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How Do Pros & Fans Feel About Warner Bros. Discovery’s Organization & Coverage of World Cup Racing in 2024?

Apr 11, 2024
by Ed Spratt  

Welcome to the 2024 Pinkbike State of the Sport Survey. This anonymous survey is designed to highlight key issues and riders' perspectives on the sport that we, pro riders, and Pinkbike readers all love so much. We surveyed the best riders in the world to hear their thoughts, ideas, concerns, and criticisms on mountain biking in 2024. Now, we're breaking down what we've learned. We're now publishing a series of articles that break down sections of the results, and you'll see the results in full shortly. This year, we introduced the public survey, which will help gauge public views on the sport and should make for some interesting comparisons to what the racers say. Stay tuned for that. To read the introduction to the survey click here, and to see all the other currently published SOTS articles click here.

Warner Bros Discovery
We asked Taj to create drawings based on the feedback of riders and race fans.


The 2023 season marked a big year of change for the competitive side of mountain biking as, for the first time, all three major disciplines of Downhill, XC and Enduro would be organised and broadcast by the same company. After gaining both the broadcast rights and the duty to organise the events in February 2022, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) had the big task and launching its rebranded "World Series" in 2023 after Red Bull's stint as the official broadcaster.

After a full year of racing, we have checked in with some of the world's best riders and a four-thousand-strong group of race fans to see what people are feeling ahead of the second season of WBD-led racing.

Quick Stats:

Rider Survey: 108 responses

Public Survey: 4055 responses

To start the general overview comparisons between the rider and public surveys, we first look at how much confidence is held in WBD's plans for racing. Looking at the data, it is clear that the riders surveyed are slightly more confident in WBD, but they are still very much undecided with 45% selecting that they felt neutral on the topic. The stats from the public survey of over 4,000 responses were significantly more negative with an equal percentage selecting 'Strongly Disagree' as both negative options in the pro rider survey. Of course, while it's important to keep race fans onside as they are the ones who pay for race coverage, without the trust of the riders there would be no product to sell.

The results play out similarly when we asked if paid coverage would lead to better investment in the sport. While we saw a similar positive response from both surveyed groups, there were more undecided votes in the rider survey with once again a negative swing in the public response. It is worth noting that after just one season it is unlikely we will see any financial benefit from paid coverage, so this will become a more interesting statistic to follow in future years as we hopefully start to see the payoff of WBD's vision for the sport.

One aspect of last year's organisation that we heard several complaints about was the communication between WBD's race organisers and the team, riders and the public. It is interesting to see our figures from both surveys track with this as both riders and race fans hold mostly negative views of the communication from WBD. In the rider survey, just 14% think there has been adequate communication about this year's racing with 65% leaning against this. The public survey saw an even bigger swing as just 6% had a positive view of the communication with 72% holding a negative opinion.

Since the takeover of World Cups in 2022 by WBD, one thing we have seen mentioned a lot is its vision for the sport. With that in mind, we wanted to know what the riders and the public think about the vision and whether it will make it easier for the best riders to come out on top. Once again, the rider survey was mostly undecided on the issue, although 37% disagreed with the statement. The public survey saw only 4% agree with this statement, 33% were undecided and 63% were at some level of disagreement.

Perhaps the biggest change to the structure of a World Cup race weekend under WBD was the inclusion of Semi-Finals helping to break up the top 60 men and top 15 women into 30 and 10 riders for smaller, more broadcastable finals. In both the rider and public survey, the opinions are quite evenly matched with the majority thinking the inclusion of the semi-finals is either poor or very poor. While it may not seem like it from the Pinkbike comment section, the public survey held a slightly better opinion of Semi-Finals than riders. There were 10% of respondents who thought they were either good or very good and 17% thought it should stay in the schedule. While some do want it to remain at Downhill World Cups, it's very clear that most riders and race fans do not want semi-finals as part of the weekend schedule.

One point worth adding here is that without semi-finals, what would replace it to cut the field down for finals? While we did see 60 and 15 compete in the Red Bull days only the top 30/10 would make the broadcast so with 30/10 in finals now we are still seeing the same number of riders on screen without the potential to miss seeing a race-winning run. From the response to our survey, it's clear the riders both want to remove the semi-finals and go back to a larger field, by doing so will come with a new set of issues with riders who may have featured in a semi-finals broadcast now not being shown on screen at all.

How do Race Fans Feel About WBD After 1 Year?

After looking at how the riders feel after one season of racing with WBD, it is time for the numbers you have all been waiting for. The public reception of the new broadcasts. First up we asked you if you paid for last year's racing and we found that of the thousands of responses only 1,300 paid for the racing last year. 2,737 said they did not pay for WBD's 2023 race coverage.

To make a fair judgement, we have decided to show both the full responses total and those who paid for 2023's coverage. While both groups lean towards a negative reception to WBD's first year on the job there was a jump from 15% to 29% in satisfaction from those who did pay last year.

Digging slightly deeper, we found it even more interesting that of those who paid last year, 58% will likely or very likely pay up for another year. 28% of this group said it would be unlikely. These figures are quite different to the complete set of public responses as that found only 18% would pay again with 67% saying they would probably not.

Warner Bros Gatekeepers
We asked Taj to create drawings based on the feedback of riders and race fans.

How do Riders Feel About WBD After 1 Year?

After taking a look at the public data, we will dive into some of the opinions of the best riders in the World. First up is how riders rate the broadcast coverage of World Cups from WBD. It's clear that while there is a not insignificant proportion of 40% who think it was poor, 65% think it was acceptable or better. As a first year of trying to broadcast and organise multiple World Cup disciplines, it was always going to be tough with plenty of growing pains as the organising team expanded from just focusing on the EWS. 2024 will see them back for a second season with hopefully a plan on how to tighten things up and hopefully they will have paid attention to the feedback from teams, riders and the public and will look to improve some areas where they may have been lacking last year.

In our first comparison of data between the 2023 survey and the 2024 edition, we can see that overall rider confidence in WBD has fallen with those agreeing with the statement 'I have confidence in Warner Bros. Discovery and its plans for racing' falling from 37% to 17%. The number of undecided riders has also dropped from 50% in 2023 to 45% this year. Riders who do not feel confident in WBD and its plans have risen from 13% to 38%.

