Opinion: The Proxy War Between Discovery & Red Bull Is Official

Feb 23, 2022
by Brian Park  
Greg Minnaar ran Pierron close but ended up just under a second back.
Minnaar composed as always. Photo by Ross Bell.

Words: Brian Park

Disclosure: Pinkbike has long, complex relationships & partnerships with Red Bull, the UCI, and Discovery. Our parent company Outside Inc also has a broadcast subscription model. This shouldn't be read as an objective take by a neutral third party.





Last year I suggested there was a proxy war brewing between Discovery (parent company of Eurosport and Play Sports Network) and Red Bull, but with this week's announcement that Discovery is likely taking over the UCI's DH and XC broadcast rights for World Cup events through 2030, it's official.

Frenemies.

The mountain bike industry has always had a complicated relationship with Red Bull. The Salzburg-based energy drink brand has undoubtedly poured money into the sport, supported untold numbers of riders, and been the reason that the best events have had massive global audiences. They’ve provided the canvases for many of mountain biking’s biggest moments. But most of all, over the past decade they’ve entrenched their position as holding the keys to the kingdom of free access to the sport’s most important broadcasts. Until now.

Every year or two we see a groundswell of “is Red Bull good for the sport?” type articles and opinions pop up. Including on this site. And a lot of it is compelling—nobody believes Red Bull supports the sport purely out of the goodness of their hearts. Their revenue broke €5B in 2018, and free access to broadcasts isn’t free; they’re marketing to an audience they believe is important to their business. The money they bring into the sport comes from somewhere, and some critics have been uneasy about the ethics of marketing energy drinks to action-sport audiences.

Information is still scarce, but I suspect Discovery was willing to pay significantly more than Red Bull had paid in the past. Again please take this with a huge grain of salt, but several unofficial sources have suggested that mountain bike racing hasn't been a huge moneymaker for the UCI in recent years, so it would be unsurprising for the UCI to move forward with Discovery's even deeper pockets.

Room for improvement.

As much as Red Bull has given to the sport, its coverage has lots of room for improvement. Team and media access issues. Fairness in coverage for non-Red Bull athletes. Improving their camerawork and broadcast logistics. Insurance and prizing that's out of sync with risk factors. Challenging communication. And they’ve missed some of the most important racing moments over the past few years.

I'm sure Discovery has big plans to improve the content, and they certainly have the means and ability to do just that. But it’s hard to know what’s possible until you’re in charge. I bet some folks at Red Bull are looking at the cataclysmic, doom-and-gloom comments about the Discovery news and thinking “weren’t you the same people that complained bitterly about our coverage?”

The truth is that despite Red Bull’s issues, they’ve set an incredibly high bar for production and many of the key people running the broadcasts care deeply about the sport. It remains to be seen what kind of access Discovery is going to give for World Cups, but if it does become a subscription service, there will be higher expectations from the audience. Full disclosure, the subscription model is a cornerstone of Pinkbike’s parent company’s business and I’m fundamentally happy to pay for content I want to see, but to get the mountain bike world on board they’re going to need to step way up.
2021 UCI MTB World Cup. Lenzerheide Switzerland
Photo by Sven Martin.
Thank You, Red Bull

Matt Wragg takes a deep dive into how Red Bull has developed the sport, including revealing viewing figures, and how racing might look now Discovery has taken over. Read on Beta.

Discovery needs to both elevate the coverage, give a better representation of the sport, and get it in front of more fans.

A huge opportunity.

If the American multinational is able to level up World Cup racing, it’s great for the sport—better content for core fans, and more visibility on traditional TV, bringing more non-endemic dollars to the sport. But if they don’t, and viewership falls, it’s going to be a hard sell for teams to commit the same level of funding in an arena where some of the most talented riders are already hurting for support. In other words, many brands will struggle to commit marketing dollars to race programs that will get seen by less people (or less mountain bikers). I know I’m beating a dead horse on this, but I don’t want a sport where only a few ultra-rich kids can compete, while everyone else is part time racers and full time influencers.

Discovery is, in a sense, a competitor to Pinkbike/Beta/Outside, but for the sake of the sport, I’m rooting for them on this. They have the opportunity to do something amazing, but the stakes are high. At least with the benefit of hindsight we’ll be able to better understand Red Bull's contributions to the sport.

The UCI, Red Bull, and Discovery have declined to comment for now on this evolving situation.


339 Comments

  • 459 4
 Welp, it's been a good run. Thanks for everything Reb Bull. I fear change and can only assume this is the end as we know it.
  • 19 5
 ladies and gentlemen!!! hes back!!!!
  • 12 0
 Haha, have you got a template set up for these stories somewhere?
  • 13 2
 Favorite comment of the year nominee right here
  • 27 0
 LOL, I love it VtVolt!

