What Americans Want in Their Cycling Coverage

Mar 13, 2009
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I was rolling on the floor when I stumbled across this on Velo News.

Quoting some woman from Indiana:

"Dear Velo,
I watch the Tour de France, Tour Down Under, and would watch more if they were televised.

I have followed Lance Armstrong’s career for many years. I read all the books by or about him. I want to see, hear and read all I can about him!

He is the idol of many people, especially those fighting cancer. I enjoy hearing about other teams in the races, but Lance is the one I want to know all the details, about what he is doing in the races or in every day life. I can say, I believe I am not alone. I could go on and on about reasons I follow him closely and others not so much, but I’ll stop here."
 
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Anonymous

Guest
nvpacchi said:
I was rolling on the floor when I stumbled across this on Velo News.

Quoting some woman from Indiana:

"Dear Velo,
I watch the Tour de France, Tour Down Under, and would watch more if they were televised.

I have followed Lance Armstrong’s career for many years. I read all the books by or about him. I want to see, hear and read all I can about him!

He is the idol of many people, especially those fighting cancer. I enjoy hearing about other teams in the races, but Lance is the one I want to know all the details, about what he is doing in the races or in every day life. I can say, I believe I am not alone. I could go on and on about reasons I follow him closely and others not so much, but I’ll stop here."
XOXOXO,
SpeedWay
 
Jul 23, 2009
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nvpacchi said:
He is the idol of many people, especially those fighting cancer. I enjoy hearing about other teams in the races, but Lance is the one I want to know all the details, about what he is doing in the races or in every day life. I can say, I believe I am not alone. I could go on and on about reasons I follow him closely and others not so much, but I’ll stop here."
Yikes! Sir Lanceolard picked up a stalker. Fan being short for fanatic and all.

I can't speak for Americans, but speaking for North Americans, we want coverage of the whole cycling season, not one man's season or a couple of stage races. That's how you grow a sport.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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pedaling squares said:
Yikes! Sir Lanceolard picked up a stalker. Fan being short for fanatic and all.

I can't speak for Americans, but speaking for North Americans, we want coverage of the whole cycling season, not one man's season or a couple of stage races. That's how you grow a sport.
I guess I'll speak for Americans and say that I 100% agree with you. But at least it was good for a laugh.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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I personally want coverage of a lot more cycling events... both live and again at night if I can't see the live one.

But I'm realistic... the average person in the US is more like the person quoted in the original post. They might watch the TDF without Lance... but without Lance present at another event they simply won't watch.

And average people like that is what drives the money for most sponsors in cycling... not the people who post on these forums who want to watch events like the Tour of Turkey or Tour of Oman.


I live in the Greenville/Spartanburg area of South Carolina. This is supposedly one of the better places on the east coast for cycling... George Hincapie is based in Greenville, the US championships are in Greenville and the Attack on Mount Mitchell starts in Spartanburg...

and I simply don't know any people who follow professional cycling much. I know quite a few who RIDE... but they aren't fans of watching the sport. They might know who George Hincapie is.. but they wouldn't know what Paris-Roubaix is or that Hincapie even was known for riding northern classics... they just think he helped Lance win 7 Tours.


I suppose they're like I am with Golf. I know and watch Tiger (even with his... issues), and the majors... but that's about it.
 
Apr 9, 2009
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Some random mouthbreather in midwest flyover country does not speak for all American cycling fans.

This incident speaks more about what letters VeloNews is willing to print than it does about American cycling fans.
 
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Anonymous

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BikeCentric said:
Some random mouthbreather in midwest flyover country does not speak for all American cycling fans.

This incident speaks more about what letters VeloNews is willing to print than it does about American cycling fans.
+1

Though unfortunately, the sentiment she expresses is played out here and other cycling forums every July, and unfortunately several weeks prior and after. Moron traffic will pick up here pretty soon. Its like when your stupid uncle James comes to visit and all he can talk about is deer hunting and farts. Man, July sucks on English cycling forums. Then again, we have people like Speedway here all the time adding absolutely NOTHING to the forum, complaining about how people are obsessed with Armstrong, and never adding a smidgen of content to ANYTHING BUT ARMSTRONG THREADS. Talk about irony. Oh well, the world needs fry cooks.
 
Mar 29, 2010
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i want what ctv use to be back in its heyday, wall-to-wall racing all season long, including the giro and the vuelta. video-on-demand, no commercials (or hardly any of the in-show breaks), and brian and anthony.

i'd willingly shell out extra for a cycling package such as the above for cable television, like i do for the nfl ticket.

as regards to versus, well not to say i missed it much when it was off directv. haven't watched it since it's been back on dtv.
 
Jun 9, 2009
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Yep. To most US citizens Arsmtrong IS cycling.

When he came out of retirement I found out about it from e-mails from friends and family that have nothing to do with the sport. They were so excited for me, even though I am no huge fan of his.

My cousin actually thought he was going to win another 7 TdF's.

As far as this American is concerned, I would like to see more races on the TV and more coverage of other riders. I had a blast watching Paris-Roubaix with my fiance'. She is now a Cancellara fan.

