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Cycling TV needs a big change for the sport to survive

Old 03-06-13, 12:03 AM
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Michael Aisner says Cycling TV needs a big change for the sport to survive.

https://velonews.competitor.com/2013/...rvive-2_276328

This guy's documentaries of the early Colorado stage races were works of art, imo. I used to watch them in theatres in Colorado Springs and that's what made me get rid of my Schwinn Varsity and get a real road bike in the late '70s.

And he's exactly right. Cycling isn't a self selling spectator sport for Americans. You have to package a program to sell it over here and nobody does it better than Aisner. His promotional efforts are probably one of the main reasons cycling is so popular in Colorado today.

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Old 03-07-13, 04:54 AM
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I'm a european, so clearly this article isn't really addressing the culture I live in - though as far as cycling is concerned, the UK is closer to the US than to, say, Belgium.

I think the author has a really good point. He isn't suggesting changing the races, but merely packaging the TV presentation to make them more accessible and potentially interesting to the general audience that is interested in sports but doesn't understand bike racing. Even over here that would be extremely useful. It would take a bit of skill in both editing and scripting in order to make it both entertaining and educational to the non-cyclist - ultimately we want them to have some clue about the context of what they are watching - but it could be done. I've shown "Chasing Legends" to a number of people who know nothing about cycling, for example, and they have all been enthralled. No reason that couldn't be done with other races to build an audience. And bigger audiences mean more sponsors.
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Old 03-07-13, 09:40 AM
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And NBC Sports ain't doing much to help since they took over for Versus. Wasn't the best with Versus but it was at least something and much better than what it is now.
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Old 03-07-13, 09:48 AM
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I am quite new to the sport but feel the addition of power meter feeds, heart rate etc on screen in a similar way to some Formula footage could help the viewing experience. I am aware that, that info is closely guarded but for the sake of continued sponsorship I think it would help a lot
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Old 03-07-13, 09:55 AM
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i'm not sure i really care whether or not cycling in the U.S can successfully pander to the majority of american sports enthusiasts. do we really want a bunch of NASCAR types jumping in the pool with us? figuratively speaking... we should be careful of what we wish for.

one of the turn offs, for me, of our big three sports is that they are TOO pervasive. there is no balance.

OT: i just wonder why every european broadcast team has to have a Scot as the color man. what's that all about? (not that there's anything wrong with that)
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Old 03-07-13, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan
i'm not sure i really care whether or not cycling in the U.S can successfully pander to the majority of american sports enthusiasts. do we really want a bunch of NASCAR types jumping in the pool with us? figuratively speaking... we should be careful of what we wish for.
After what happened to HTC Columbia, you don't think it would be good were the sport mire attractive to sponsors?


OT: i just wonder why every european broadcast team has to have a Scot as the color man. what's that all about? (not that there's anything wrong with that)
Sean Kelly isn't a Scot.
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Old 03-07-13, 10:22 AM
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they should turn off the commentary half the time and mic the peloton. i would be glued to it. at least half the time, the commentary is just filling the audio space, and i'd rather listen to the tires humming and gears clicking. hearing what those guys chat to each other would be pretty enlightening and would really put the viewer out on the road with the cyclists.
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Old 03-07-13, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan

OT: i just wonder why every european broadcast team has to have a Scot as the color man. what's that all about? (not that there's anything wrong with that)
Eurosport's major team is David Harmon and Irishman Sean kelly.

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Old 03-07-13, 02:42 PM
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I've been watching Paris-Nice. Nice days, high camera shots from the copter(s) are sweet as are the motor paced shots. What is missing are better speed, slope, and watt info as well as camera shots and commentary that focus on strategy. Last nights commentary on slick roads, the wipe out, Sky's strategy was good but it would have been better if that started earlier. Trying to track individual riders is tough unless the team is tight and you can focus on team colors, then riders. Instant graphics that show how sprinters are dropped on climbs, showing the spread..that'd be nice. Trying to show climbs is difficult but showing watt output/demand would be cool like comparing a breakaway group to the peloton. I like the shots of the domestics hustling water! Then team cars passing those dropped 'cause they weren't in it anymore.
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Old 03-07-13, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan
i'm not sure i really care whether or not cycling in the U.S can successfully pander to the majority of american sports enthusiasts. do we really want a bunch of NASCAR types jumping in the pool with us? figuratively speaking... we should be careful of what we wish for.

one of the turn offs, for me, of our big three sports is that they are TOO pervasive. there is no balance.