Also, I wish the world's providers of 'information' offered disclosures similar to this article... "This shouldn't be read as an objective take by a neutral third party."
  • 92 0
 @dirtworks911: to be clear, I have a lot of respect for @brianpark. It's fun to poke fun, but I've never questioned his (or other PB editors') journalistic integrity. Change IS hard, and as a middle manager, Brian has a nearly impossible job of keeping his team reasonably happy and producing at a high level, while simultaneously protecting the brand and keeping the new corporate overlords off everyone's back. It can't be that fun on many days. Brian has a wealth of perspective and I always appreciate his insights and sense of humor. Kudos for the use of "jeremiads" in the last piece, too!
  • 129 4
 I like watching the DH and XC races on Redbull, but the only reason I watch them is because they are free. Much like this Outside takeover, once I have to pay for it, I'm out. The content is nice, but it is not that nice where I am going to fork over money to read an article or watch an event. Especially when I can see all the highlights for Free the next day.
  • 122 0
 @VtVolk EXPOSED as Brian Park's alt account!
  • 30 8
 If they hire Sal Masacala, I'm putting a bounty on him.
  • 11 0
 @brianpark: Ha ha! THE PLOT THICKENS...
  • 8 0
 The 90's all over again. This is the beginning of the end
  • 22 0
 If this goes pay to watch its going to die on its arse for views and chances are sponsers will start pulling out as result :/
  • 38 0
 @brianpark: World cups would not be the same with out Rob Warner, on the mic?
Eurosport do realise that right?
  • 15 0
 @aljoburr:
"Look at the time!"
  • 2 0
 @Three6ty: I would add to your comment, especially when it's paid for by add revenue.
  • 5 0
 @makripper: and yet.. kids will allways ride bikes in the woods as long as there's still bikes and woods.
  • 6 0
 @naptime: in the 90's all norba DH, xc and ds races were on oln (cable network) top racers were making bank with massive sponsors. Then overnight just derailed and fell apart. Completely off the map. Racers and teams sponsored by car companies, name brand clothing companies, etc.

This move has its parallels. Attempt at mainstream by discovery with the ultimate cancellation due to revenue flow and a new big boss doesn't like it.
  • 1 0
 @makripper: agreed, that's when I jumped back to BMX
  • 2 1
 Has Professionalism finally run AMOK??? PINKBIKE stop eating your tidbits already and sort these UCI FU(KWITS out by KILLING them SOFTLY with your nicities and take ahold of this shite by FORCE (and then kindly ask REDBULL for millions to keep it true to the sport)!!!!
  • 17 47
flag dungeonbeast (Feb 24, 2022 at 5:48) (Below Threshold)
 @blowmyfuse:

Dude, this is a terrible take and actually very racist. First, spell the man’s name correctly, Selema Masekela.

Second, even if it’s a ‘joke’, threatening a bounty on somebody because you don’t care for there commenting style is absurd. Would you make the same statement about Claudio or Warner if you didn’t like them? Making such a statement against a POC sure makes it sound like you value their life less than others. Even if you didn’t intend it this way, that is the underlying message to others and why it is important to learn and improve. You could have simple stated, “I hope they find a mountain biker to commentate and don’t bring in an outside individual.” You chose to single out the one Black commentator and then threaten physical harm to him as if it was his fault the new company might offer him a job. Micro aggressions are real, and this is a prime example. This is a perfect opportunity to reflect, grow, and do better.

Third, Selema is one of the most passionate and genuine people in the greater action sports community. He has done invaluable work to help these sports grow and represent them as honestly as possible to the masses. Learn about the man and I’d hope you’d gain some respect for him even if you wouldn’t choose to listen to his commentary as a first choice.
  • 6 34
flag dungeonbeast (Feb 24, 2022 at 7:09) (Below Threshold)
 Also, anyone downvoting this, take some time to reflect. I’ve know there are at least two of you.

If you feel the need to negatively prop this there is likely some inherent bias in your views that you haven’t yet acknowledged.
  • 4 0
 @makripper: except now MTB is mainstream in the upper middle class. In the late 90's we were stoked if we saw 5 people on bikes at the most popular riding spots on a weekend ride. Now when riding those same spots you can't ride more than 15 seconds without seeing another rider. When leaving one spot last weekend I started counting the number of 1UP and Kuat racks on the backs of cars. I gave up when I got to 50. This wasn't counting lower end races and trucks either.

Now the problem for Discovery is that this is not a race driven sport. Win on Sunday and sell on Monday doesn't really apply since those bikes are either too uncomfortable (XC) to ride or are fun sponges (Enduro) on regular trails. Most riders have no idea who Nino or Loic are so the question is whether they can make racing more mainstream and therefore drive ad dollars. If they are successful then team sponsors and racers salaries will follow.
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: who knows but what is the likelihood they just merge the coverage in with their ES/ GMBN/GCN studio-based cycle racing commentary set up in Bath UK? Just look at how Red Bull covered World cup Cyclocross racing in 2019 and how Eurosport/Discovery/GCN cover the same sport now. Can't see Warner fitting into that set up can you?
  • 22 6
 @dungeonbeast: Kiss my very unconcerned butt right between the cheeks right on my dirty, stained brown spot guy.

