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UCI grant Discovery WC rights from 2023 to 2030

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2/21/2022 5:58 AM

The UCI have partnered with Discovery Sports to provide footage of WC racing for 8 years from 2023. Is this the end of free viewing of WC races? Will Warner still be commentating? Changes are coming and I struggle to believe they'll be good.

https://www.uci.org/pressrelease/the-uci-set-to-partner-with-discovery-sports-for-the-organisation-and/5HnMDlfipQhShJdrn5LcPj?fbclid=IwAR29d7y3MH2EHGTeAOcBxLdTa32ua5EejoyXF1owmyQaslW6c0tHD2-JANI

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2/21/2022 6:24 AM

Oh wow. Time to make a bag of popcorn and head over to the comment site.

On a more serious note the red Bull and uci mtb partnership seemed to really work well for everyone. The discovery and ews partnership has been pretty rough. Not that there aren’t other factors but I think a major factor Reese Wilson’s career has exploded is the spotlight he gets on Red Bull and he doesn’t even wear one of their helmets. If jack was having the year he is having in dh he wouldn’t YouTube vids to make a payday. The quality and reach of red Bull would be enough.

Maybe we can see a redbull backed wyn masters not a race tour? I’d watch Warner yell about what’s happening on screen then the snooze fest that was the ews pro stages any day.

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2/21/2022 6:42 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 6:47 AM

here are the words from the press release
The UCI set to partner with Discovery Sports for the organisation and promotion of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup from 2023
UCI - 21 Feb 2022
At its recent meeting in Montreux (Switzerland) from 10 to 12 February, the Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) decided to enter into exclusive negotiations with Discovery Sports for the organisation and promotion of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for eight seasons, from 2023 to 2030.

The proposal by Discovery Sports, which was selected by the UCI as part of a tender process, comprises several strands: those relating to sporting and commercial matters, as well as those concerning the production and broadcasting of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

More detailed information on the concept developed by Discovery Sports to further drive the development of the discipline will be communicated at the signing of the contract that will bind the two parties.

The UCI would like to thank Red Bull Media House, the producer and main broadcaster of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, who has used all its expertise to satisfy the passion of mountain bike fans around the world for more than 10 years, while significantly increasing the series' audience during this period.

Discovery Sports will get in touch with the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup organisers as well as all the organisers that expressed their interest in hosting a round of the series for 2023 and 2024.

Meanwhile, all rounds of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz UCI World Cup will be available for viewing on Red Bull TV (RBTV) and on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup broadcasters’ channels.
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if free live stream is not an option, it will be a massive setback for downhill racing and its exposure, but nothing ever goes when wrong when large, corporate media companies get ahold of something, right? fingers crossed. have heard off-the-record rumor that this isn't 100% finalized and that monster is helping push the discovery angle..

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2/21/2022 6:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 6:49 AM

solid results when googling Discovery Sports
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2/21/2022 7:31 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 7:32 AM

I won't jump to conclusions just yet since this is still a ways away. But I have to appreciate the ease of using the RedBull TV app on my phone and TV to watch races. Honestly a real luxury that I guess I took for granted !

Hopefully Discovery does a decent job with it. RedBull fit well into the whole UCI race campaign with RedBull athletes making mini series and the fact that this is more of a niche sport anyways.

Redbull was a huge improvement over the FreeCaster days. I'm sure it comes down to money and RedBull wanted more in return for a new contract. Hard to say.


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2/21/2022 7:37 AM

IMO, Red Bull TV is also "large, corporate media." But they've mostly done a good job with the WCDH broadcasts and I loved being able to watch the replays after work for free. I really hope a free viewing option remains and that the quality of coverage--camera angles, commentary, etc--doesn't drop with this move.

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2/21/2022 8:05 AM

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2/21/2022 8:05 AM

Guarantee that any free option is going away, so might as well accept it now. RedBull kept it free because it was one giant advertisement for their product. Discovery is a true media company so all streaming coverage is going behind a paywall.

I will wait to see how the coverage goes before I start complaining. I have not watched their Giro coverage previously so don't have any experience yet.

