Your Wednesday Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

November 2, 2016

In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Van Aert and Verschueren defend in Koppenbergcross; Team Novo Nordisk CEO Southerland calls for more nuanced debate on TUEs; Vaughters on WorldTour: A race to the bottom; Shane Sutton responds to findings of internal investigation; Van der Haar returns to podium; Nicholas Roche talks about move from Sky to BMC; RideLondon-Surrey Classic and Velon sign three-year partnership; Phil Gaimon announces retirement; Bahrain-Merida filling out roster, has first training camp; Colin Joyce joins Rally Cycling; Jelly Belly trading gaining European experience with return of Tvetcov; Give your bicycle a ‘boost’; Ride a bike on your stomach.

Vaughters on WorldTour: A race to the bottom

by CyclingTips

WorldTour team boss Jonathan Vaughters has penned an op-ed regarding the proposed changes to the WorldTour, in which he says the promotion/relegation idea cannot work in cycling as it does in other sport, and that an alternative business model of a league format needs to be implemented. Here is an excerpt from the feature:

2016LT100_Vaughters

Due to the limited sponsor-only revenue model in cycling and the unwillingness of wealthier race organizers to partition the media rights or media rights revenue, cycling teams need to come up with a radically different solution than the models that have failed for the last 100 years. All the teams in the WorldTour need to become one business, not 18. In other words: a league of teams and a singular business entity, like you see in other major sports.

Professional cycling finds itself in a very competitive media business world. Action sports, fast-paced digital content, large traditional sports, Jenna Marbles videos on YouTube, you name it — these are our competitors in a saturated marketplace. Our competition for audience, our competition for advertising dollars (sponsorship), and our competition for fan loyalty. Unfortunately, cycling is too busy fighting with itself to focus any significant effort on where the real opportunities exist. On a business level, we should stop making each other competition and start recognizing all these other forms of entertainment are our competitors.

A singular business would allow cycling to develop platforms that keep finances more stable, fans entertained, and media interest focused. Resources could be pooled for production of new, behind-the-scenes content, athlete character development, collective merchandise sales efforts, collective sponsorship sales efforts, and collective media-production efforts. New ideas could develop and engage the growing fan based fantasy team interests. Drafting of u23 athletes turns into an event as opposed to an unknown process. Sponsors would be purchasing into a known and transparent system of measurable metrics and cooperative effort to maximize sponsorship value. Maybe a few of these ideas could even start to produce revenue that isn’t from sponsorship. Finally.

Velon aside, we aren’t doing any of these things, successfully or collectively. This diversification of revenue and responsibility would evolve professional cycling from a business on the edge into a stable operation with no annual single point of failure and little stability. A global sport with our kind of history and interest should not be a year-to-year proposition for the vast majority of the athletes, teams, support staff and sponsors. Can we agree on that?

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