After its first year at the forefront of World Cup racing the number of riders who feel nervous about WBD's involvement has dropped slightly. In 2023 we had 54% of respondents feeling nervous about WBD controlling the broadcaster rights, for 2024 and after a season of racing this has fallen slightly to 51%. This was with two different samples of riders so it should be taken with a grain of salt but it is good to see at least some change in how the riders are feeling.

As we already discussed previously communication from wBD seemed to be one of the bigger issues last season and this is reflected in the rider opinions between State of the Sport surveys. in 2023 before the season began 18% thought there was adequate communication and 57% not. This year the data shows after a season of racing only 14% feel it's adequate, with 65% disagreeing that enough has been shared by WBD ahead of this year's racing.

To shift to a positive note, we found that the young racers are loving the new addition of broadcast coverage for Junior and U23 World Cup racers. It was a long time coming, but it is great to finally be able to watch the future of the sport take on World Cups. To make its inclusion even better, the Junior and U23 racing was free to watch on YouTube making it accessible to everyone.

Finally, we have included below some unfiltered comments from riders about their views on WBD race broadcasts, organisation and potential ideas for Enduro coverage

Do you have any comments about Warner Bros. Discovery's race organisation or coverage?

bigquotesWould be beneficial to have an easy-to-use live streaming platform that is more reasonably priced.

bigquotesI haven’t got much to say, pay for view sucks.

bigquotesIt's good that they show the Juniors.

bigquotesTerrible job on enduro coverage

bigquotesPush more for Enduro!!

bigquotesReally great coverage of everything except enduro. Enduro needs live coverage, doesn't need to be all the stages but something live.

bigquotesI like that they covered the U23 races, but do not prefer them over Red Bull.

bigquotes2023 felt very rough and ready. It needs to be tidied up for sure, and the relationship between WB/Discovery and the teams/athletes needs to be much better.

bigquotesI think they did a good job for their first year, commentary could improve and would be nice to see some money invested into the riders (prize money etc)

bigquotesNot enough information before the event and the Enduro future looks pretty bad

bigquotesBad communication with athletes

bigquotesThey suck hard. They don't care or communicate and they lie over and over.

bigquotesEnduro coverage is extremely poor, they are killing the sport by trying to make it multi-stage downhill, instead of true enduro.

bigquotesIt is worse than ever! It looks like a big show, but the streaming is boring and shit. The fans can't get to the track, because there is a 3-meter gap. In Snowshoe, the half of the track was closed for the fans! Unbelievable!! It brings nothing to our sport!!

bigquotesIt is pointless to show only top 3 riders if there is no fight for position but at the same time a bit back there are battles going on.

bigquotesGreat for juniors to have coverage however junior coverage could be better such as the use of all the cameras and angles on track not a test run for elite coverage.

bigquotesIt would be more interesting to also see the riders in the back from time to time and to have a bottom line where all the riders are shown, like in Cyclo-Cross

bigquotesSemi finals - what even. Paying for the coverage when our sport is not big enough to have enough people paying to watch, we are not f1. The commentators, not good enough, not hype enough, they don't know enough about the sport to make a good show

bigquotesHigher team registration fees and race entry fees without improved media coverage, especially in the Enduro discipline.

bigquotesMore than this box will allow……women are not treated equally nor are privateers, I’ll leave it at that.

bigquotesThey went better with filming during the season, but not good commentators

bigquotesIt's not available for free in Australia

bigquotesBig shame that they stopped GCN. Often don't care about the riders and teams.

bigquotesPls do a better training schedule. Fair between men and women.

bigquotesNot sure if they are listening to riders.

bigquotesConsidering the amount of people and the notoriously high of the company it should be better in terms of quality coverage, cameras…

bigquotesThe coverage itself is good, although I preferred Red Bull as a broadcaster. The horrible things for me with Warner Bros are the decisions they make to "make the sport bigger" by cancelling the best World Cup venues like Lenzerheide or Albstadt (in the future even more) and going to places where we have no spirit of the sport, no community but enormous costs and efforts for teams. I am sure if there will be any World Cup in places like Abu Dhabi many riders will decide to not take part in these World Cups (including me). Additionally, we can say that the communication between ESO and the teams is a nightmare.

bigquotesDon't cover only the top 5 riders. There are a lot of really good battles from position 5 up to 15!
- There’s never any information before a race
- The coverage of Enduro is awful. It really feels like they don’t care.

bigquotesAlways just the best few riders are showed

bigquotesGreat that U23 was free, awesome for the younger riders to get coverage and exposure.

bigquotesThey are in a place where they need to answer the calls and listen to the public. I really hope they recognize their responsibility over the sport and steward it well.

bigquotesDrones are distracting for racers and should not be a way to cover riders.

bigquotesScrolling position/time bar at bottom of screen for entire duration of race to show all riders on course. IT'S SIMPLE JUST DO IT SO MY MOM KNOWS HOW I'M DOING

bigquotesProtected riders for finals besides semi-finals is so lame and unfair towards every upcoming rider.

bigquotesNot much Enduro content. The commentary of the Dh is not as in-depth and on-point as it used to be. Some of the commentators do not do a good enough job of knowing the riders and what they go through. Having riders like Aaron Gwin was an amazing jump forward and gave a personal and practical side of the commentary that is important and missing. The drone quality is not good enough.

bigquotesWorse than before, semi-finals are terrible, and more expensive

bigquotesAs an athlete not much has changed for me. I do think it has been more difficult for team managers to prepare for the races because Warner Bros. has a difficult time sticking to any schedule.

bigquotesTerrible for giving us information, I need this now to plan the season yet I don’t have much information at all. Get Redbull and Rob Warner back for coverage

bigquotesOn certain tracks and races, I felt the camera angles and commentary could be better.

bigquotesThe media coverage side is a little poor but I think the worst part of it all is the organisation and unknown at WorldCups

bigquotesThey really dropped the ball for Enduro. Coverage got worse when already it wasn't that good.

bigquotesCoverage in Enduro is very poor!

bigquotesThey need to listen more to us riders

bigquotesThey have forgotten Enduro, coverage is poor and boring to watch. They need to tell the interesting stories from each race. A rider who overcame adversity or had a big crash or mechanical should be covered even if that rider isn't a top 5 rider.

