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  • lowercasev

    CA should put more racing on Periscope. At NRS Battle on the Border on the weekend, the camera man had his iPhone out and was broadcasting some of the race live! Pretty cool.

  • Stompin

    I’d love to see women’s racing on TV, let alone live TV. I can’t see how you could get women’s racing live on TV, so many obstacles to overcome. The main obstacle being money to fund the resources required to make a decent coverage possible. Women’s racing needs some strong and savvy women from the business to make it happen.

    • Dave

      Making the content appealing is an even bigger barrier than money. Even if the race organisers have the coverage produced, if they can’t show the networks that it will hold the viewers until the next commercial break then it won’t get shown.

      Toughening up the races would help – cycling tactics are incomprehensible to the average layperson, but they still tune in the Tour de France because you don’t need to understand the tactics to see that the riders have to compete against both the course and their competitors on a proper mountain stage.

      • Superpilot

        This is ridiculous Dave.
        The women race plenty of the hardest one day races, more than 99.99% of recreational MEN could even dream of handling, and yet you bring it down to a comparison of gender.
        I challenge you to race any of the womens pro races and prove how soft they are! Go on, Tour of Flanders womens race next year for you, I dare you!
        The article is saying how the demand is growing from people, like myself, becoming more interested in the growing amount of coverage. No need to bring it down!
        No wonder women get sick of this tosh!

  • David

    Scheduling of races needs to be done well too. At the world tour level, I would love to see the mens and womens races occupy different days or weeks for grand tours. There is currently a few weeks gap between either the Citerium du Daphine, Rud de Sud or Tour de Swiss and the Tour De France. That seems like to me a logical place to slot a womens grand tour.

    Taking a look at other sports, with Cricket, the best coverage would have to be with the Big Bash – where we just get wall to wall coverage every night of the week, there is a game on between say pink and orange? Tennis Grand Slams have non-stop matches on, mens, womens, doubles. Media saturation is the best way to freeze out your rivals and to guarantee growth.

    Cycling has to learn to fill the screens on all days. Give me coverage of a womens classic on the rest day of the tour de France in the rest day town rather than coverage of the men out for a training ride. You have the journalists on site, make use of them to cover live sport rather than meaningless jibber jabber…

  • jules

    nice article Matt. I suspect the answer to getting more women’s racing on TV is as much to do with the viewing imperative as logistics and costs. I know someone who had a TV show once. it occupied a non-prime time slot, which essentially catered to at-home parents (mums) during the day time. he eventually lost the slot when the network got a sniff of broadcasting a similar show at lower cost. the point is unless you’re prime time TV, there is a whole host of potential shows that could be broadcast and will cater to a semi-interested audience. you’re a commodity and you’re replaceable.

    I’m not saying that no one is highly interested in women’s cycling – just that it’s a niche product (so is men’s cycling) and not in a position to get on TV in same way as AFL footy (i.e. huge demand, ratings). so some of the ideas in the article are perhaps useful for minimising costs, which helps, but the problem is – the sport is competing against a raft of others – women’s volleyball, netball, etc. from a TV network’s perspective, it’s likely a case of “pick one, they all rate about x% on a saturday arvo”.

    i think increasingly you’re correct that the internet is the future. but it begs the question – is the objective to cater to fans, or reach a broader audience? obviously the problem with streaming is that it supports more the former (catering to existing fans).

    • DaveoAU

      I was going to post but I realised you had said everything I wanted to Jules. Very interesting article from a tech point of view.

    • Superpilot

      I think the main point jules, is that streaming provides a useful alternative that gets the races out there in the first place, which just hadn’t really been happening. And that TV might not actually be the end game. Although TV is the main target of the article, we are seeing more and more sports go to direct internet subs.
      I think TV is an archaic method in a demand based space (show people stuff, and they can watch it if they want, rather than people pick what they want to watch like the internet). In future sports will live and die by the demand of direct subscribers I believe, as TV is way overpriced (to sell shows to, and produce). It is possible that sports on the edge will suffer, and womens and mens cycling may both suffer.
      Demand based entertainment could end up with us having Running Man, Death Race and Murder Ball for entertainment in the future, given modern human thirst for semi scripted reality based drama, death and violence! LOL
      Aside from that, I’d be happy to see womens cycling on the TV news when someone from that country has done well too, even newsrooms seem to be blinkered to the sport.