OT: i just wonder why every european broadcast team has to have a Scot as the color man. what's that all about? (not that there's anything wrong with that)
I understand what you're saying and would add that just because the sport is perceived as largely European is part of the reason it's not widely popular yet. Americans think of it like soccer precisely because they don't really realize the danger or physical toll. One of the reasons Armstrong enjoyed wide popularity (or still does in places) is because he was seen as totally dominant in the most prestigious European race. American couch potatoes love their violence.

But there are still fans to be won if the sport is to survive to be more than a niche sport for cyclists, imo. That's where our future talent will be influenced into the sport.
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Old 03-07-13, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Jseis
I've been watching Paris-Nice. Nice days, high camera shots from the copter(s) are sweet as are the motor paced shots. What is missing are better speed, slope, and watt info as well as camera shots and commentary that focus on strategy. Last nights commentary on slick roads, the wipe out, Sky's strategy was good but it would have been better if that started earlier. Trying to track individual riders is tough unless the team is tight and you can focus on team colors, then riders. Instant graphics that show how sprinters are dropped on climbs, showing the spread..that'd be nice. Trying to show climbs is difficult but showing watt output/demand would be cool like comparing a breakaway group to the peloton. I like the shots of the domestics hustling water! .
A lot of those kinds of ideas were used in the coverage of the old Coors classics (some which were filmed by the article's author). The 1988 ESPN coverage was especially interesting even though Grewal was the only rider in the top five overall against the 7-11 team. It wasn't live coverage but it was a better watch than hours focused on the peloton because it told the story of the race.

https://www.amazon.com/Red-Zinger-Coo...ews/B000FH2YTS


Then team cars passing those dropped 'cause they weren't in it anymore.
I know they'd appreciate that, lol....."Hi mom I'm about to abandon this race"
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Old 03-08-13, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
I'm a european, so clearly this article isn't really addressing the culture I live in - though as far as cycling is concerned, the UK is closer to the US than to, say, Belgium.

I think the author has a really good point. He isn't suggesting changing the races, but merely packaging the TV presentation to make them more accessible and potentially interesting to the general audience that is interested in sports but doesn't understand bike racing. Even over here that would be extremely useful. It would take a bit of skill in both editing and scripting in order to make it both entertaining and educational to the non-cyclist - ultimately we want them to have some clue about the context of what they are watching - but it could be done. I've shown "Chasing Legends" to a number of people who know nothing about cycling, for example, and they have all been enthralled. No reason that couldn't be done with other races to build an audience. And bigger audiences mean more sponsors.
I think it has been done. Throughout most of the 80s CBS broadcasted extremely entertaining cycling coverage. Then ABC took over in '89 and the coverage went down hill. I do remember reading that ABC beat out CBS in '89 because they were willing to use the tour video feed; CBS had sent their own TV crew to cover the race.

CBS cycling coverage


vs.

ABC cycling coverage

[h=1]
[/h]
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Old 03-08-13, 06:12 AM
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Interesting comments from a guy who has experience on both sides of the Atlantic.

Bicycling: How has the American broadcast of the Tour evolved?

Liggett: When I first started doing the Tour de France for Americans with CBS, we did good weekly shows, but they would pull them together more as an adventure film than a reportage on the Tour de France. The outside broadcast trucks were in Paris the whole race, so at the end of every week I’d be flown or ride a helicopter back to Paris and do a voice-over for the broadcast, then take the train back to Pau or wherever. We would have a really good day of racing, but if the stage didn’t affect the overall, we wouldn’t even name the day’s winner.

Bicycling: You wouldn’t announce stage winners?

Liggett: [Laughing] No, nobody had ever heard of them. I remember our producer at CBS, David Michaels, he’d say, “Nobody in New York City has ever heard of this guy, and nobody ever will!” The goal was to not confuse the American audience, to not lose sight of the overall project, which was who won the Tour de France. I remember one guy, Valerio Tebaldi, having a really emotional stage win, probably the only big race he’d ever win, and tears were streaming down his face as he crossed the line. He didn’t get mentioned, poor guy. It was like, “Nah, forget it. The only thing interesting about him is that he cried!”
https://www.bicycling.com/news/2012-t...ur-american-tv
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Old 03-08-13, 06:44 AM
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lol That is true that CBS edited out a lot of footage (even the contemporary TDF videos leave out too much TT & TTT footage, IMO) But I think Phil is wrong about Tebaldi '88 stage win; Ido remember watching him cry the last 100 or so meters to the finish. If I remember correctly, CBS would broadcast two shows on two different days; a short program on Saturday, and a longer one on Sunday. Maybe they cut his stage win for the shorter program, but I know I saw him crying on his way to his first stage victory.