bigquotesThere was no coverage of Enduro World Cups. We have seen it done in the past with pro stage runs filmed at EWS in 2021.
The commentary is shit!

bigquotesCoverage and commentating way worse than before, a lot of schedule changes and not much communication is a big problem

bigquotesMore “fun” coverage is needed for EDR please. I quite like the DH coverage

bigquotesIdeas sound good but the way they performed those last year was very poor, especially for Enduro. DH and XC haven't been great either, but at least junior racing was pushed.

bigquotesMore fixed cameras down the track and less drones (they are distracting. more education (rider profiles, history of the location, background information) and hype for the race and riders. more like Formula One if the sport wants to grow, more personable social media and interactions with the audience

bigquotesCover some enduro. Ffs and bring back going to new locations like how Enduro was brought up. We get pushed to a second or third-class race when we are at the same venue as XC and DH. Like an afterthought.

bigquotesBrutal for Enduro putting us on Thursday nights and treating us as more of an afterthought. consistent schedule changes and still no mention of a world champs for enduro. Terrible short-sighted schedule basing us 100% in Europe. For DH commentary was horrible and at best it was equal to Red Bull's previously free coverage.

bigquotesIn XC, we want to see more riders than just the top 2 or 3 on TV

bigquotesI think they are understaffed and a lot of the staff they do have is inexperienced in mountain bike racing. A lot of the issues stem from this in my opinion.

bigquotesI think the coverage has been overall pretty good, the accessibility to that coverage has been a bit worse. The race organization has definitely not been as good, definitely seems like it was a year of learning and hope that they can have things a bit more together and dialled this next year.

bigquotesRedbull was better for fans and organisation

What would you like to see from Enduro World Cup coverage?

bigquotesMore live information, more on-site content

bigquotesCan’t think of anything, live coverage is just not possible. Enduro doesn’t need it

bigquotesMore race day content, more live content (updates etc), more info updates to the public. More media coverage over all.

bigquotesLive TV in the way it’s possible!

bigquotesMore live runs

bigquotesLive coverage, showcasing those outside top 5 pro men and women, u21 coverage

bigquotesMore in-depth or live coverage, although I see that it's not a very good sport to be broadcast

bigquotesLive streaming on the last stage like rally sport, and the faster start last

bigquotesMore video coverage.

bigquotesMore insight videos, better highlight videos and at least a try to bring up a live stream.

bigquotesMore detailed race recaps focusing on more of the field and finding the stories in the race rather than just reading out results of the top 3

bigquotesMore external media coverage not just videos from UCI.

bigquotesMore than just the top 3 riders

bigquotesMore of it
More coverage of more riders
More interviews in the videos. Especially at the bottom of stages

bigquotesAt least 1 broadcasted stage (maybe we can do this stage twice), more live coverage, better live results system maybe an app

bigquotesShort recap videos similar to rally that follow the top 20 and highlights throughout the day. Enduro is an incredibly difficult sport to broadcast and as a community, we need to appreciate it will never be like DH or XC

bigquotesMore of a recap of the stages and how the day is going then live stream the last stage for the top men and women so people at home can get excited as they know who is doing well based on the recap then they can watch the final stage like a dh race

bigquotesFinal stage coverage like a DH race. Get cameras up and have a live timing going. Make the finish exciting. People follow live timing and if there is a video stream of the end of the race it would be exciting to watch.

bigquotesMore insights, line choice, vlogs, interviews...

bigquotesMore stories about hardships and drama that some of the riders face during a race day. Tell the stories that are different inspiring and interesting. Just the same old boring monotone recap doesn't draw a returning audience

bigquotesRace riding footage

bigquotesThe events are great but we need more communication from the organizer to confirm the future of the sports. I am confident we will have World Champs this year which is a good recognition for our sport but we need to improve communication and coverage. We should keep the focus on EDR instead of the Ebike races

bigquotesIndividual recaps of e-Bike and Enduro; Maybe live coverage of the last stage (if they do a re-seeding); Insights of some Teams and athletes as a side content next to actual race coverage (like they did in previous years)

bigquotesAnything better

bigquotesLive timing that doesn’t crash at crucial moments, GoPro or insta360 attached to the top 5 in each category to toggle between stages, a filmer and commentator following the race and interviewing between stages, one fully filmed pro stage

bigquotesMore independent media covering all aspects of the race weekend. We rely too much on WBD at the moment when it is not only them that is responsible. Although they could shine more light on riders and less on their presenters. That goes for Eurosport cycling globally in my opinion.

bigquotesInterviews at the bottom of every stage.

Statement from Warner Bros. Discovery

We contacted the World Cup organisers and broadcasters Warner Bros. Discovery for its comment on the State of the Sport data and were provided with the following statement.

bigquotesOur long-term and trusted partnership with the UCI was formed to enable us to work closely together to continue investing in the sport, help it grow, reach new audiences and to benefit the entire mountain biking community. We have a proven track record of supporting the continued development of different sports and unlocking their power to inspire new and old fans alike.

Significant investment has already been made in the way the sport is presented, from course marking and safety to brand implementation, live data, global promotion and the new additions of interactive LED surfaces at start and finish lines.

We have embarked on a long-term road into a new era for the sport. We’re on track and proud of achievements after 2023, our first year. We’re also proud with the fast progress we’ve made, including securing record online audiences during last year’s Enduro and E-Enduro World Cup events and managing record highs in rider, nationality and team attendance at all events in all racing formats. In 2024, our second season, we have launched a larger than ever before international calendar, kick starting with a double header for cross-country racing in Brazil.

We've also made strides to improve the broadcast product for fans all around the world. Through the use of live drone cameras, large scale and micro live cable cameras, the launch of live TV shows in more 20 different languages, live data streaming from bikes on course, first ever free-to-air broadcast of the U23 cross-country and junior downhill racing at all rounds, improved viewing experience with significant changes done to the way racecourses are presented and an increase in the number of cameras deployed around each and every racetrack. Using our unprecedented reach across live sport, we have also integrated mountain bike into live broadcasts of some of the largest sporting events in the world, bringing a whole new audience to this exciting sport.

