Anyone like this topic? : )
I see it discussed over at CX Mag in their editorials and such. But they don't seem to have as good of a Forum in terms of structure.
They are now running a blog column by Steve Tilford about pro pay and how Euros make so much more.
One thing not mentioned is: Do our US road pros make any decent money here in the US or even in Europe?
So there are other factors to compare to before trying get on TV or to be like NASCAR. Steps in the ladder.
I think CX is popular here because it can be urban and its venues can be fun. So those factors need to be built on even more to get to a new level.
Cyclists themselves can be as boring as any athletes. But CX tends to be more fun because it's taping into the indie culture of young urban hipsters who are also using bikes a lot more these days.
What makes for a fun venue? A neat course, sure. But far more than that: *music, food, crowd diversity.
The microbrew connection has to be really played up. Tilford talked about sponsorships for the next step up. That's too generic. The KIND of sponsor is critical at this stage in the US scene. They can have laundry soap sponsors in Europe. Our success, such as it is, is because CX is tied at the hip to microbrews! Its next step up is to make that tie even stronger! Do NOT attempt to ditch beer for soap because you think the $'s in soap are so much bigger. Sure, they are bigger, but it's too big of a jump. Would a soap sponsor help take Lollapalooza or SXSW to the next level? CX needs more microbrew and more indie music to draw even more urban hipsters out to the city-center parks.
Urban hipsters would totally pay $10 to get into a party park with a race going on. In our local city hundreds pay every weekend of the summer to get into beer-tents. Maybe they get a token for one beer. There's music and beer and they pay a premium to get in. Sure, in Europe the adults will pay $20-30 to get in, and it's like their NASCAR. Well, it's not like that here and can't be. But it IS definitely something here and that needs to be recognized and can easily be built up.
And the courses shouldn't be dirt crits. The success of the urban hipster CX scene isn't that it's educating them into being sports fans. They are already spending a ton of $ every weekend. CX is giving them a diverse outdoor experience that includes a bunch of their values -- it can easily tap into the urban hipster purchase plan. A CX race is a like an expanded Beer Garden -- another thing growing big among urban hipsters now. It won't make these people sports fans per se any more than Roller Derby is (another popular fun new urban hipster sport). So the courses should be fun to watch. And I doubt that the crowd will really be caring so much who is winning. That's what is neat about CX: something interesting to a layman can be happening way back in the pack and in a lot of places around a course. So, sure, build up the heroes and champs, but build up every other aspect, too, coz it's all working to please the demographic. Too much emphasis on the pros and on making courses "pro" and predictable is a bad idea. Courses can be interesting and diverse without being silly or dangerous. ...Or too complex. I'm thinking that SIMPLICITY and LOW OVERHEAD and GREEN/sustainability are values that need respecting. Huge lighting and massive live-screens and lots of extra structures might NOT be the answer, unless a crew can whip 'em up and down. Sure, if they work, use em. A carnival has a lot of machinery but it's quick set up and gone by Monday. I suppose this is obvious to any promoter: they'll include a feature if it pays off. But I'm concerned that too much glitz will start turning off the urban hipster in an attempt to go bigger.
So my two bits is that the urban hipster market might be a "small niche" but really it's pretty darn big and it's the core that CX should lean on and build on and cater to.
...And the music should include a lot of brass.