  • Super Conrad

    There is a kickstarter campaign to try and fund a cycle show featuring women’s cycling here; https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1617741421/voxwomen-cycling-show

  • hbeale

    Nobody cares about women’s racing. This push for more publicity for women is nonsense. If people cared or wanted to watch it they would. This ‘peer pressure’ that you should support women’s racing is asinine. Nobody cares.

    • Jessi Braverman

      Having been at this stage finish (and every stage finish) of the Women’s Tour in the UK last year, I am going to have to vehemently disagree with you there.

    • Nath

      No one? Really? I care, and it seems given the comments on this article alone (not to mention the mere existence of Ella) seem to suggest some do. Of course women’s cycling needs publicity, just as cycling needs it in general. People wouldn’t care about football, AFL or League if it weren’t for the masses of publicity they receive even though they are well established sports. Just look at Rugby…as soon as it stopped being on free to air TV the general public interest, newspaper coverage and even crowd numbers began to diminish. Nobody cares about anything until their attention is drawn to it. And yes, I know you are a troll, but sometimes stupid needs a response.

    • Gordon….or Nobody

      I must be a nobody. I went to Geelong for the “Cadel” race on Saturday for the women’s event and to check the lay of the land. I planned to go both days but decided not to go Sunday as I figured I had soaked up the atmosphere, watched some great racing and would see more on TV on Sunday. I was also able to do other things before and after (see more below)
      Excluding the participants in the organised ride there were plenty of interested spectators, certainly not the same as Sunday but plenty of nobodies there.
      I love cycle racing but am the first to admit a 5 hour stage can be pretty boring. Women’s races are generally shorter so I get a better “fun for time required ratio”.
      Perhaps I could go down the path of making a pathetic comment about the required uniform of women’s beach volleyball in order to peak your interest.
      I could go on but it appears your mind is already made up.

    • jules

      a lot of people don’t care about men’s racing either. so what? those who care are interested. that’s what counts. I don’t find all women’s racing interesting, but some certainly is. same with men’s.

    • RacingCondor

      Another ‘nobody’ here too. We have images from the Prudential Tour (women’s Tour of Britain) below. Here are a couple of links to the Tour Series crit’s which are broadcast on UK TV.



      Worth mentioning that the women’s races are on before the men’s so the crowds you can see in these could just show for the men if that was what they wanted. I could go on…
      The biggest problem that cycling has is that with the exception of track and crit racing it’s almost impossible to understand for a novice viewer.

      • That’s a great point! A well produced, highlights package (more than 20 minutes) could carry so much weight and educate potential fans as to what they’re seeing, when and how. Rochelle Gilmore does a great job of this on the World Cup highlights packages, but more is needed. More explaining the race situation, why attack now, why sit in the bunch.

  • Kenneth Sanders

    Regarding women cycling or any cycling for that matter television broadcasting in North America is dreadful! Coverage sucks, time slots suck, and extremely limited channel selection. Anything is better then what we currently have. It’s sad to say but I can watch a channel 24 hours a day about books and book clubs, home shopping networks, bass fishing, and multiple channels on our crappy government, but nothing at all dedicated to cycling (Mountain, Road, Cross, BMX, Touring, or Downhill). Internet is king at this time in our lives. Now women cycling is getting more attention and that is outstanding to hear; although, it is going to be a tough go at it. Just like men’s professional cycling women’s cycling is being dominated by a handful of top riders. Promoters in the states don’t provide women events for several reasons, Cost being the most obvious reason, but also the lack of participation. I have heard promoters complain about the minimal amount of riders attending races at the grass roots level to help build the women races, but when ten women show up for five separate events it just doesn’t stand to reason to continue promoting a women’s event, thus so the women race with the men and often animate the race.

    • Derek Maher

      Hi Kenneth,I do remember the bad old days in the 80,s when running a race you were lucky to get 5 women riders.As race organizers we had to throw them in with the junior males race.One thing we made sure there were prizes for the ladies and some of them showed up the juniors.Also in the junior tour of Ireland in the early 90,s a ladies national team was allowed to race to give them stage racing experience.