We are still near the start line and have a lot of good work to do ahead of us. Our incredibly experienced international and passionate team continue to work tirelessly 365 days of the year to grow every aspect of mountain biking, a sport we love.
Chris Ball, Vice President of Cycling Events at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe

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  • 365 12

Our long-term and trusted partnership with the UCI was formed to enable us to work closely together to continue investing in the sport, help it grow, reach new audiences and to benefit the entire mountain biking community. We have a proven track record of supporting the continued development of different sports and unlocking their power to inspire new and old fans alike.


Significant investment has already been made in the way the sport is presented, from course marking and safety to brand implementation, live data, global promotion and the new additions of interactive LED surfaces at start and finish lines.


We have embarked on a long-term road into a new era for the sport.


We’re on track and proud of achievements after 2023, our first year.


We’re also proud with the fast progress we’ve made, including securing record online audiences during last year’s Enduro and E-Enduro World Cup events and managing record highs in rider, nationality and team attendance at all events in all racing formats.


In 2024, our second season, we have launched a larger than ever before international calendar, kick starting with a double header for cross-country racing in Brazil.


We've also made strides to improve the broadcast product for fans all around the world.


Through the use of live drone cameras, large scale and micro live cable cameras, the launch of live TV shows in more 20 different languages, live data streaming from bikes on course, first ever free-to-air broadcast of the U23 cross-country and junior downhill racing at all rounds


improved viewing experience with significant changes done to the way racecourses are presented and an increase in the number of cameras deployed around each and every racetrack.


Using our unprecedented reach across live sport, we have also integrated mountain bike into live broadcasts of some of the largest sporting events in the world, bringing a whole new audience to this exciting sport.


We are still near the start line and have a lot of good work to do ahead of us. Our incredibly experienced international and passionate team continue to work tirelessly 365 days of the year to grow every aspect of mountain biking, a sport we love.

  • 36 0
  • 28 0
 For a minute i thought rob warner had sprouted a brother and taken up sponsoring push biking ,
  • 21 2
 This is poetry.
  • 18 1
 The scary thing is he probably actually believes the bullshit he's spouting.
  • 18 0
 If this is WBD’s plan to ensure that no MTB discipline ever receives any main stream exposure and guarantees they are relegated to the dark, dank, dust bin of third tier sporting events, they have succeeded.
  • 4 0
 Are they doing semis again this year?
  • 16 0
 I personally enjoyed the part in this dirge of autofellatio where Mr Ball put down the vape, ceased attempts to literally blow smoke up his own ass and made any recognition to the data given to him.
  • 17 0
 Ultimately Chris Ball’s job is a commercial one. To increase viewers at home and at the track as well as increasing advertising dollars - increasing the worth of being associated with WBD/UCI events. These things look like they’re actually diminishing.

So Chris Ball may literally be underperforming in his role. Wouldn’t it be terrible if he lost his job?
  • 8 4
 @777MTBRider: I ve been saying it from the start... this is an organized complot a controled demolition for stopping the amazing progress our sport/show was making... cause MTB falls outs and goes against their agenda 2030 occult plans... and UCI, WBD and Chris Ball himself-company, are just their corrupted tentacles..
  • 9 1
 @PauRexs: so glad to have you on board. You wacko.
  • 5 0
 *…reach NO audiences
  • 25 0
 WB- So Mr Ball we heard something about a poll a website created, purple cycles?
CB- Yeah yeah.......it was about how I-I mean we are doing now we own mountain biking
WB- Annnnnnd?
CB- Oh yeah......everyone thinks I-I mean we are doing an amazing job and everything is brilliant. No complaints.
WB-Ummm are you sure?
CB-Of course...I mean you always get one or two jealous haters.....you know how these Gen Z lot are....all pronouns and avocado toast.......youknowwhatImean.Sir.
Wb-Ok keep doing......you know whatever it is that you do.......what's your name again?
  • 1 0
  • 2 0
 You'reOn the money.
  • 5 0
 Thank you for writing this. "Anything is possible when you lie!" WBD
  • 1 0
 At least they are building a new roller coaster at six flags over georgia that will be a "EXTREME MOUNTAIN BIKE EXPERIENCE", supposed to be open summer 2026.....the earth works they have planned look really cool
  • 1 1
 @owl-X Yes I am a free thinker not conditioned for anyone/thing.. Call it whatever it suits your mental frame don't care...
I wish I was wrong here... but is my duty to speak according the intel I gathered ...
  • 155 0
 Aren’t we all being a bit harsh? They have interactive LED surfaces at start and finish lines now!
  • 59 0
 I'm not sure if that point was made clear to survey respondents, or not. If survey respondents weren't aware of the interactive LED surfaces at both start *and* finish, then really this data isn't worth much. Surely Interactive LED surfaces at the start and finish would affect these scores.
  • 27 0
 @Shoob88: For me it was the "brand implementation" that really changed my view on this whole situation.
  • 10 0
 @CamNeelyCantWheelie: I read that and thought - yes, yes, that's what this sport needed, more adverts.
  • 4 0
 They laid a phone down at each end of the course.
  • 9 0
 @paulskibum: I'm okay with a flooding of adverts if that is how we fund better coverage...but for costs to the user to go up so significantly as well as adverts. No Bueno. I'm in the camp this year of likely not watching live for the first time in over a decade as I hate the pricing and need of purchasing program bundles... when I just want the MTB. Booo to coverage options this year and I am planning on not supporting it... and feel really sad about that.
  • 105 1
 Chris Ball believes his own bullshiit.
  • 18 0
 He should change name to Chris Pound
  • 7 0
 @lkubica: shrewd avoidance of the alternative.
  • 2 0
 @jason3559: well I just tried to be a gentleman
  • 23 0
 I don't know Chris Ball personally but this statement makes me think I would dislike him in real life, a lot.
  • 24 0
 @mattddrchs: The weird thing is when he used to do the track previews in EWS with the irish fella I thought he seemed like a bang up chap with a passion and enthusiasm for bike riding and specifically Enduro. Then all this happened and I can only assume he has been replaced by a lizard that eats babies for breakfast and steals candy from children.
  • 29 0
 Chris Ball wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat as he realizes he has abandoned his integrity and lost all respect amongst his peers................Then he checks his online balance. And goes back to sleep like a baby.
  • 4 0
 @paulskibum: huh! Weird. That was the exact impression I got from this statement, yes
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: @jason3559: [oh, managed an edit just in time]
  • 6 0
 No chance Chris Ball wrote this. Was likely written by a PR team that knows even less about the MTB scene and approved by Chris' assistant. He probably doesn't even know this was shared on Pinkbike... They're not in it for the sport.
  • 6 2
 @lkubica: or maybe Dick Ball
  • 1 0
 Chris Ball sold his child to the highest bidder and has no one to blame but himself for the way it gets now gets pimped out. The guy appears to have zero say (in any of the decisions being made or directions being taken and I hope the money was worth it. Especially considering he’s essentially the spokesperson/bearer of bad news
  • 2 0
 @captaindingus: Money is always worth it ...
  • 94 1
 What I'm immediately getting out of this is as fans, we have slightly shittier attitudes than pros.
  • 24 0
 Probably because the gripe of fans is with the live stream and the athletes responding are on site getting coverage of the race from the horse's mouth
  • 74 0
 Probably don't want to shit where they eat. We have nothing to lose from our office chairs.
  • 28 2
 Neutral means they didn't want to risk their job
  • 5 0
 Name checks out.
  • 4 1
 It’s an anonymous survey, isn’t it? They can say whatever they want with no repercussions. Why would they lie, or not tell the complete truth?
  • 3 1
 From here it looks like most of them hate the situation, or hate the situation but don't feel confident in saying so.
  • 11 0
 @joecrosby: Nothing submitted digitally is truly anonymous.
  • 2 3
 @Fix-the-Spade: this is the bike industry. This is not government work. It’s a survey lol. No one will be investigating unless some truly disgusting shit is said.
  • 11 0
 The pros are at the races, not trying to figure out how to watch it remotely and paying an arm and a leg for crap commentary
  • 2 0
 Riders need to remember that if no one is watching, no one is getting paid.
  • 79 0
 LIES: " In 2024, our second season, we have launched a larger than ever before international calendar" Less venues and less stops overall. Politely, eat shit UCI for selling out to discovery. And discovery can just f*ck right off.