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2/21/2022 8:25 AM

In Europe I think this will be available on Eurosport and also on Discovery+ subscription. I don't know if this is good or bad but maybe they will have more money from TV rights that are going to teams. Maybe we will have more rounds...I don't know. One thing that they need to figure out are the commenters. At least in our country last time when I watched world champs on Eurosport it was cringe. I had to buy a VPN and watch the RedBull feed online.

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2/21/2022 8:27 AM

I remember so many complaints over the years re: Red Bull TV coverage.

Whatever these were, a paywall is most definitely much worse.

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2/21/2022 8:29 AM

Anyone know if discovery's roadie coverage is any good? The only thing I know about them is they own gmbn... and to be honest I can't stand anything they put on youtube. Their ews recaps aren't as good as they could be either.

More to the point, I hope this doesn't signify that red bull (or red bull media) will be reducing it's involvement in mtb in general. I'm not a big fan of any energy drink, but rb has done a lot for mtb. Best case scenario (i.e. probably a total fantasy) they're doing this so they can setup a different race series, like a multi stop hardline type thing.

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2/21/2022 8:36 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 8:37 AM

Anyone who works in the TV realm know how Monster Energy has kept the Supercross series under this whole time?

I have to assume that if RedBull & Monster are still involved in the process, that title sponsor is going to be the monetary battle front we the viewers will have to hope proves profitable.

If title sponsorship via Discovery is profitable enough for Discovery (which is how it's SUPPOSED TO WORK), then the advertisement covers the cost of our viewing experience.

I loved paying for the Peacock network last year so that I could watch all the qualifying and finals of the Supercross and Outdoor Nationals for motocross the next day or days later & NOT have to watch ads.

But this year, Peacock is stuffing ads into the replay despite my paid subscription. It shouldn't be both. You either have a free view and paid ads. Or a paid subscription and no ads.

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Trouble Maker. Here to spit truth in the form of sarcasm.

2/21/2022 8:40 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 8:41 AM

kcy4130 wrote:

Anyone know if discovery's roadie coverage is any good? The only thing I know about them is they own gmbn... and to be honest ...more

Personally I would love to see an alternative race series, I remember it was tried in the past with DH1 (IIRC backed by Freecaster?) but it never happened. I know there are people in the industry who'll say the UCI's involvement is a good thing, but it seems to me they are far more interested in bleeding all the money they can out of DH, rather than investing in it.

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2/21/2022 8:54 AM

Just gonna stream it... And not spend a dime.

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2/21/2022 9:07 AM

I had a feeling it was only a matter of time before someone put WC streams behind a paywall. Whether it was Red Bull or otherwise

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2/21/2022 9:32 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 9:34 AM

bizutch wrote:

Anyone who works in the TV realm know how Monster Energy has kept the Supercross series under this whole time?

I have to ...more

There are ads during peacock's live broadcast of the supercross races too. However, they only air commercials between heat races, last change qualifiers and 250/450 main events, not during actual racing. Sure, they could be interviewing people or do more bits like "the science of supercross," while waiting for the next race to get lined up for the start.

I'm more disapointed to learn that Discovery is taking over the World Cups than I was to hear that NBC was taking over World Champs here in the US. I never watched the NBC stuff because it was behind a paywall, but I heard the coverage of the DH World Champs was a garbage recap instead of a broadcast of the top 20 women's and top 30 men's race runs, so I'm glad I didn't drop 60 USD for it. Now US coverage of World Champs is done by some abstract media company that mostly covers high school sports...

And Discovery is owned by Disney, and Disney has screwed up most of the products it has bought. I doubt the mouse is competent enough to get World Cup coverage even close to right.