      • Kenneth Sanders

        Hello Derek,
        At least things are improving on a global scale. It would be nice to see more ladies racing here in the States. Heck, I’d be happy to see more racing of any form. The content doesn’t bother me as much as some of the poor commentating. I understand that the UCI is attempting to make tv viewing more interesting by having on bike camera’s, but I think that is going to be a good year or so before they can actually have those images or video’s on live tv. It would also be nice to have the bare minimum of actual speed of the riders displayed for the viewers. If we can’t have that I’d rather hear what is going on on the race radio’s, team radios, etc..

        • Jessi Braverman

          The States has it pretty good as far as live feeds for women’s cycling go. While racing is rarely on television, it’s regularly streamed online. In May alone, we could watch the ATOC women’s time trial, the USPRO time trial and road race and the Winston-Salem criterium and road race. Philly’s up next. You can watch that here on Sunday: http://live.phillybikerace.com/

  • Martin Young

    There’s definitely a market out there for it, just ask ITV how many people watched The Women’s Tour. Looking at the live streams from the Winston-Salem Classic there have been 9,000 views for the crit and 18,000 for the RR – even if Livestream’s stats aren’t 100% accurate that’s a lot of people.

    So here’s my idea. I’d love to see a Tennis TV style paid live streaming service set up. Just like Tennis TV you could pay per race (say, around £5/$10AUS), monthly or annually. Subscribers could get live stream and on demand playback access to the races they’ve paid for. The organisers/producers could then try and sell same day highlights packages to traditional broadcasters. There could be geoblocking where rights are an issue.

    Obviously the producers would have to target races that have the infrastructure (4G signal, high speed broadband) to support streaming but there must be at least ten races that could be streamed live in a season. Even if 2,000 people sign up (why not, looking at viewing figures?) then you’d be subsidising around 30% of the cost to organisers.

    It seems like an opportunity for fans to get more live racing while supporting organisers in a way that allows them to increase the exposure of their races and sponsors. I’m far from knowledgeable on tv production though, so might be absolute nonsense!

    • Stompin

      I think ultimately the problem is women are a small fraction of the cycling retail market, hence the numbers not being there. The audience is there – not the retail numbers.

      • Martin Young

        Does the retail market have any impact on whether we can professionalise and publicise the elite level of women’s cycling? The majority of sponsorship in the World Tour isn’t specific to selling bikes to men. Don’t get me wrong, getting more women on their bike and giving them a wider range of good quality equipment is absolutely a good thing, but I don’t think that it has any bearing on the lack of media coverage.

        • Stompin

          I presume we’re still talking about getting women’s cycling on TV? TV time slots are paid for by advertisers and its expensive. Having content is one thing, getting it on TV is another.

      • Superpilot

        The audience is what matters, you are selling the vision of the races, not the retail products. the demographic of the audience, if it has the numbers, is what makes the product (coverage of races) viable to advertisers, not whether they buy anything cycling related. Sure, the demographic will include a lot of people who are cyclists, but they are mums and dads, employers, employees, etc etc and retail brands will target those aspects, rather than the cycling aspect.

        • Stompin

          Who is paying for the TV network time slot? Advertisers, not the audience. Cart before the horse.

  • Derek Maher

    Eurosport do show pre recorded womens races.Okay they are heavily edited to fit into a time slot and usually shown before the mens race when its also recorded.Maybe the sports channels could use these recordings and show them say before a live broadcast stage of the mens events.Perhaps its not the full deal but it could progress to better things ?.Also it would be nice to have a commentator on these recordings show a bit of excitement and not some flat voice over which does not do the ladies justice.

  • peteonbike

    I don’t know if any of the women’s teams are currently collecting on bike footage. I think there is an opportunity there using front and rear cameras to generate some interest. Ok, it wouldn’t be live to start with but I’m sure there would be interest in high light packages.

    Throw in some on bike commentary, short pre and post interviews with descriptions of what was going on…..
    I’d be interested

  • Robert Merkel

    While the tech isn’t quite there yet, at some point in the not too distant future drones will be capable of providing helicopter-like footage (and even go where helicopters can’t) at a fraction of the cost of conventional helicopter coverage.