Also, whoever wrote this is a legend.
"Scrolling position/time bar at bottom of screen for entire duration of race to show all riders on course. IT'S SIMPLE JUST DO IT SO MY MOM KNOWS HOW I'M DOING"
  • 2 2
 Well if you look at the 2023 and 2024 calendars for XC and DH there were 10 stops and there are now 12. There are 6 stops for EDR this year vs 7 last year. So overall - 1 more stop this year.
  • 48 1
 I think people have just programmed themselves to believe that DH racing is just second rate bike racing for dirtbags, the real bike racing is Road and Cross Country. If they actually invested in the tv production, invested in marketing, and genuinely tried to make it easier to see it would be much more successful.

I love watching sports of all kinds, including a lot of car racing. The last 10-15 riders down the track at a world cup race is one of the most exciting things you can watch anywhere, genuinely. Its like great Supercross race levels of excitement, but it's almost every single World Cup race instead of like 15% of them. It is so cool to see these riders push the limit further with every single run.

The failure of world cups is purely a failure in management and marketing. The athletes and teams are doing amazing jobs. The sport could be huge, but the people running it just seem to accept mediocrity.
  • 1 0
 Wow, I'm honestly surprised with how many up votes this has. I did not think people believed that DH racing is just second rate bike racing for dirtbags.
  • 4 0
 @rallyimprezive: People in this instance are those making the investment and marketing decisions around DH racing. It seems clear that the UCI and Discovery view gravity based MTB racing as a side show to the real racing, which seems to be pedaling up hills in all its various forms. Shit, they even outlaw certain things good road descenders do to go faster.
  • 2 0
 @Froday: ah gotcha gotcha. I agree with that. Thanks for clarifying for me.
  • 39 0
 It hurt paying and still not getting world champs last year.
  • 5 0
 you didnt miss much. WC DH coverage was good apart from cost and Rob-less commentary. World champs was terrible. With over 2 decades of back footage to work out how the track works and where to put the cameras they still f*cked it up.
Not to mention the cutting/producing. We got extended pointless coverage of Minnaar post-puncture and Finn (I think) post-crash slowly making their way down. Which was to the extreme detriment of the rider following them, of whom we saw about 10 seconds total.
  • 35 0
 The biggest broadcaster in the world, literally couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery.

How can this not be available in all the countries of the world?
WBD own a significant chunk of NZ media, yet are closing news channels and not providing any apps to watch sports. If Chris Ball had integrity, he'd resign from his position at WBD for how this has been mismanaged.
Hopeless, short-sighted, money-grabbing cockwombles.
  • 9 0
 WBD - came to fuck the spiders.
  • 32 0
 Absa Cape Epic coverage made UCI/Discovery look completely idiotic with their coverage. Multi day point to point stage race covering 60+ miles per day. They ran 2 helicopters (1 for men and 1 for women), drones AND had eBikes as chase vehicles behind the lead groups with GoPros mounted. All of this was streamed LIVE and the eBikes were actually mic'd in so that the commentators could speak with the eBike riders about what they were seeing on the ground.

Finally all of this was streamed FREE on YouTube. Guarantee the audience was 1/10th of what a UCI World Cup gets currently. There is no reason that Discovery can't do something similar on Enduro and Marathon races let alone XCC and XCO, they are just choosing not to. If they want they could put this up for free on Discovery+ with ads to pay for it. It was crazy to see the difference in coverage though and really put it into perspective.
  • 33 2
 Living in Canada, last year I paid something like $70 to watch the races. I answered this before I saw the new prices that were just released a few days ago. I'm happy to support racing, but like hell I'm going to shell out $235 to watch a handful of races.

