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We're nuts about cycling, but the future isn't about us as fans

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We're nuts about cycling, but the future isn't about us as fans

Old 10-29-18, 07:39 AM
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We're nuts about cycling, but the future isn't about us as fans

I keep seeing how people want race radios and/or power meters banned.

While it may make racing more exciting, cycling keeps forgetting some major factors here. If it wants to survive and evolve at a consumer entertainment level, it has to recognize that the fan base isn't just the staunchy roadie riders who want to see the Tour go back to the days of single speeds and zero technology.

It's about fans who are pretty much the cycling equivalent of a NASCAR fan. If you've been road-side in Europe for a race, or watched the TdF in person, you know what I mean. People with face paint, beers, and who look like they've never ridden a bike ever. The couch dweller is the dominant bike racing fan in Europe.

If it's to survive and evolve, I dare say that it has to get closer to that crazy Nascar style coverage.

Keep the power meters. But plaster the data all over the television feed and live race stats. Show the heart rates. Just like a Nascar race.

Provide fans an opportunity to listen in live to the race radios for the riders and teams just like car racing. Or even select a few fans to allow them to talk two-way with the radio in the car to ask a question or cheer them on.

It's worked for other racing (automotive).

I think that some races need more long circuits that allow fans to see more action in person.

It'd also be interesting to see some crowd sourced team sponsorship. Pay for a "share" that year in the team and get access to race radio chatter, advanced stats and coverage, maybe even have a "fondo" for team fans that buy shares. Like all the fondos the retired racers hold these days.

Whatcha got? How can it evolve?
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Old 10-29-18, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
The couch dweller is the dominant bike racing fan in Europe.
Rubbish!
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Old 10-30-18, 06:57 AM
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I don't like the NASCAR model.

Its full of gimmicks that tries to drum up excitement artificially. They work for awhile, but as we see, NASCAR has hit the ceiling and is beginning to slide backwards now. The sport has to stand on Its own, without the gimmicks. If its good people will watch. IndyCar has been doing it right without tricks and it is seeing a slow, steady, but strong, growth rate.

I'm seeing more and more of these opinions showing up that say cycling needs to change, and I'm guessing it's young people that feel this way. Young folks don't hold to tradition and they see no problem in taking a sport like cycling that has been around for a century and turning it upside down and inside out for a quick, feel good ratings bump. That is the NASCAR model, where a sport with a great history in America, threw away all its traditions for a quick buck and now they are paying the price. Tradition matters, or it should matter. Its what holds a sport together.

If you want pro cycling to look like the X Games, than watch the X Games or something called the Red Hook Crit, but leave pro cycling alone.
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Old 10-30-18, 07:38 AM
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Honestly, events like Red Hook are gaining viewership because they're exciting to watch. They're also on short, criterium courses, with lots of riders going really fast-- it's like track racing, only you don't have to go to a track to see it. It just happens downtown. I for one don't watch cycling on TV. I see no point. Races are (generally) point-to-point contests that go 100+ miles, with infrequent breakaways that never work, and not enough action. Lead changes are meaningless, because every race is a strategic effort based on individual team members sacrificing themselves so the Chosen One can hold on to his special shirt.

A whole lot of people outside the US market are avid cycling fans-- to the point where they go to the event and wait for hours to watch the peleton go by in 15 seconds-- but they also watch a lot of soccer, so there's that. NASCAR got popular because a whole lot of cars go around in a circle very quickly, and they run into each other a whole lot. Lead changes happen all the time-- sometimes multiple times in a single lap, and the guy that started the race in 49th could legitimately win. Any car that makes the grid could win. Sure, I know some good old boys that aren't too happy about the way the cars look, but a lot of those same guys about lost their minds when Toyota started fielding cars.

Look at the explosion in popularity of cyclocross. The races are quick, muddy, scrambling "every man for themselves" affairs. It's fun. Traditional stage-based Pro Cycling is kinda boring. An event that takes two weeks and ends 1,000+ miles from where it started? This is why pro cycling (at least here in the US) will never see viewership like motocross, or even MTB racing. It's not a viewer-friendly format. So the guy in post #3 is exactly right-- leave it alone. Traditional pro cycling has a following, and messing with it will alienate many of those fans. For the rest of us, Red Bull is always doing some bonkers cycling events (like Mini Drome or Road Rage) and there's always the Red Hook.