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2/21/2022 9:48 AM

anotherbikerguy wrote:

IMO, Red Bull TV is also "large, corporate media." But they've mostly done a good job with the WCDH broadcasts and I loved ...more

red bull media house is definitely not small, but it's fairly focused on sport/human achievement. red bull is also a private company. discovery is publicly traded with a variety of other channels (or whatever they're called) like animal planet, hgtv etc. they also own GMBN (play sports group), too, so maybe that can only help.

some background on what discovery sports says it will be
https://corporate.discovery.com/discovery-newsroom/discovery-sports-unveiled-to-showcase-the-scale-and-opportunity-presented-by-its-combined-sports-offering/
(from that page)
"Discovery Sports’ services engage fans and broad audiences in more than 200 markets and in over 20 languages, connecting them with the greatest sporting events in the world. This includes being the Home of the Olympics Games in Europe*; tennis’ Grand Slams; cycling’s Grand Tours and more than 200 days racing a year; the PGA TOUR year-round; the best new and existing electric racing series with ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and FIA eTouring Car World Cup; and every major winter sports World Championship and World Cup event."

it was my understanding that some of the higher-ups at red bull loved mountain biking and they chose to invest in it.

hopefully i'm wrong, but i don't have a lot of faith in the behemoth that is discovery (or its owner Advanced Publications) and its bean counters/shareholders to find enough value in DH racing (specifically) to make it as accessible as we have it now. maybe they will the first year, but for 8 years?

like you said, we have been so lucky with great coverage by red bull. they carried on the legacy of freecaster and i hope discovery can keep it going too.

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2/21/2022 9:58 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 10:05 AM

I hope everyone that made a complaint about the FREE redbull coverage over the years, wishes they did not.
Redbull changed the entire landscape of DH and XC racing.
Huge resurgence for both sports, in terms of viewership since Redbull got involved.
They built hype, excitement and did it well.
It is an incredibly hard sport to cover, logistically and they got better and better.

UCI owes redbull a debt of gratitude.

Too early to tell what will come of this, perhaps DiscoTV will lead us to a whole new audience? and that can be good. I just don't know anyone that has a sub or watches it, and the EWS coverage last year in year one, was pretty....well, not great.

As someone that has been in the bike industry and in the racing industry since the late 80's and in my time as team director/tech director for DH race teams in the 90's to product/brand director roles present day, I can give you a snapshot of yesteryear-you all know the sports main exposure in the 90's was Eurosport Live and ESPN in the USA. Often times we'd make the cable networks on Outdoorlife, and sometimes the 3 networks would replay a DH race (ABC, NBC). I don't know what year it was, but when ESPN stopped airing the races, I think about 1998-99, the cracks started forming, throw in the Lance effect (Lance came along, cheated some wins at the tour and the entire industry pivoted to road budgets) by 2001, it was over, TV coverage was slim to none, contracts dried up and DH had its first death.

Bike parks, Trail bikes all contributed to the slow down in DH during the early 2000s.

Then Freecaster came along, what was that, 2008? I hosted a couple live shows with Rob (I was awful, horrible) but the sport was back and getting attention, bike industry was awakened to the excitement of DH again even as DH bike sales still were in a downward trajectory.

Then Redbull came along, really invested money, time and resources and this was really the catalyst of new excitement and growth, I do believe it helped stop the bleeding of DH bike/event erosion. Redbull showcased the sport as it was, the formula one of bike racing.

They have done such an amazing job not just with the live stream, but the extra videos born out of the world cup, making the athletes feel special and making younger riders want to some day be on Redbull TV, to the extent of groms I work with "I wanna be on the redbull sunday race shows someday" not "I wanna race world cups".

Anyway, I will follow UCI world cup wherever it goes, no matter what it costs. I am a DH fan for life, it's a tiny fragment of sport that has given me life really, but, i'd be lying if I said this news is not a complete bummer. So, gonna enjoy this final year with the redbull crew and hope Disco TV can fill the large shoes left by redbull.....and for god sakes, they better hire Rob Warner, I do not wanna watch these things on Mute haha.


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2/21/2022 10:07 AM

if they don't hire warner, we kickstarter to get an alternative audio stream of warner.

also, over the last two-three years b/c of red bull free streams, watching XC has been awesome. i never cared before, but the coverage had me tuning in. hopefully that continues as well.

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2/21/2022 10:13 AM

To my knowledge Disney does not own Discovery. Disney does own NatGeo though.

Discovery owns Eurosport so maybe they already have some infrastructure in place to cover cycling, but I would not want to be them stepping in to take over covering the world cups. It's not the same as covering a road race. And Red Bull has put in a ton of work to improve their system over the years. Unless Discovery is poaching all kinds of staff from Red Bull then they are going to step in a big pile of their own hubris for a while as they figure it out.