I could care less about spelling.
I could care less if you like my joke.
I could care less if you see racism where there is none.
I could care less about you feeling triggered.
I could care less if Sal is your hero.

Pretend English isn't my native language and I misspelled his name.

Nobody wants Sal "X-Games" Mufasalasadingdong turning our sport into the same old cookie cutter stuff of the 90's.

We are our own sport. Don't need mainstream.

Go defend someone that needs defending.

#dungeonbeastsellsfakenews.
  • 7 0
 @dungeonbeast: Perhaps he just doesn't like his commentating. You pointed out that he is the "one Black commentator" when in fact he is not the only one, and @blowmyfuse did not address anybody else. I think it was a statement about someone's preference of commentating style.
  • 10 1
 @dungeonbeast: My God you're a moron. There's your macro aggression
  • 1 17
flag dungeonbeast (Feb 24, 2022 at 11:58) (Below Threshold)
 @blowmyfuse: if you’re unconcerned, why respond? Why default to calling names? Perhaps my tone could have been better, but the sentiment remains.

If someone sees racism, it’s because it’s probably there. You may not be racist, but the comment was. That’s the whole point of systemic racism, it’s engrained and pervasive and continues through apathy. We can all help make the world better by learning and evolving. Myself included.

And a native tongue does not pertain to spelling anyone’s name. That transcends language.

A suggestion may be to listen to “The Bombhole Podcast” episode with Selema. You may find in interesting and enlightening.
  • 13 3
 @dungeonbeast: you mean Sal?

Seriously, calling me a racist again for not liking someone's commentating.

There are not enough bad names on the planet for shit stirrers like you.

You desperately want attention so this is your route to internet glory.

I used to beat the living crap out of bullies that picked on, kicked and belittled the weaker kids in school.

You're trying to be some big bad internet bully. Just know that me and every one else here talking about BIKES just punched your little down arrow right in it's internet bully face. Beer

Fokk off with your psychosis.
  • 11 0
 @blowmyfuse: *couldn’t care less…
  • 4 14
flag dungeonbeast (Feb 24, 2022 at 13:59) (Below Threshold)
 @blowmyfuse:

No, Selema. He has been on record multiple times saying that he does not want to be referred to as ‘Sal’ any longer. His name is Selema. ‘Sal’ was a nickname he felt forced to accept in his earlier years. Listen to the podcast.

I also never called you a racist. I called the comment racist. Learn reading comprehension.

And threatening physical violence and calling names sounds much more like bullying behavior than pointing out how a comment can how what you may view as an innocuous comment can actually contain undertones that uphold a harmful ideal and suggesting it’s a learning moment.

I hope you can get out on your bike and find some peace soon. Cheers bruh
  • 6 0
 @dungeonbeast: Speaking of learning reading comprehension... I believe there is a literary device called "figure of speech" which strongly plays into proper reading comprehension. It's a thing. It's been around. I'm pretty sure @blowmyfuse knows about it and used it in his comment. I'm pretty sure you either didn't comprehend it or just wanted an excuse to make a statement.
  • 7 0
 If I’m gonna have to subscribe then I want more than 8 feckin races. The super cross gets 17 rounds then add on the outdoors that’s another 12 so that’s at least worth paying for.
  • 5 0
 @CantQuitCartel: That way someone who gets a flat or spits a chain can try to make up ground over the season.

But yeah, the biggest problem with producing a 10, 11, 12 round World Cup is the teams getting to them.

But I've always been of the mind that the industry tries to skimp on the rider incomes regardless of the number of rounds, so bring it. Let's see 10, 11, 12 rounds. The trust fund kids can make all the rounds on a YT and push the factory teams to pony up. Nobody wants the next Denim Destroyer to win the overall on his own dime or a trust fund kid to steal the series on his 4 custom chrome Treks.

Pro Teams would step up if they added the rounds.
  • 1 0
 @McMeta666: VERY VERY TRUE
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse:
I learned 3 new expressions today. Thank you.
  • 1 0
 @rmkerr: thank you. I was too busy misspelling names intentionally to focus on grammar. If only there were an "Edit Comment" button.
  • 184 5
 I drink RedBull purely because of its BMX background!
  • 33 0
 And because I'm an engineer! Wink
  • 24 0
 @mybaben: You said you were a dentist just the other day ?!?
  • 34 0
 @2pi: dental engineer. Simples.
  • 48 1
 @mybaben: I don’t drink RB because Im a dentist. But you can be sure I tell everyone else to drink it!
  • 24 0
 I drink Discovery because of it's eMTB background
  • 2 0
 Lol. Nice.
  • 7 0
 Fun fact: its cans are made from the same material as the first Sessions
  • 8 0
 I drink red bull because I gotta get that sweet, sweet caffeine or else I shaky and a headache. I'm not addicted because I can stop whenever I want to.
  • 1 1
 @Jvisscher: Me neither! Monster all the way!
  • 2 0
 @2pi: LMAO! Wink
  • 10 0
 @Jvisscher: As a not dentist, Red Bull can be consumed anally to keep your teeth cavity free. Your welcome.
  • 6 0
 @Butt-Exploder: user name checks out.
  • 5 0
 @Bobohunter1776: I’m not addicted to brake fluid, I can stop whenever I want.
  • 177 13
 I drink RedBull because they contributed hugely to the development of many sports. Red Bull TV is fantastic in my opinion. I piss on Discovery for celebrating pillage and destruction of nature with the shows they are doing. It’s brain damaging content. Eurosport is as lame as sport commentary gets.
  • 90 2
 In their defence they counter their mining infatuation with high brow offerings such as 90 Day Fiance and Alaskan Bush Retards.
  • 15 2
 Discovery is a Monster
  • 16 13
 Even big names like Pastrana are moving away from RB. I think that should be a bit of a red flag.