Again, let me be clear, I'm in full support of filtering out poors out from our sport. Aluminum makes me sick and I've always encouraged recycling programs to prevent second-hand sales of my tri-annual carbon bice, but as far as I'm concerned, the more time poors spend on the couch watching cycling, the less time they clog up my trails and prevent me from komming.
  • 10 0
 Yeah, Pinkbike should really go back and do the survey again now people know how much more it's going to cost in a lot of countries.
  • 4 0
 I am struggling with that 235 commitment - $20 each to watch 12 races and get the TdF for free as a bonus. Steep.
  • 4 0
 @paulskibum: its particularly egregious when you see how much less other countries like the states are paying.
  • 1 0
 Is that Discovery or FloBikes?
  • 4 0
 @BigMulaCeazy: This inequality has been my biggest gripe from the beginning. Beforehand the whole WB deal was advertised as making everything better and easy to reach everywhere. In reality even last year the pricing varied a lot from country to country, WB having different services available in different countries and even the same services not priced the same in different areas. It definitely doesn't seem to be getting better this year. A lot of Europe will be getting the same combined Max service as the US in about a month, but so far there's no info on local prices on anything else besides the launch date.
  • 2 0
 @paulskibum: If you're only in it for the DH races, it's $34 per race.
  • 1 0
 @chubby5000: I know - as I say with the XC (which I will watch its on the cusp of too much.
  • 2 0
 I looked last night and I think Canada hack is to get a (HBO) Max subsctipion in the US. US 9.99/month billed monthly and currently it includes the add-on sports package free. You can find free VPNs that have a US location so no extra costs there (need to avoid the location block for Canada as FloSports has licence at a crazy CAD 29.99/month). Going to try tonight. Question is if Max requires a US credit card. You can use a fake US address for sure. So if it works it will be ~USD 60 + tax for a 6 month subscription.

  • 1 0
 @dr-airtime: Nice, would you even need to feign US residency? Some services generally provide their content based on geolocation (modifiable by VPN) regardless of where you signed up. That said, I've had issues with Prime and Paramount in doing this.
  • 33 1
 If AIDS was a corporation, it'd be warner brothers
  • 3 0
 I laughed entirely too hard at the accuracy of your statement!
  • 3 0
 Well said!
  • 5 0
 @mikealive: if only I could say it to their faces. Particularly chris balls
  • 8 0
 Nah, because AIDs spread really fast to all parts of the world.
  • 3 0
 @ATXZJ: Chris' what?
  • 23 0
 Only 2 days until round 1 of the World Cup kicks off and there are still several countries with no way to watch... That says it ALL.
  • 23 0
 I'm thoroughly reassured by Chris Ball's statement- Reassured that WBD are fucking things up massively...
  • 2 0
 Reminds me of the American pilot Jerimiah Denton blinking T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse code during his televised interview.
  • 20 0
 "We’re on track and proud of achievements after 2023, our first year. We’re also proud with the..."

Why would you repeatedly mention how proud you are, when you know that the audience (riders and fans) is upset about the whole thing? If anything you should be humble and mention the shortcomings and mention how you are addressing it. Seriously... probably would have been better off not responding.
  • 6 0
 Absolutely. And, I mean you can still be proud of what you've done while at the same time not sounding like a smug asshole, acknowledging the feedback and that there were still shortcomings, and respecting the views of the people buying your product if you want to keep them as customers.
  • 12 0
 They are super proud of upsetting fans and riders.....they are disrupters forging a new diaspora of engaged stakeholders who can utilize the vertical integration of multi channel activation concepts. You can't make an omlette by taking a horse to water.....
  • 19 0
 "We’re also proud with the fast progress we’ve made, including securing record online audiences during last year’s Enduro and E-Enduro World Cup events "-

He's just play politics now. There's no one that wouldn't describe the Enduro implementation/scheduling/coverage as abysmal.
  • 22 0
 What the Fuck is Chris Ball talking about..
  • 19 1
 Put your LED screen budget towards getting Rob Warner on the mic... then I'll pay. Why would I pay for a shittier version of what Redbull did for free?
  • 3 3
 Rob chose not to take the contract wbd offered. That’s his choice but you can’t blame anyone else because he chose not to
  • 3 0
 @chrismac70: with what we are seeing it safe to assume their offer to him was garbage.
  • 16 0
 Ironic that Chris Ball left the UCi to start EWS without all the constraints and politics. Then he sold it all to WB and back with UCi. I hate to say but sell out if really the only description needed here. Not too mentioned ‘jobs for the boys’ with all his mates picking up the various related roles. Cunningham, Rick et al.
  • 3 0
 @Tombola27 Thanks for sharing a thought that's been tumbling around in my head for some time. Even from the start of the whole EWS thing, it always felt like a little like a good ol' boys network with the self proclaimed "Media Squids" riding, covering, and selling the idea of Enduro as they were travelling across the globe to far off places and all having a craic with each other. This is just one person's opinion, but it seemed like the coverage of Enduro was mainly propped up by a disproportionately small group of folks selling more of an idea rather than something sustainable. The brands were certainly investing in it as well, but I suspect came to realize that the return on investment wasn't really there cause frankly Enduro and Trail bikes are what most mountain bikers ride or are sold now now as a default "Mountain Bike", race results be damned.

It kind of feels like the house of cards has come crashing down with the reduction in industry investment and the inability of the "Squids" to market Enduro like they had originally. The conflicting WC schedule certainly isn't helping those original Enduro pushers from covering the sport as they once had.

At the end of the day, if you're expecting sports governance to rank high on the integrity and ethics scale, you're probably going to be severely disappointed. Doesn't Chris Balls wife also work for the UCI?
  • 15 0
 So let me summarize: PB gives CB a trove of data, the majority of which shows that in general, people think his team is doing a poor job. Additionally, PB gives him actionable points which would improve the product. CB retorts with a 5 paragraph, self-congratulatory note that completely ignores all the above feedback.

See you guys in 2030
  • 14 0
 Chris’s statement was very defensive and showed he didn’t consider the feedback in any meaningful way.

I put up with GCN+ ramming all the other cycling content down my throat last year because at least I could still watch the racing. I’m a super fan who won’t be watching the racing this year because it not available in my country. I’m hurt, angry and disappointed.

What is the measure of success if everyone who participates and watches has negative feedback?

Pinkbike- the only other cohort missing from this survey is the bike brands. I note that Chris didn’t mention reducing bike sales and general industry woes in his defensive statement. If riders and watchers are all pissed off, how are they supposed to sell more bikes?

