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by Mark Zalewski
March 3, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: What is the Hammer Series? Digging deeper into the races that could change cycling; Preview: Women’s WorldTour kicks off on the gravel roads of the Strade Bianche this weekend; Fourth stage of the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo cancelled; British Cycling to rethink relationship with Team Sky; Wiggins refuses to talk to media over UKAD investigation; Belgian race organisers focus on preventing sidewalk riding; Stybar ready for Strade Bianche; Woet Poels will not start Paris-Nice due to knee problem; Final teams announced for Amstel Gold Race; Sporza fails to secure rights for Italian races; Colorado Classic to add entertainment component for financial stability; Video: Final kilometres of Le Samyn; The Peak District Journey.
Sporza, the sports division of the Belgian national public-service broadcaster VRT, will not be able to air the top Italian races such as Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-Sanremo, the Tour of Lombardy and the Giro d’Italia. Eurosport will be the broadcaster for the events.
“This is a financial issue,” said Luc Van Langenhoven, manager of Sporza. “With the acquisition of Eurosport in the European market the US network Discovery [Communications] wants to present itself as a cycling station. Discovery has therefore used larger budgets to acquire the rights of cycling races, in this case Italy. Those rights are sold Europe-wide. This means that they apply to the whole of Europe, not for the individual countries.”
Discovery Communications already had a controlling stake in Eurosport when it purchased the remaining shares from the French media group TF1 in 2015 for €491m.
“For Sporza, VRT and our many viewers it is unfortunate, there is no public or commercial broadcaster in Europe open just with such large, relevant and ad-free live race offerings as the VRT.
“But we continue this season with all the other races that we aired last year. Not just send all the top Flemish races, but also the ASO races like Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, the Fleche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour de France.”
Click through to read more at Sporza.