Get it? Because bulls
  • 3 1
 But on the flip side, without Discovery we would have never been able to create such a removed sense of animosity towards the sabotaging bitch Honora Bowen on Naked and Afraid XL (season 1)...and for that, Discovery, we thank you.
  • 47 2
 Never bought a red bull product in my life, but I sure sucked up all the free content I could!
  • 13 9
 @Bomadics: I love Redbull. Drink like 2 and a month. It is pretty much the only soda I drink. Usually when I need extra kick at work or driving tired.
  • 15 6
 @calmWAKI: Great, I just drink coffee, but whatever works for you!
  • 18 7
 @Bomadics: I too drink coffee… but sometimes it is not enough. I also drink water, loads of it. And lactose free milk. And Vodka. If I need to work overhours in the evening Vodka is the best to keep me focused. Human condition requires anesthesia
  • 25 0
 Okay so this is the SAME Discovery as Discovery Channel and Discovery Sports is just a subsidiary? I'm trying to figure this out. If yes, I completely agree. Discovery Channel in late 90's and early 00's was top entertainment but then they went all in on the reality TV crap and now everything is some scripted reality show about exploiting our planet. absolute trash.
  • 7 3
 @calmWAKI: Vodka to stay focused, and with the lactose free milk, wow! Wink
  • 5 0
 @SATN-XC: Maybe Discovery will pony up for a "Dirty Jobs: Diggers Edition" episode
  • 24 0
 @commental: I’m just hoping Shark Week gets incorporated in some meaningful way. The possibilities are endless
  • 1 0
 @SacAssassin: all for it! a prime example of a show that was awesome back in the day
  • 12 0
 @commental: "Alaskan Bush Retards".. pure gold
  • 1 0
 @calmWAKI: with you on this...
  • 2 0
 @calmWAKI: Why not mix the red bull, coffee, and vodka? More efficient.
  • 2 3
 @calmWAKI: So is calmWAKI "coffee"and WAKIdesigns was Vodka or the other way around??