I love the Redlands Bicycle Classic that comes through my town every spring-- it's like the triple-A level of cycling. There isn't big money in it, and lots of riders are trying to make their way onto big teams, so the racing is pretty much all-out for 5 days. The crit course is exciting (never seen a year without a few wrecks, and this year the women's event was won on an absolutely staggering breakaway) the TT course is basically a hill climb, and the stage in my town is on a 2.5-mile course that goes up a 15% hill twenty times. What's not to like?
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Old 10-30-18, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Honestly, events like Red Hook are gaining viewership because they're exciting to watch. They're also on short, criterium courses, with lots of riders going really fast-- it's like track racing, only you don't have to go to a track to see it. It just happens downtown. I for one don't watch cycling on TV. I see no point. Races are (generally) point-to-point contests that go 100+ miles, with infrequent breakaways that never work, and not enough action. Lead changes are meaningless, because every race is a strategic effort based on individual team members sacrificing themselves so the Chosen One can hold on to his special shirt.

A whole lot of people outside the US market are avid cycling fans-- to the point where they go to the event and wait for hours to watch the peleton go by in 15 seconds-- but they also watch a lot of soccer, so there's that. NASCAR got popular because a whole lot of cars go around in a circle very quickly, and they run into each other a whole lot. Lead changes happen all the time-- sometimes multiple times in a single lap, and the guy that started the race in 49th could legitimately win. Any car that makes the grid could win. Sure, I know some good old boys that aren't too happy about the way the cars look, but a lot of those same guys about lost their minds when Toyota started fielding cars.

Look at the explosion in popularity of cyclocross. The races are quick, muddy, scrambling "every man for themselves" affairs. It's fun. Traditional stage-based Pro Cycling is kinda boring. An event that takes two weeks and ends 1,000+ miles from where it started? This is why pro cycling (at least here in the US) will never see viewership like motocross, or even MTB racing. It's not a viewer-friendly format. So the guy in post #3 is exactly right-- leave it alone. Traditional pro cycling has a following, and messing with it will alienate many of those fans. For the rest of us, Red Bull is always doing some bonkers cycling events (like Mini Drome or Road Rage) and there's always the Red Hook.

I love the Redlands Bicycle Classic that comes through my town every spring-- it's like the triple-A level of cycling. There isn't big money in it, and lots of riders are trying to make their way onto big teams, so the racing is pretty much all-out for 5 days. The crit course is exciting (never seen a year without a few wrecks, and this year the women's event was won on an absolutely staggering breakaway) the TT course is basically a hill climb, and the stage in my town is on a 2.5-mile course that goes up a 15% hill twenty times. What's not to like?
Good post. There is the theory though of "cannibalizing" your product lineup. Corporations that sell consumer goods always have to carefully roll out product lineups to not interfere with the bread and butter money makers.

With cycling, you can't really do that. Redbull does what it wants to do. If it cannibalizes a bunch of roadies on the fence about dedicating to watching traditional boring stage racing, then that audience is lost.

I guess this post is more relevant to US road racing and changes in the scene than Europe. People in Europe buy TV passes to watch road racing and travel to go see it. People don't do that in the US.

As a side note, this is what I see very local to me:
-our roadie group IS growing, but it is a pretty affluent and populated area
-the #1 growth is in the "alt" scene: brewery group rides, cyclocross, gravel grinders, local crits, local fun alleycat, mountain biking
-a few roadies even in the roadie group even know details at all of what's happening in the pro peloton........one guy out of maybe 50 of us follows it as close as people follow other sports.....so 1 in 50 in an already small subset of society
-I'd say the "alt" scene local to me probably knows more about Redhook and Redbull events than the roadies in the US know about tour racing

I attend what events you can ride or race locally. And maybe one or two a year with a long drive. But, USAC based stuff is getting tougher to find outside of cyclocross and fondo series. Our local time trial series went bankrupt. Road races, yeah, better learn to like riding crit or cyclocross instead. But, plenty of fondos, gravel, MTB, cyclocross.
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Old 10-30-18, 09:05 AM
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It would be nice to see real time speed, power, and perhaps power to weight for riders in focus on TV.