It’s like WB just started high school and dumped all their existing friends because they are going to be really cool and make lots of new ones. Seems like a dick move to me.
  • 1 0
 You can watch it on Stan in Australia. This was announced yesterday (on Flow Mountain bike and then here)
  • 12 0
 So they grew the online audience to record levels. Really, then why can GCN+ if it was doing so well? And if it wasn't, why can it only one year after MTB events were added? Makes no fking sense. Their horn blowing self promotion is like reading a Temu ad. Fake news.
  • 12 0
 New streaming change are a dumpster fire and will send the sport back years. Viewership will drop off a cliff. Surprised the riders aren't more negative as it will impact their pay check.
  • 10 0
 Chris Ball, Vice President of Cycling Events at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe

This is the main problem I see, Chris has gotten himself a very, very nice position, and is now all about the revenue and the corporate results. He consistently seems to ignore valid queries and just spouts positive PR bullshit.

From a man that created a fantastic thing (EWS), its disappointing
  • 13 1
 I have literally stopped watching racing because of this.
  • 3 1
 me too, and look at my name!
  • 2 0
  • 3 0
 Sadly me too. Last season was the first time I haven’t watched every single WCDH race since like 2012
  • 3 0
 @pierceklinke: Yeah, same. Went from watching almost all, minus a weekend or two that I was out of town, to watching literally none and hardly keeping up on the results.

I get the athletes have a different perspective, but I don't know how anyone on the inside is looking at their metrics and the viewer poll here and think that they're doing anything but kill this sport.
  • 8 0
 It sucked and I'm checked out. I keep track of race results after the fact though because I do care about WC downhill racing (alot), but the changes in broadcasting were a step down across the board.
  • 7 0
 The saddest part of it for me is that he made absolutely no comment on the actual survey data. Zero. He (or someone else did it for him) wrote a generic self praising statement absolutely no regards of what they asked him about...
  • 7 0
 I paid for coverage and was quite satisfoed. Would.pay for another year but service is not available. Well.

But seriously, balls statement i utter BS?! Ball stucks balls deep in his own arse. What a bellend.
  • 1 4
 Me too. It’s only £69 for the year in the UK which is less than £10 a race if I watch nothing else all year. That the same as a single tyre
  • 10 0
 The smartest man Chris Ball has ever met is Chris Ball
  • 8 0
 I am really reassure now than I know there will be more LED surfaces at start and finish lines!!!! Finally !!!
  • 8 0
 Its a complete joke and I wont pay for it. f*ck Warner/Discovery.

Discover this dick, bitch.
  • 4 0
 The only option for companies like this it to not buy a subscription and watch them go under. Or hope they do. It's the same with F1, prices went up 40%. I'm not paying that much. So now I have a lot of free time in the weekend. No MTB, 10min recap of the F1 race and I'm free to do some gardening, ride my bike, clean the house. So much time...
  • 4 0
 The biggest failing of the WB deal seems to be the lack of communication to the riders. I would be fine with paying more for race coverage if it meant some of that money goes to the riders - without whom we have no event. Instead, WB seems to be creating a 'chicken-egg" problem of their own making. Many consumers are angry about being asked to pay a lot more for what they only recently didn't pay anything at all for. I would imagine the incoming budget is less than WB was hoping for or expecting. Thus they have no $ to pay riders. I don't see this situation improving until we as viewers have more of an incentive to pay.

The idea of making the World Cup events more for top-tier racers is fine, but that doesn't work unless there are well established feeder series in place to support it. To implement the former without establishing the latter is a recipe for killing the sport.

Unfortunately, I can see a rider-strike similar to Slopestyle happening at some point this season.
  • 8 0
 Feels kinda shitty
  • 4 0
 Meh, corporate greed. I am not paying to watch it, just give me more time to go out and ride and do other things. Also half the reason I use to watch was the entertainment/excitement of Rob Warner.
  • 7 0
 Chris Ball couldn't lie harder if he tried. Absolute shame
  • 5 0
 If anyone actually believes the BS about this being better for the sport, or attracting more fans....its not. It's about money and return on investment. Ask me how I know.
  • 6 0
 Pinkbike, you have a responsibility here too. WBD strangling the sport will not be ideal for you. Be bold.
  • 3 0
 Its a small point... but those gigantic foam course markers look like Michael J Fox brought them back in the Delorian from 1990s WWF wrestling and decided to place them in some of the most dangerous locations on the course. If I didnt know better the agenda is to try and make riders crash (at 88.8mph) to increase coverage.
  • 5 0
 Bullshit detector bookmarklet working overtime on Balls' comment: mourner.github.io/bullshit.js
  • 1 0
 Wait, how does that work?
  • 1 0
 @FredFreeRideGang: There are simple instructions on the site I've linked.
  • 3 0
 Turns out that Warner Bros Discovery own news hub in NZ which includes TV 3 does this eventually mean I can watch the races in Fair Go’s time slot? Or instead of the 6 o clock news. Both of which they just cancelled
  • 2 0
 Fair Go is TVNZ, not TV3 (WBD)...

If ThreeNow can screen SVG in Nascar, then you'd be hopeful of the MTB turning up, BUT, ThreeNow is free, so it's not going to happen unless WBD wants to have NZ as the only free broadcast in the world, that anyone can VPN into.
  • 3 0
 Maybe they should do what supercross does now and put the LED lights on the bike to see if green or red and then we can tell at the same time as the rider if they are behind or up hahahha
  • 2 0
 UCI rules do not allow this. Racers are not allowed to know if they are up or down - no outside assistance is allowed. Unless of course you have an opened or closed umbrella on the side of the track, which is how one team used to circumvent this rule!
  • 4 0
 Move all the broadcasts to YouTube. Of people don’t want commercials they can pay for it. Equal opportunity across the globe
  • 7 0
 I want Rob Warner back.
  • 5 0
 I've never been so emotionally uninvested in mtb racing in 30 years of watching.
  • 2 0
 MY TWO CENTS::: it really sucks I could not watch any downhill races within the Uci last year and previous year due to Uci not allowing USA coverage. I would have to pay for streaming through warner brothers,outdoor channel,etc...etc.. someone bring back downhill in the USA. PLEASE...
  • 7 3
 Change is hard. Let's hope for the best...would love a breakdown of the feelings about WB based on rider rank.
  • 2 0
 @edspratt Great data summary and article, you've put a ton of effort into showing us how our sport is doing through this survey. Now we can all hope WBD see this and make better choices for EWS and DH
  • 13 0
 LOL they are so out of touch there is no way they take anything we say seriously. Just from Chris Ball's bullshit statement we can see they have zero interest in listening to us. They are so convinced that we are just generic "sports fans" that they won't care that the core DH/Enduro audience isn't watching. They will interpret their own internal metrics on the subscriptions they get from fans of other sports to justify their position. For my part, this will be the first season of WC DH that I won't get to watch since the Freecaster days, and I hate WB/Discovery for it so much.
  • 4 0
 As someone who would like to watch Enduro and has never before followed, I have no idea how to when to or where to
  • 4 0
 I used the GCN+ last year. In New Zealand, I don't even know what my options are for watching this year.
  • 5 0
  • 5 4
 People here "MTB is my favourite sport I love it so so much, I'd die if I couldnt watch it"