If the order is correct please drink more Vodka we miss the WAKIness!
  • 2 3
 @Bomadics: Low alcohol doses are already invigorating and you can still function quite well by the computer
  • 3 0
 @calmWAKI: Honestly, I thought you were mostly high using micro dosing or other hipster methods but vodka, now we are talking, respect.
  • 1 5
flag calmWAKI (Feb 23, 2022 at 22:29) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: microdosing Vodka as well. But I have expensive taste: Belvedere, Chopin, sometimes Soplica. The problem is that in Sweden shitty Vodka costs as much as premium in Poland. So I am transporting big amounts whenever on a visit in Poland. This single origin Belveder Smogory forest is just best stuff ever. Most of it in national liquor store here tastes like crap too. Recently I discovered Koskenkorva, it’s quite good.
  • 4 0
 @calmWAKI: I drink Red Bull so I can work more hours, so I can make more money, so I can buy more Red Bull, so I can work more hours, so I can make more money…….
  • 2 3
 @Rageingdh: on a less idealistic and existential note - I drink Red Bull because it is the only energy drink that my taste buds like.
  • 4 0
 @SATN-XC: yup, Discovery was interesting and educational early on until they got taken over by douchebags. I have no confidence in what they plan to do to our sport Frown
  • 130 1
 Whilst many on here have been very critical of RB over the years, I think they've done an amazing job of providing decent coverage of a sport that's intrinsically difficult to film. They also recognised in Rob Warner a person who embodies what the sport is about. Many complain he's a watered down version of the commentator we loved on Freecaster, but realistically he was never going to be allowed to do and say some of the things he could get away with when on that platform when he moved to RB.
I know their media player could be frustrating at times, but it was free as far as I am concerned, you never HAD to buy a RB product in order to watch.
With Discovery we will have to pay (at least I will be astounded if we don't) and I wouldn't be at all surprised if we also have to suffer adverts during the broadcast. I haven't watched their coverage of road racing, but I've heard very little in praise of it.
Have Discovery had to pledge improved coverage over RB? That remains to be seen. Personally I don't think the UCI have too much interest in DH, at least not as much interest as they have in lining their own pockets.
I really hope I'm wrong in my fears, but I can't help feeling this will turn out to be a step backwards for the sport I love and I feel if ever there's been a time for DH to cut ties with the UCI it's now.
  • 29 63
flag g-42 (Feb 23, 2022 at 12:20) (Below Threshold)
 Not to piss on Rob here - but does he truly embody what the sport is about? Does any one person? Mountainbiking is an incredibly diverse and multi-faceted thing, and racing is just a tiny slice of it. Rob's background as a racer, and his work as a commentator and media personality, can be appreciated without having to claim he somehow represents the true soul of the sport.
  • 59 0
 @g-42: I think Rob has become an iconic voice, and I honestly thororly enjoy his energy as a commentator.
That being said, I do believe he embodies what mountainbiking is about. Just as you stated, it is a multifaceted thing. Here you have somebody who loves the sport, understands it, and once again is an icon within it. What other criteria do you need?
  • 23 0
 @g-42: I was talking specifically about DH racing, and yes, I believe he does.
  • 26 7
 @g-42: amen.. very well said. At the same time I have seen him in action personally, already after his behind the mic persona got civilized by Redbull. I can say that the out of rails “punk” background is strong in him. Dude can be a mess. It is hard for me to deny that DH racing and park riding has a scent of punk. Enduro and XC tends to be impregnated with upper middle class bros and elitists. If you are into DH racing and banging out laps in mud or dust until your eyeballs and wrists fall out, the chances that you are a van Zac are quite high. A typical XC enthusiast/ racer just won’t put up with such level of injuries and low standard of living. And Rob is just that.
  • 39 1
 @g-42: Rob Warner is to WCDH as Murray Walker was to F1 for a lot of the English-speaking world. Yes he can be replaced but it will have to be someone very special to do so.
  • 8 0
 I hear Phil Liggett will be the MC on the DH runs. Should be riveting. How hard can it be coming from the TDF.
  • 11 1
 @g-42: this isn’t mountain biking. World Cup downhill racing is just that. It’s not about some nerd enjoying a spin on his mellow home trails.
  • 15 0
 @commental Well said sir. The UCI announcement states that "More detailed information on the concept developed by Discovery Sports to further drive the development of the discipline will be communicated at the signing of the contract that will bind the two parties." Which the cynic in me reads as 'we're not saying anything until there is nothing that the angry horde can do about it. tbh, my beef is not with Discovery, as much as it is with UCI. I'd be delighted to hear how every single penny of this deal is being put to work in grassroots development of downhill across the world. I mean, surely they wouldn't just suck it into the coffers and spaff it all on admin and road cycling. Now would they.
  • 12 1
 @AlexSplode: they would and they will, whole.organisation is run by and for lycra wearing leg shavers. I've said for years MTB should have its own governing body UCI have f*cked it up at every turn.
  • 4 0
 @pbuser30972: & @alexsplode exactly. Expect shiny new Benz SUV's at this year's Tour (if WWIII isn't going down), new chalet's for Dick Pound and team in the Swiss Alps, etc. etc. I would be shocked if any resources are added to MTB, DH especially
  • 7 1
 Rob Warner is to Downhill what Murray Walker is to F1 or John Motson is to English footy, an iconic voice the defines the sport as it currently stands
  • 4 0
 @AlexSplode: Of course not! The grand tours generate their own cash for spaffing, the UCI reserves are for the velodrome, and the undisputed king of cycle-sports; BMX
  • 3 0
 @calmWAKI: agreed. that's pretty much my take on it. I love Red Bull TV. Especially because it gives you such an incredible view of exotic locations, sometimes you have no idea that exist. Discovery was cool when it was just animals, but has sucked balls for a long time now.
  • 7 2
 @calmWAKI: Downhill is not punk. Downhill bikes have always cost WAAAY more than just about any other type of mountain bike. The majority of downhillers are ski resort riders which is $$$$ if you do it regularly.
  • 8 4
 @office: It takes money for sure, but if you want results it means you have to ride a lot. When you ride a lot you don't have time for a job to earn all this money. When you want to ride a lot DH you have to live in an area where you can ride a lot DH and those areas are rarely places where you can get a well paid job. Then you get injured so you can't work at all. Most of all - majority of good riders at competitions are young. 15-25. They don't get well paid jobs.

All that means that you have to obtain sponsorships of any kind. So you are piecing together as much free bikes, parts and swag as you can get, your accomodations and means of transport have to be as cheap as possible. So while you are doing something quite expensive and spending loads of money on it, you are still broke as fuk. You may be spending far more money per month total, than your peers from school/work but you are far poorer than they are. Even if you have parents who are either rich or established in racing with all possible networks and assets, you have to count every damn penny.

