Velon wants to revolutionize TV coverage of cycling

Today the Velon group that includes 11 WorldTour teams, has announced that  it has entered into a revolutionary partnership with Infront Sports & Media, the leading international sports marketing company. The deal will give Velon access to Infront’s market leading technology, media production and sports marketing expertise and enable Velon to build a long term and sustainable economic model for the sport, its teams and riders. The first phase of the partnership will enable live race data to revolutionise the fan experience.

In addition to improving traditional broadcast television, Velon is “building a platform for people to see the content that will reach out to a wider fanbase, and bring the race alive,” Velon CEO Graham Bartlett told VeloNews. In a sport where television revenues are monopolized by race organizers, such a platform is a potential source of revenue for Velon and its 11 WorldTour teams.

“It will provide a unique experience during live racing, with everything [fans] want to know, see, and understand,” Bartlett said. The live telemetry Velon plans to roll out in early summer will include speed, cadence, power, heart rate, altitude, and acceleration data.

Infront is one of the world’s largest sports marketing firms. Through subsidiary HBS, it is responsible for host broadcasting of the FIFA World Cup, among other major projects. In November, Infront was purchased by Wanda Sports Holdings, the same company that was rumored to be interested in purchasing RCS Sport and the Giro d’Italia.

Race organizers have expressed reluctance (to put it mildly) to share their television revenues with teams. Teams are currently reliant on independent sponsorships, a cause of instability even at the highest levels of the sport. A Velon multimedia platform, potentially a source of revenue, would sidestep traditional TV broadcast contracts, which are penned with race organizers.

The long-term partnership between Velon and Infront is positioned to take advantage of the continued fracturing and decline of traditional television viewership, as viewers unbundle from cable packages and, increasingly, get their television online.