference, but it would be something, and certainly fairer than the current situation where they get nothing from it other than limited prize money, despite the fact that without the teams there would be no race.
So. to clarify: I ask for the Tour's TV revenue, how much of that is used to subsidise other races, and how much would be available to share with teams, and this bull is what you come back with?

One: the Tour's TV revenue is not 50 million euros. Go check on the available details for the TV package ASO sells. 50 million is a number originally plucked out of thin air by Pierre Ballester, just like the 200 million Vaughters used to pluck. Van Reeth's 'calculation backing it up is laughable: take all of ASO's 2011 revenue, assume 75% comes from cycling and 45% of cycling's revenue comes from TV and presto, 160m x 75% x 45% = 54m is the Tour's TV revenue.

Two: At 50 million, and 18 WT teams and four wildcards, even if you gave all the alleged TV revenue to the teams it would amount to two and a quarter million per team. But why would ASO give it all away?

Three: ASO revenue and profits come from more than cycling and more than TV, so now you're moving the goalposts and demanding profit sharing, not a share of TV revenues.

More importantly, I would have thought, is that the champion of TV revenue sharing, Jonathan Vaughters, has himself given up on it, accepted that it would make very little contribution to the bottom line of WT squads. Cycling simply isn't making that much out of TV. That's why he moved on to the salary cap, and then the budget cap.
 
Jan 11, 2018
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fmk_RoI said:
One: the Tour's TV revenue is not 50 million euros. Go check on the available details for the TV package ASO sells. 50 million is a number originally plucked out of thin air by Pierre Ballester, just like the 200 million Vaughters used to pluck. Van Reeth's 'calculation backing it up is laughable: take all of ASO's 2011 revenue, assume 75% comes from cycling and 45% of cycling's revenue comes from TV and presto, 160m x 75% x 45% = 54m is the Tour's TV revenue.

Two: At 50 million, and 18 WT teams and four wildcards, even if you gave all the alleged TV revenue to the teams it would amount to two and a quarter million per team. But why would ASO give it all away?

Three: ASO revenue and profits come from more than cycling and more than TV, so now you're moving the goalposts and demanding profit sharing, not a share of TV revenues.

More importantly, I would have thought, is that the champion of TV revenue sharing, Jonathan Vaughters, has himself given up on it, accepted that it would make very little contribution to the bottom line of WT squads. Cycling simply isn't making that much out of TV. That's why he moved on to the salary cap, and then the budget cap.
One: all right smarta*s, I've given sources that say 50 million, what do you think it is? 50 mil is already pathetic, so if it's less then the ASO is even more incompetent or conservative than I thought.

Two: I've already conceded that 50 mil isn't much to work with. Giving at least some of it would still be a good will gesture from the ASO though, and a structure to build on with any increased revenue in future. Cycling is the only major broadcast sport in the world that I know of where the teams aren't getting a cut from TV rights. In that sense it's archaic and out of touch.

Three: straw man. I've already said that the ASO's revenues come from more than cycling, and need to be considered in that light. Not arguing that at all. However the general concept of profit-sharing I am not against, based purely on the revenues directly from cycling. Given the teams form a key part of the product, I think that is only fair, within reason.

It's patently clear than the ASO and UCI are not maximising the broadcast/media/digital content potential of the sport. They could and should be making more from this area. My hunch, and I freely admit that it is no more than that, is that the ASO isn't doing so simply because it doesn't need to. It is making enough for its own interests, and the teams, and the greater health of the sport in general, aren't its problem. The highly singular and unusual structure of the governance and operation of the sport and its races hurts it in this regard, as in so much else.
 
Mamil said:
fmk_RoI said:
One: the Tour's TV revenue is not 50 million euros. Go check on the available details for the TV package ASO sells. 50 million is a number originally plucked out of thin air by Pierre Ballester, just like the 200 million Vaughters used to pluck. Van Reeth's 'calculation backing it up is laughable: take all of ASO's 2011 revenue, assume 75% comes from cycling and 45% of cycling's revenue comes from TV and presto, 160m x 75% x 45% = 54m is the Tour's TV revenue.

Two: At 50 million, and 18 WT teams and four wildcards, even if you gave all the alleged TV revenue to the teams it would amount to two and a quarter million per team. But why would ASO give it all away?

Three: ASO revenue and profits come from more than cycling and more than TV, so now you're moving the goalposts and demanding profit sharing, not a share of TV revenues.

More importantly, I would have thought, is that the champion of TV revenue sharing, Jonathan Vaughters, has himself given up on it, accepted that it would make very little contribution to the bottom line of WT squads. Cycling simply isn't making that much out of TV. That's why he moved on to the salary cap, and then the budget cap.
It's patently clear than the ASO and UCI are not maximising the broadcast/media/digital content potential of the sport. They could and should be making more from this area. My hunch, and I freely admit that it is no more than that, is that the ASO isn't doing so simply because it doesn't need to. It is making enough for its own interests, and the teams, and the greater health of the sport in general, aren't its problem. The highly singular and unusual structure of the governance and operation of the sport and its races hurts it in this regard, as in so much else.
I find it highly unlikely that a commercial organisation is deliberately failing to take advantage of every possible revenue stream. Their interests are to make as much money as possible (and give as little as possible away).

I don't discount the idea that they're incompetent and not getting best value for their product but the idea that they aren't trying their best just doesn't make sense to me.
 
simoni said:
I find it highly unlikely that a commercial organisation is deliberately failing to take advantage of every possible revenue stream. Their interests are to make as much money as possible (and give as little as possible away).

I don't discount the idea that they're incompetent and not getting best value for their product but the idea that they aren't trying their best just doesn't make sense to me.
It is actually quite an incredible thought, isn't it? I mean, ASO subsidises other parts of the EPA empire, and it's not so long ago that they had to sell a fine piece of family silver, Le Parisien, in order to pay the bills. But, this is what you get when you replace facts with hunches.
 
fmk_RoI said:
simoni said:
I find it highly unlikely that a commercial organisation is deliberately failing to take advantage of every possible revenue stream. Their interests are to make as much money as possible (and give as little as possible away).

I don't discount the idea that they're incompetent and not getting best value for their product but the idea that they aren't trying their best just doesn't make sense to me.
It is actually quite an incredible thought, isn't it? I mean, ASO subsidises other parts of the EPA empire, and it's not so long ago that they had to sell a fine piece of family silver, Le Parisien, in order to pay the bills. But, this is what you get when you replace facts with hunches.
Wait what? Le Parisien was sold in 2010. It was a loss maker. It wasn’t sold it to pay other debts, it sold because it wasn’t within their national strategy. Strange person sometimes :confused:
 

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