And that's a rather punk life as opposed to a XC racer, who's biggest worry is to find time for enough riding volume, lots of which happens on a road bike. You don't need to dig trails, worry for injuries as much. There is a reason why wealthier executives, engineers, salesmen, IT folks at 45-60yrs old train for marathons, road races, triathlons almost as much as elite athletes. My former boss trains 3-4h a day every day. That reason is that endurance training is far easier to fit into regular Western lifestyle than skills training.

There will be exceptions but the average elite DH racer from top 20-top 80 WC is a one broke mdr fkr. Listen to Downtime podcast with Paul Aston.
  • 2 1
 @AlexSplode: I’m not sure I believe that because realistically I don’t see what the angry horde could actually do to stop them what ever the plan is.
  • 2 1
 @CM999: At this point this is the top point in UCI protfolio: cyclingtips.com/2020/11/the-dictator-the-oligarch-and-the-uci-president
  • 1 0
 @pbuser30972: XCO riders shave their legs and wear lycra, but I agree with the latter, MTB has never been a priority for UCI
  • 1 0
 @g-42: judging by the down votes, probably not a view that is representing the majority of readership
  • 2 0
 Discovery do NOT want DH. They wanted the XCO as that is where the growth is (Olympics, monied/beige focus group interest and sponsors).
DH is too niche and there is small perceivable growth in the market.
The UCI would not uncouple the two disciplines and so we are where we are.
  • 2 0
 @office: I can't say I agree. DH bikes are on par with every Enduro bike currently available. A large majority of DH riders do ride at resorts, but the cost of a seasons pass for whistler is less than the cost of gas to shuttle every weekend.
  • 2 0
 @calmWAKI: I have to agree with piecing things together. I've ridden DH bikes for nearly 20 years, and many of my first bikes were pieced together from free parts and salvaged parts. I've bought, sold, and traded my way up and ultimately the cost hasn't been outrageous at all.
  • 3 1
 UCI has zero interest in DH because its not an Olympic sport and thats where all the corrupt money comes from. Hopefully this joke of an Olympics this time around will signal their demise and all the corruption that goes with them. DH racing is very watchable and with cycling exploding the average punter might be interested in seeing whats possible on two wheels without a motor, now if ebikes would die in a fiery pit of Hell we'd be all good.
  • 80 0
 Redbull is a drink company that advertises their drinks by sponsoring and broadcasting events. They make most of their money from selling drinks.

Discovery is a media company. Their main product is broadcasting shows / events. They make most of their money from selling subscriptions to their service, and selling advertising on their broadcasts.

So the pretty obvious result here is that coverage will require a paid subscription to watch, and there's gonna be a bunch of advertisements to sit through. Maybe that also comes with a higher quality broadcast? We'll see.
  • 14 44
flag flipfantasia (Feb 23, 2022 at 12:18) (Below Threshold)
 why are you assuming it will be higher quality?
  • 63 0
 @flipfantasia: Why are you assuming that I'm assuming that? I said "maybe" and ended the sentence with a "?." That means "there's a possibility, but we'll have to wait and see."
  • 14 5
 @flipfantasia: Because it makes sense to assume a media/broadcasting company would be better at media/broadcasting that an energy drink company...
  • 21 2
 Yeah, I like dh racing but I won't be subscribing to a big channel just for that. Back to just reading the results like the good old days.
  • 5 0
 A bunch of red bull advertisements?
  • 10 1
 @schulte1400: you know what they say about assuming....

sorry for missing the maybe, @toast2266, I agree it's a wait and see. There was nothing low quality about RB's broadcast imo, and based on what little EWS coverage I was able to watch last year, not holding my breath on this change, because I went from consuming the EWS coverage pretty regularly, to almost immediately ceasing watching it as it was pretty terrible overall.
  • 6 0
 @flipfantasia: Yeah, I'm certainly not holding my breath for a big upgrade on the quality - RB did a great job. I think there is room for improvement though. For example, the Freeride World Tour (ski / snowboard) live feed and replays have a thing to quickly and easily skip to a given rider that's really handy.

That said, there's only so much that can be done with the DH race format. They can pack more cameras onto the track or whatever, but the coverage is inherently limited by the intervals between the riders. If there's two minutes between riders, they can't really show more than two minutes of the run unless they abandon being a live broadcast.
  • 21 0
 @schulte1400: well to be fair, the drink company makes/supports loads of high quality video content for niche outdoor sports (climbing, kayaking, mtb, motocross, whatever).

And the media/broadcasting company mostly makes shitty scripted reality shows about hillbillies looking for gold.

I'm keeping an open mind but I don't have high hopes.
  • 2 0
 @toast2266: agree re. FWT and WSL and the unique ways in which they show their sports online and allow them to be viewed post event, and like you mentioned DH racing coverage is highly constrained by the racer gaps which is why I don't think the broadcast format has a lot of room to change. And that being said, I'm not sure Discovery has a lot of motivation to change how it's shown, or even will. Given that they are a traditional broadcast medium, I don't anticipate unique online coverage like FWT/WSL, and I can't imagine them doing much beyond dumping it behind a paywall. Maybe I'm being overly cynical, guess time will tell.
  • 7 0
 @toast2266: "a thing to quickly and easily skip to a given rider that's really handy."