Same People "I'm not prepared to actually *pay* anything, dont be ridiculous"

I watched the whole season. I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed 2022. And every other year before that.
  • 4 0
  • 4 0
 International Mountain Bike is all but dead. The smell of death is already on it. Killed by short sighted idiots.
  • 1 0
 Written after the first XC round in Brasil.
And p*ssed off by the blatant price gouging by the UCI and WBD. Last year 12 months GCN+ subscription, for all of MTB, Road Racing, BMX etc and the documentaries was $49 USD.
It wasn't until 24 hrs before this race that the UCI dropped where you can subscribe for the rest of the world and for MTB alone its now $69 USD!! You price gouging Bellends
  • 1 0
 Yeah. Viewing prices went through the roof on scandiland as well. Used to be roughly 6USD per month for GCN+. This is now bumped up to 18USD for Discovery+ that includes A LOT of stuff I just dont want to watch.
I want quality - not quantity. It seems like Discovery thinks that more time spent in front of the screen is what people want these days....it what good for them...at least.

It is also fasinating that the respons from WBD feels like they havent been doing anything that makes this MORE viewable. I mean safety in form of new course markers that all racers seem to hate more than the old ones was one of their top arguments. Come on. We need some passion back. Not some marketing dept that does not know anything about the audience and thinks they know what they are doing.
Also - what is the data they have used to make all these decisions? Or are all decision made out of "pure instinct", or what they have done so succesfully in other sports?....?!?
It's like they sent out a very imbigious form to all the teams and the data was interpreted in the inverse way.

WBDform:"Is the current(already high) fees for competing to your satisfaction - yes or no."
TEAMSAnswer:"What do you mean by this? Like are we happy right now or do we want a change for the better?".
WBDform: " Just a simple yes or no will do."
TEAMSAnswer: " Well..I guess "no" then".
WBDform: "Thank you."

Later that same day at WB HQ. "THE RIDERS HAVE SPOKEN. THEY ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH " current fees for competing". THEY WANT IT EVEN HIGHER."
  • 4 0
 What would improve the show hmm! There was something or someone missing!
  • 4 1
 sooo overall, everyone's feeling really positive about the sport and broadcasting, cool. cool cool cool.
  • 1 0
 Pretty sad state of affairs when they can’t get any broadcasters or streaming platforms to pick it up in the southern hemisphere. In this case UCI should at least offer free streaming on YouTube .
  • 1 0
 They did for the World Cup Cyclocross races which used to be shown on the GCN+ app. Fingers crossed for MTB?!?!?!
  • 4 4
 It would appear that the actual racers are happier than the games with the current format

I’m also slightly confused at how all those who didn’t get to watch a race because they chose not to pay can have a valid opinion on a broadcast they didn’t watch.
  • 5 0
 Tiz true :o)
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike can you hire me to make graphs for you? I don’t mean this to be rude… I would really love to help present this data in a way that makes more sense to readers.
  • 2 0
 "...including securing record online audiences..."

Same nonsense the WSL (surfing) tries to pull with its fans. Just corporate BS.
  • 4 2
 I tried to pay,because I wanted to watch,but Discovery+ was not available in my country...
  • 3 0
 Thank you Pinkbike! Insert pee-on UCI sticker here.
  • 3 0
 Chris Ball has got those rose tinted lenses in his goggles.
  • 3 0
 I've lost interest in watching it now, Chris Ball, this is "pants"
  • 2 0
 I really hope Edbull media’s and Moimoi TV’s coverage is on point again. That’s how I’m watching the races.
  • 2 0
 Awesome analysis I count agree more. Sponsors should be reading this comments....
  • 2 0
 Awesome analysis I couldn't t agree more. Sponsors should be reading this comments....
  • 4 1
 Redbull Enough said lol
  • 1 0
 It funny when it’s the athletes responses you can pick out certain riders answer
  • 2 0
 Does Pinkbike not have spell check anymore?
  • 2 0
 I actually couldn't give two Continental Fooks.
  • 1 0
 Who wants to get in to mountain biking good bit of advise “warn-a-bruva”
  • 2 0
 Awesome analysis! I couldn't agree more.
  • 1 0
 Awesome analysis I couldn't t agree more. Sponsors should be reading this comments....
  • 1 0
 Bad... worse... make it free
  • 1 0
 Like 4 BigHit stair jump.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 More like Chris "of the" Ball..... Am I right.....
  • 6 9
 I really don't get the arguments about the new coverage being bad. Personally I thought it was great, must better produced than Redbull with more coverage and the commentary was good, especially good when current riders got on the mic (Mirian/Aaron etc), much better than Rob Warners constant shouting and repetative one liners for the smallest things.
Yes they had a few issues last year but that's all part of the new process in getting better. Honestly Redbull coverage was sketchy at best, constanly cutting out, missing on screen splits, watching nothing for mins on end. And the cost thing isn't an argument, you get way more coverage now than previously with Redbull.
Let's just see how it is this year, maybe then those moaning will have a vaild point but for now just shut up and watch or don't bother, pretty simple.
  • 1 0
 Another let down. At least the Supercross season has been awsome.
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