I don't know much about the consumer facing end of Discovery these days but I do know they are among the worst companies to work for on the production side (that's a very broad brush as it would be like saying "working for the government sucks"... sure... but the forest service is not the IRS which is not air traffic control).

Sure would be nice if WC DH got more money, a wider audience, better pay for athletes, grows the sport, etc... but I bet this ends up worse for the fans in the end. Good luck to us.

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2/21/2022 10:14 AM

sspomer wrote:

if they don't hire warner, we kickstarter to get an alternative audio stream of warner.

also, over the last two-three years ...more

Kickstarter! yes, perfect....Palmer as his co-host?

Yeah, XC too....between NICA events and Rebull XC shows, a whole new crop of American kids wanna be XC heroes too.

Hell, Redbull XC has inspired old farts too-I've never been so engaged and watching those XC races...so much so, I just built a Nino replica Scott XC bike!

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2/21/2022 10:34 AM

kcy4130 wrote:

Anyone know if discovery's roadie coverage is any good? The only thing I know about them is they own gmbn... and to be honest ...more

veefour wrote:

Personally I would love to see an alternative race series, I remember it was tried in the past with DH1 (IIRC backed by ...more

Wasn't that a Freecaster/Redbull response to the Rocky Roads World Cup fiasco that then quietly went under? With a few of the teams threatening to switch over (the major being Santa Cruz if I'm not mistaken?).

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2/21/2022 10:49 AM

We spend 8 months out of the year talking about team rumors, but what does Warner's contract look like? I'd be surprised if there wasn't some form of non-compete in there with all of the other video segments he's part of for RBMH. As fun as it is listening to Phil Liggett describing the history of every ruin and Castle to fill the commentating gaps during the TdF, would be interesting to see who they tap if Warner isn't interested/able to make the jump.

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2/21/2022 10:53 AM

sspomer wrote:

solid results when googling Discovery Sports
Photo

You have to add channel 🤣🤣🤣

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2/21/2022 10:55 AM

kcy4130 wrote:

Anyone know if discovery's roadie coverage is any good? The only thing I know about them is they own gmbn... and to be honest ...more

veefour wrote:

Personally I would love to see an alternative race series, I remember it was tried in the past with DH1 (IIRC backed by ...more

Primoz wrote:

Wasn't that a Freecaster/Redbull response to the Rocky Roads World Cup fiasco that then quietly went under? With a few of the ...more

Ohhh man, RockyRoads...that was great.
Highest bidder then, and now?

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2/21/2022 10:56 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 10:58 AM

They'll probably use that fat guy who used to announce crank works. You remember, the one who yelled "SHUT THE FRONT DOOR" after each and every single trick... Goddam, that guy was annoying. We've come a long ways in commentary, eh.

Edit, replying to Poweredbyhotdogs.

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2/21/2022 11:11 AM

On a serious note, in the ews last year not all racers were allowed to wear go pros for the race (not sure about practice). People from top teams were allowed to film, but not everyone. Does anyone know why this if this was? I hope it's not related to discovery getting exclusive rights to it.

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2/21/2022 11:38 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2022 11:50 AM

kcy4130 wrote:

They'll probably use that fat guy who used to announce crank works. You remember, the one who yelled "SHUT THE FRONT DOOR" ...more

We've come a long way in WC racing, but Crankworx commentary is still pretty awful IMO. Ed Leigh was painful to listen to during the NZ events.
But yes, Brad Jay takes the award for most annoying commentator ever.

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2/21/2022 12:00 PM

Primoz wrote:

Wasn't that a Freecaster/Redbull response to the Rocky Roads World Cup fiasco that then quietly went under? With a few of the ...more

From what I've read it was Freecaster who were behind it, but they dropped the idea when RB announced they would be providing free coverage of the UCI events using more and better definition cameras than Freecaster were proposing for the breakaway series, so they feared a lot of teams wouldn't compete in DH1 and dropped the idea. It would be the ultimate irony if RB resurrected it in response to Discovery taking over.

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2/21/2022 12:12 PM

I was kinda bummed Redbull was turning WOKE but I fear the commentary and crew will worsen once Discovery take charge.

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