RBTV already had that though? At least on the desktop site. You can hover over the little circles to jump to a rider.

Personally I would like to see fewer riders on the broadcast with full runs / bigger gaps. Drone footage could probably fill in a lot of gap time too. Realistically it probably stays same/worse and goes behind a paywall.
  • 43 0
 @bkm303: Discovery's experience with hillbilly reality shows could lead to some great programming. I'm hoping for a spin off where Danny Hart plays a toothless hobo, trying to regain his long lost glory in the moonshining business. But he keeps getting foiled by a snooty Frenchmen (played by Loris Vergier) who is convincing his customers to drink wine. Supporting cast include Greg Minnaar as the womanizing sheriff, Finn Iles as the neighbor kid who has a lot of pluck, Aaron Gwin as a door to door bible salesman, and Eddie Masters as an anthropomophic wallaby.

I'm confident that Discovery has the resources to make this happen.
  • 8 0
 @toast2266: you know what, just cancel the world cup... this is the content the mtb industry needs.
  • 11 0
 @schulte1400: Red Bull Media House is a very legit content producer to be fair. High quality, big budget.
  • 5 0
 @bkm303: Hillbilly DH could be the next big thing. No need for fancy Red Bull helmets or any helmets.
  • 1 0
 @Zoo1424: Kirt Voreis once raced a UCI DH race in the rain/mud in sweatpants, so you could say he was a Soggy Bottom Boy.
  • 4 0
 I love the irony of this article - now that beta/outside/pinkbike are very much to be read together its okay to reference a Beta article that is paywall blocked. I guess this one is the watered down version for the land of the free. Slowly but surely what was is being eroded. I can see myself watching WCDH on pirated YouTube channels after the fact and with the sound turned down while bemoaning the absence of Warner and Caluori...
  • 2 1
 THere are adverts in the current broadcasts, all for more RB marketing content
  • 1 0
 @CM999: And not forgetting the "Presented by Mercedes Benz" - the fact I remember this means that the advert must have worked...
  • 53 0
 I can't wait for Discovery helmets to rollout!!
  • 25 0
 Bear Grylls has been waiting to release his "sports" drink
  • 39 0
 @captainderp: How do you market canned urine?
  • 3 0
 @Dicko22: man there's a lot of jokes to be made here.

in all seriousness, google "bear grylls products". It's insane what he's slapped his name on.
  • 6 0
 @Dicko22: Pretty sure Monster already did that...sorry Levy
  • 2 0
 @captainderp: I got a Bear Grylls knife combo set as a gag gift and it's great. It's made by Gerber. I also got a Guy Fiery pan because it was hilarious. Both get used regularly in my camping box
  • 3 0
 @Dicko22: Red Bull has been doing it for decades now.
  • 1 0
 @office: i didn't mean to imply it was necessarily bad stuff, just that like many tv characters, he's definitely gone down the branding path and is putting his name on a lot of things.
  • 49 1
 If you want to "grow the sport" and viewership then it'll need to remain free coverage
  • 40 1
 My assumption is that they're going to be more about "milk the sport" than "grow the sport".
  • 3 0
 If you want to grow the sport then you need to get it in front of non mountain bikers too. That’s the way to get the money flowing into the sport. If you look at the road cycling world then you will see that virtually all the teams major sponsors are not bike brands or component makers. In many cases the bike brand that they use isn’t even part of the team name because they are such a small part of the team revenue.
  • 49 11
 "Disclosure: Pinkbike has long, complex relationships & partnerships with Red Bull, the UCI, and Discovery. Our parent company Outside Inc also has a broadcast subscription model. This shouldn't be read as an objective take by a neutral third party."

Can we get an outside opinion on this?
  • 114 3
 I've been told to keep my mouth shut Frown

Be safe be well,
Incognito Robin
  • 48 1
 Hah I just didn't want to act like we operate in a vacuum. I suspect a lot of other MTB media won't be keen to ruffle feathers on the subject.
  • 38 1
 @brianpark: These kind of disclosures give you folks a ton of cred in my book. Thank you.
  • 3 6
 I have no industry experience and work in health care IT...so my opinion is certainly an outsider's Wink There is a chance this could be good for the sport. Hell, nothing has done anything to truly promote mtn biking until COVID came along and forced people off the couches, out of the malls, and onto the trails. But to really understand any benefit, we need to define the target. If it is us as viewers, short term this will likely hurt (new platforms, subscriptions, maybe personalities we don't mesh with like the current RB teams). Over time it would work out well as the market feedback corrections kick in. If we are looking at benefits for the athletes and sponsors...this could be HUGE! Look at what Disco has done for subjects no one cared about until it was polished up. Sure, we might have Mike Rowe providing commentary instead of Rob Warner, but Mike is a cool guy, so that would still work.
  • 4 1
 @brianpark: seconding plustiresaintdead, even when I'm being pita about geo-targeting, y'all have done a commendable job being straight up and forthcoming during times that can be frightening to your audience. I know many of us are extremely grateful for it and all the work from you and your teams.
  • 1 0
 Brian, you can say what you want on this and be dammed by the righteous folk down here in the comments. Bottom feeding scum trying to make money to keep the business going as we all instal our ad blockers
  • 31 0
 As somebody who has always rolled eyes at the reliance on RedBull/Monster/Rockstar contracts for action athletes to stay afloat... I can't even begin to describe how much worse this sounds. Free or not, the content is likely to be produced/directed by somebody who makes traditional media. Which means they will contrive narratives out of nothing instead of just covering the sport and focusing on the pure elements of it.