Even an on screen comparison between break away riders, and riders mid-pack.
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Old 10-30-18, 09:16 AM
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You guys make it sound as if pro cycling is dead. It is not. Their are legions of fans that show up to watch, dare I say, a few more than will ever show-up to watch an obscure crit won by who? Nobody cares really. It just has the "look". Its edgy, and its cool, but in the end pretty meaningless. Its mindless, throwaway entertainment, while winning the TDF, Giro or a Monument will always have real meaning.

You also don't sound like you really watch pro cycling. I mean, yes, you watch, but you don't care about the strategy behind what the riders are doing, and you don't seem to understand the struggles of the riders inside the race. If you did, you might see the beauty of it.

I'm guessing you guys liked the XFL to?
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Old 10-30-18, 09:27 AM
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I found this to be an interesting idea, https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/l...sorship-396678 I think part of this idea is to bring widespread coverage to events people really want, and can, participate in. These events rely heavily on volunteer and local support, so publicizing them could be a positive thing. I've volunteered for Leadville and done races like the Bailey Hundo, they're freakin' awesome. Even more so if there was expanded coverage.
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Old 10-30-18, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by redtires View Post
I found this to be an interesting idea, https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/l...sorship-396678 I think part of this idea is to bring widespread coverage to events people really want, and can, participate in. These events rely heavily on volunteer and local support, so publicizing them could be a positive thing. I've volunteered for Leadville and done races like the Bailey Hundo, they're freakin' awesome. Even more so if there was expanded coverage.
Honestly, it doesn't excite me.

I mean what race would Taylor Phinney rather win, Leadville or Paris-Roubaix? What would it mean to Phinney to win one of these obscure races and risk injury? Seems like a lot of effort for no gain. I thought EF was going to push American riders to win on the Pro Circuit, but this tells me otherwise. I do see some gain for Rapha, as many crit and cross style riders wear there swag, but I see no gain for the riders or EF.
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Old 10-30-18, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
Honestly, it doesn't excite me.

I mean what race would Taylor Phinney rather win, Leadville or Paris-Roubaix? What would it mean to Phinney to win one of these obscure races and risk injury? Seems like a lot of effort for no gain. I thought EF was going to push American riders to win on the Pro Circuit, but this tells me otherwise. I do see some gain for Rapha, as many crit and cross style riders wear there swag, but I see no gain for the riders or EF.
This was just one of many articles floating around regarding this model, so who knows exactly what will pan out. It seems like they want both. Let's face it though, I'm a minority as far as Americans who want to hang out and watch 5 hours of racing for a monument, much less actually understand why and when riders are doing what they're doing. But, if you're going to grow something, it may pay to put some focus on the other 99%, which I'm also in support of.
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Old 10-31-18, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Giacomo 1 View Post
You guys make it sound as if pro cycling is dead. It is not. Their are legions of fans that show up to watch, dare I say, a few more than will ever show-up to watch an obscure crit won by who? Nobody cares really. It just has the "look". Its edgy, and its cool, but in the end pretty meaningless. Its mindless, throwaway entertainment, while winning the TDF, Giro or a Monument will always have real meaning.


You also don't sound like you really watch pro cycling. I mean, yes, you watch, but you don't care about the strategy behind what the riders are doing, and you don't seem to understand the struggles of the riders inside the race. If you did, you might see the beauty of it.


I'm guessing you guys liked the XFL to?

I'm not disagreeing necessarily about how the traditional races should be, just bringing up that a lot of it isn't working.


I care enough to know that a TTT being in the Tour gives the Sky contender a freebie minute in the GC every year. I care enough to prefer a mountain top finish. Descending matters, but c'mon, what do we really want? I've watched a few hour record attempts in the background on my computer at work.


I was in France for work this year and watched the Paris laps from the Garden Toulleries.