    While you won’t be able to use them as a relay for live footage for a while, it will mean that on-the-cheap highlights packages have those lovely scenery shots and show sprint tactics clearly. Should make the highlights packages an easier sell.

  • velocite

    As a fan, and maybe some would say not much of a fan, there are probably less than twenty races per year that I relate to positively, in that I know when they are, anticipate and follow them. All men’s races. When I watch a women’s race on TV I enjoy it, but in terms of listing those of importance, I struggle. Partly because the races don’t exist and partly because of a low profile. Too low for me, anyhow. So how to raise the profile?

    I’m wondering if building up the top female riders as personalities might help. In Australia, can we make more of women like Kimberly Wells? Cycling Central used to feature females as commentators or guests from time to time, but it was inconsistent. Matt Keenan has featured Robbie McEwen on his (stolen!) Bike Lane. Matt, scrub Stuey, get some women on board!

    Everyone is interested in women on the track at Olympics time because of Anna. Who is our fave for the next women’s event – whatever that is?

    • velocite

      I saw some power figures for Kirsten Wild some time ago. I must get off on powerful women. OMG!

    • Jessi Braverman

      Well, Australia took home quite a few rainbow jerseys from Paris in February. Nettie Edmondson won the omnium, Australia won the team pursuit, Bec Wiasak won the individual pursuit. I don’t think there’s a shortage of favourites for the World Championships next year or the Rio Olympics. As far as building up the top female riders as personalities, that’s part of our aim here on Ella. Totally agree that it’s a critical part of generating and maintaining interest in the sport.

      • velocite

        Don’t know if you’re disagreeing with me or not. Sure there are track women other than Anna, but they’re support acts in terms of profile. And the worlds, they seem like a way of monitoring how everyone is going for the Olympics – on the track.

        I believe the AFL over many years has considered women as part of their target market. Trying to think of young groupies at this point – but supporting football tends to go with families, I think. Maybe so does watching the cycling. I watched the Giro en famille, and if she went to bed before the end she’d catch up with the recording over breakfast. But in the SBS studio it was a boys club. I think Henk Vogels is great value, Matt Keenan also, but if women were included as a matter of course it just might, over time, change the perception of the sport to one that’s not all about blokes.

        BTW, well done and best wishes with Ella.

        • Dave

          Cycling should copy cricket, where the recent Indian Premier League (a men’s event) had Lisa Sthalekar and Isa Guha on a couple of the commentary teams for the first time which went very well.

          If the cricket board with the most backward approach to women’s sport in the world can get it right, why can’t SBS copy/paste from them?

        • Jessi Braverman

          I’m agreeing with you that building up personalities is a key way to generate (and keep) interest in the sport – both men and women’s cycling (but particularly women). I definitely don’t see Anna as the only draw for Australian on the track. I also think teams, sponsors and media have done a great job over the last few years of slowly but steadily building up the profile of their riders (and the teams as a whole). You just have to know where to look – because it’s not always on the bigger sites or most obvious places. In saying that, Ella is absolutely a place where you can (and hopefully will!) look for that type of content.

  • Here’s something interesting. In better-funded races, some of the signal-link helicopters can be replaced by fixed-wing aircraft. They can fly much higher, meaning they can beam signals further away and cloud cover isn’t an issue. Here’s the flight path from a fixed-wing signal-link aircraft at the recent Tour des Fjords in Norway. https://twitter.com/Pedalingtheroad/status/605312653259603970/photo/1

  • For me, sport is a frontline conversation on gender roles and gender equality. Having women’s sport more visible to the general public will shift the perception of many the women are only ornaments to men’s sporting events (see podium girls).

    I had a look through this morning’s newspapers in Melbourne and in The Age there was a total of one article on women’s sport, the Herald Sun had two! I didn’t count the total number of sports articles, but my estimate would be 20+ each. I would have expected at least one article on the soccer world cup that starts on Sunday, but there were none.

    As a punter, I would like to know what I can do to help build the sport and the audience aside from turning up to races and bringing friends.


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