The more races without Armstrong we have broadcasted, the more popular the sport will become.

Armstrong did a lot to bring cycling to the attention of the average American. His winning Sportsman of the Year for Sports Illustrated was a big deal for our sport. But, his shadow looms large. I am excited to see who the next American racer will be who can capture the mind of Joe Six Pack.
 
nvpacchi said:
I was rolling on the floor when I stumbled across this on Velo News.

Quoting some woman from Indiana:

"Dear Velo,
I watch the Tour de France, Tour Down Under, and would watch more if they were televised.

I have followed Lance Armstrong’s career for many years. I read all the books by or about him. I want to see, hear and read all I can about him!

He is the idol of many people, especially those fighting cancer. I enjoy hearing about other teams in the races, but Lance is the one I want to know all the details, about what he is doing in the races or in every day life. I can say, I believe I am not alone. I could go on and on about reasons I follow him closely and others not so much, but I’ll stop here."
Cool. Velonews is now printing letters by Jeff Vader.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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Versus were given a good hand and messed it up. They did not try to sell cycling as a sport. Instead they were complicit in fabricating a narrative based around their chosen action-figure hero. They made no serious attempt to broaden the casual viewers' understanding of the sport. Apart from Paris Roubaix, with Hincapie stepping into the hero's shoes, they have done nothing to generate their audience's knowledge of or interest in one day races.

With the inevitable decline of LA, their audience disappears. They had a chance and they got it totally wrong.
 
Apr 9, 2009
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riobonito92 said:
Versus were given a good hand and messed it up. They did not try to sell cycling as a sport. Instead they were complicit in fabricating a narrative based around their chosen action-figure hero. They made no serious attempt to broaden the casual viewers' understanding of the sport. Apart from Paris Roubaix, with Hincapie stepping into the hero's shoes, they have done nothing to generate their audience's knowledge of or interest in one day races.

With the inevitable decline of LA, their audience disappears. They had a chance and they got it totally wrong.
Good analysis. It's surprising to me as I thought Versus did a pretty good job with their NHL coverage as I watched some hockey play-offs last summer.

But you're right, cycling is a fairly complicated sport to a new fan and they did nothing to help sell the sport itself; it was just a big fabricated "come watch Lance kick some Eurotrash ***!" show.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
riobonito92 said:
Versus were given a good hand and messed it up. They did not try to sell cycling as a sport. Instead they were complicit in fabricating a narrative based around their chosen action-figure hero. They made no serious attempt to broaden the casual viewers' understanding of the sport. Apart from Paris Roubaix, with Hincapie stepping into the hero's shoes, they have done nothing to generate their audience's knowledge of or interest in one day races.

With the inevitable decline of LA, their audience disappears. They had a chance and they got it totally wrong.
Short, astute, and to the point. Bravo good sir!
 
Feb 14, 2010
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The first step to getting some decent race coverage is to at least get some shortened race highlights into the sports news broadcasts. Then people would start to see that there is more to it, and more of it going on-- eventually creating a demand for longer highlights and then even some proper coverage. In that regard Versus were perhaps putting the cart before the horse (or the cyclist before the sport)

I know, I know-- I dream a lot...:p
 
Jun 9, 2009
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Vs. didn't mess it up at all. They played to their strengths and demographic.

The Americam populus is prone to root for a hero. They are also prone to believe that there is a single and ultimate goal in sport (Superbowl, World Series, etc).

Vs. did all they could to play up the American hero and the importance of the Tour. That is good and smart business. Their ratings have been enough to ensure prolonged coverage, so it worked.

Now, they are faced with a challenge. How do you teach an audience there there are several Superbowls and lots of heros? How do you explain that winning Paris-Roubaix or Paris-Tours while coming in 199th in Tour is still an awesome season for a rider? How do you teach that it is good for a rider to be World Champion in the TT and get dropped in the mountains for the Giro or Vuelta and it's OK? How do you teach that a true fan will root for one rider on one classic weekend and another during a Grand Tour?

The American public is slow to comprehend such things. They are used to rooting for their team from the beginning of a season to the end of the season and hope for championship rings.

Vs. has done a pretty good job, so far. Let's realize that they have a monumental job of explaining a complex sport to a pretty limited audience. I applauf Vs. and their commentators. At least they are putting forth a good effort.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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icebreaker said:
Again,

Coming from north of the 49th, and having grown up on hockey, I would dis-agree - they did, however, do better than NBC ever did.
Wasn't it FOX who used a digital streak behind the puck because they thought US fans couldn't see it? If you play the fool, you'll only attract foolish viewers.

My problem with Vs/OLN is how they play us for fools. Sure, many NAmerican viewers only know one rider. Well if you only talk about that one rider you'll keep it that way. And... Bob Roll, 'nuff said.
 
Feb 1, 2010
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Everytime I see these discussions I think of the old CBS (John Tesh) coverage from the 80's. That coverage started before Lemond was a serious threat to win the TdF. They put a lot of time into talking about the other great riders of that day. I know all I look for is some balance and not over the top Lance Lovefest coverage. But it's better than nothing.
 

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