.:Edit:.

Tebaldi burst into tears after he crossed the line and in the arms of his soigner. Yeah, I remember now, CBS did broadcast that.

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Old 03-08-13, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Cat4Lifer
I think it has been done. Throughout most of the 80s CBS broadcasted extremely entertaining cycling coverage. Then ABC took over in '89 and the coverage went down hill. I do remember reading that ABC beat out CBS in '89 because they were willing to use the tour video feed; CBS had sent their own TV crew to cover the race.

CBS cycling coverage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24aa8StJsa4

vs.

ABC cycling coverage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCKSq2OFMeA
Oh yeah, lol. That's not just being lazy that's ABC being non topical.
Someone told me that Alcala is supposed to be riding in the Redlands Classic this year?!?
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Old 03-09-13, 02:57 PM
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What I would really like to see more than anything is coverage of American stage races. Criteriums and circuit races would be the most attractive to new American audiences anyway, just like in the early Colorado stage races. If the media powers that be decide that's not marketable enough then maybe just short pieces on American riders like Andrew Talansky, Taylor Phinney, and Tejay van Garderen in the European stage races edited down for short teasers on ESPN or one of the other American sports shows just to generate interest.

Even I don't follow the European races as much as when Americans are involved in them and I prefer the long European coverage of those when I'm watching.....But I'm a pedal pushing cycling nut and not most Americans. What I don't like sitting through are unedited individual and team time trials and I know I ain't alone in those sentiments.

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Old 03-09-13, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by whitemax
And NBC Sports ain't doing much to help since they took over for Versus. Wasn't the best with Versus but it was at least something and much better than what it is now.
NBCS has truly AWFUL music at the beginning and end of each segment. Can't they come up with something better than the deep strings or if nothing else at least come up with a few new selections and alternate them?
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Old 03-11-13, 12:30 PM
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No Tour of Flanders on NBC Cycling?
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Old 03-11-13, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by kesam
I am quite new to the sport but feel the addition of power meter feeds, heart rate etc on screen in a similar way to some Formula footage could help the viewing experience. I am aware that, that info is closely guarded but for the sake of continued sponsorship I think it would help a lot
I agree this would add interest, but you'd need it as a % of FTP, LTHR for it to be meaningful.

More importantly, they need to do a better job laying out who's in the break, how far down the chase is, the effect on GC, and the various jersey's etc.

Eurosport does a better job of this with graphics.

The average fan looks at the race, and it's all one big jumble, with no idea of where the chess peices are on the board, or how each piece moves.

If you're watching live, there are websites, such as Europsort that give you most of this. But you need to watch live, and coordinate TV and web.

Tv needs to incorporate graphics making the race situation and dynamics easier to follow for the non hard core fan.
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Old 03-11-13, 01:19 PM
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There's not enough beer or (half)naked chicks in road racing for American fans. There needs to be one or the other for the average fan to pay attention for any amount of time.
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Old 03-11-13, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy Somnifac
There's not enough beer or (half)naked chicks in road racing for American fans. There needs to be one or the other for the average fan to pay attention for any amount of time.
They could work on the half naked chicks. There are the occassionally bikini (or less ) clad female fans on the side of the road.

Promoters could encourage this, and TV do a better job of focusing on this, rather than guys in Borat suits.
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Old 03-11-13, 02:18 PM
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I'm certainly not going to complain if that were to happen.
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Old 03-11-13, 04:12 PM
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Maybe the could just have criteriums on aero bars only....Kind of like a figure 8 stock car race. Americans could bring a whole new twist to this sport.
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Old 04-21-13, 11:19 AM
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Bike jerseys just don't have the advertising acreage of the Nascar Field,
and they go round and round, in front of the cameras.

+ there is the whole gasoline powered television
with all the car brand ads, several times an Hour.. .
adding $500 per unit sold . [+ deductible off Corp. Taxes]
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Old 04-21-13, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
After what happened to HTC Columbia, you don't think it would be good were the sport mire attractive to sponsors?



Sean Kelly isn't a Scot.
Nor is Sean Yates, Dan Lloyd or Magnus Backstedt.
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