I don't think that you can eclipse the TdF or Flanders with Redhook, but I certainly hold Redhook to a higher standard than the XFL as an example. I think drawing that parallel with the XFL, you'd have to instead compare the NFL to rugby. That's how different it is from track racing and fixed gear crits to stage racing.


Basketball didn't always have a shot clock, watching a Dean Smith game was probably often pretty darn boring watching them run clock out for half the game. Soccer offsides rule has changed several times, anywhere from 3 to one player. US football and the kickoff becoming negligible. Very fundamental ways of changing some huge sports. It happens.
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Old 10-31-18, 11:30 AM
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Let's also not forget that outside of I dunno... SKY, teams are constantly struggling to stay afloat. Cannondale-Drapac had to scramble to get sponsorship to even field a 2018 team, Momentum/United-Healthcare is on the bubble, JLT-Condor and Wiggle/High-5 are both done after the 2018 season, and BMC Racing will come back in 2019 as CCC Racing, sponsored by a Polish shoe company. Teams rely on sponsorship to compete, and sponsors rely on people actually watching the events and buying the products. When we're seeing bike companies-- the people that actually make bicycles dropping out of sponsorship roles, it can't all be sunshine and roses.
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Old 10-31-18, 03:47 PM
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Sponsorship is not a true barometer of the state of the sport.

NASCAR, IndyCar and even F1, the biggest money sport in the world, all have sponsorship difficulties. And they likely always will because the world is changing and there are a lot more entertainment options for folks to tune into and more places for companies to advertise there wares to. To many sports and entertainment, and not enough sponsors to go around.

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Old 11-01-18, 03:38 AM
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I get the impression some of you guys are nuts about nastycar. Watch a bit of the TdF on the TV and suddenly you're 'pro-cycling fans' and want to change the sport to your liking.
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Old 11-01-18, 08:33 AM
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Well, you're the sole non-American in this thread, so it's pretty obvious your viewpoint will be different. To us (and this is a great generalization) grand tour cycling is boring, just like watching soccer is boring. I'm a lifelong baseball fan, and think it can be very exciting, while most people from outside the US seem to think it's as boring as you can get. Non-Americans often think the same thing about NASCAR, "It's just a bunch of cars going in a circle." I don't necessarily want cycling to become NASCAR-- though there is a big part of professional cycling that is, you know, just "bikes going around in a circle."

I don't know exactly where the disconnect is-- soccer just never caught on here, and cycling as a spectator event hasn't held the attention of the American audience either. I doubt I'm alone in that I would rather ride a bike than watch someone else do it on TV. But I can neither throw a 100mph fastball, nor hit a 100mph fastball, so some afternoons I'm quite content to sit for a few hours and watch people who can.
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Old 11-01-18, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Well, you're the sole non-American in this thread, so it's pretty obvious your viewpoint will be different. To us (and this is a great generalization) grand tour cycling is boring, just like watching soccer is boring. I'm a lifelong baseball fan, and think it can be very exciting, while most people from outside the US seem to think it's as boring as you can get. Non-Americans often think the same thing about NASCAR, "It's just a bunch of cars going in a circle." I don't necessarily want cycling to become NASCAR-- though there is a big part of professional cycling that is, you know, just "bikes going around in a circle."

I don't know exactly where the disconnect is-- soccer just never caught on here, and cycling as a spectator event hasn't held the attention of the American audience either. I doubt I'm alone in that I would rather ride a bike than watch someone else do it on TV. But I can neither throw a 100mph fastball, nor hit a 100mph fastball, so some afternoons I'm quite content to sit for a few hours and watch people who can.
Cycling was pretty darn popular here in the USA when Greg LeMond and Lance were winning. Same with Team 7/11, Motorola and US Postal because they were competitive and they fielded a lot of good American riders. They were great days for cycling here. There were almost as many American flags on the side of the road during a TDF than French flags back then. Lance especially sparked our interest because besides winning, he was a bigger than life character.

Winning brings fans, and right now, we aren't producing any winners or even competitive riders.
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Old 11-01-18, 03:26 PM
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Cable TV (Above basic) has Bike Racing, Olympic Channel covered UCI
MTB Championship races Cyclocross Elite races and some Indoor Races on the Velodromes..
both Women's & Men's races..
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