The worst part of Red Bull was the attempt to dramatize or click bait races. And then they zoomed the f*ck out and realized... You don't need to! Just COVER it. Let the cameras run. Get behind the scenes. The narratives write themselves. You don't need to chop up Rob's commentary and make things sound wilder than they are.

The best era of Red Bull is the one we are just leaving... And I hope we get another year of it to show Discovery how it's done. Generally ~2 videos, 10+ minutes long, that cover pre-race day (times and qualis), and race day itself. Then after that you release the male and female winning run as unedited as possible. That's it! Plus the livefeed, you get a ton of opportunities for engagement and you don't need to trick anybody to watch it. You just let people watch the event as if they were there. Cover as much of the race as possible. Get some behind the scenes in the pits/rider interviews. It's good content.
  • 1 0
 Pretty much that
  • 32 1
 "Again please take this with a huge grain of salt, but several unofficial sources have suggested that mountain bike racing hasn't been a huge moneymaker for the UCI in recent years, so it would be unsurprising for the UCI to move forward with Discovery's even deeper pockets."

This comment makes me sad. The UCI shouldn't be about making money; it should be about making cycling a success and having as many people participating at every level...
  • 10 5
 Errrr... I'm sure if you've noticed this, but organisations need money to do things. More money means they can do more things. The UCI, by charter, does not make profit, but if they run out of money then they would have to shut their doors and while it may not be a popular opinion, I'd much rather see the UCI as the sports governing body, not a corporation.
  • 28 1
 I'll pay if the following criteria are met:

1. Broadcast/programming is as good or better than Red Bull
2. No commercials. Advertising via content can be integrated in a tolerable way, but I won't put up with classic "commercials"
3. I can purchase only the MTB product
4. Price is fair - Max $10 per race - including both men's & women's broadcasts
5. It is on demand, and once purchased I have unlimited access forever

If any of those five pillars aren't there, then I will pirate the broadcast without batting an eye.
  • 9 2
 You forgot Rob Warner.
  • 3 1
 Lmao aye, matey. Well said.
  • 13 1
 I'm guessing you'll get Zero of those criteria met.
  • 22 0
 The amazing part about any coverage on Eurosport is the fact they can take exciting live sport events of multiple hour length, condense it down to 30 minutes, and somehow manage to spend 15 of those minutes playing the same three ads for their own coverage of another sporting event.
  • 19 0
 If it goes subscription then it’d be a real shame and will no doubt loose a great number of viewers!

Makes no sense having better coverage or if there are less people watching
  • 9 0
 If anyone in Somalia wants to record it then put the address for file share on their patreon let me know. Probably worth it for a few thousand $2 donations.
  • 18 1
 I'm not totally educated on the topic, but I think if the UCI decided to have more races closer to major cities in bigger markets then that would be a great way to grow the sport and to increase revenue. Think about how many people would show up to a World Cup race at somewhere like Big Bear! I think the UCI has been shooting themselves in the foot with a lot of their decisions. Europe is a big market, but World Cup races should truly be around the world, not just in Europe.
  • 17 0
 the UCI doesn't go around picking whatever venue they feel like. venues submit bids to the UCI to host races. the UCI just evaluates and approvers / rejects it. should also note there is a cost associated with just submitting a bid, even if a venue is not selected.
  • 6 0
 THe reason most of the races are in Europe is because the resorts that host them put the money up and want them. The is nothing stopping other resorts round the world doing the same thing. They have chosen not to bother because they don’t thing the ROI is high enough
  • 17 0
 Let's all hope Red Bull will put that marketing budget from UCI Downhill into some of their other projects like Rampage and coverage of the Urban Downhill series. They have an audience and they have a bike channel.
Rampage in the Southern Hemisphere Spring 2023?
  • 3 0
 hell yeah
  • 2 0
 I just splooshed my pants at the thought of the beautiful scenes they'd be riding in. Thank you for that last sentence.
  • 3 0
 Better still tell the UCI to do one and have their own World Series.
  • 1 0
 The thing is nobody likes the UCI and there’s nothing stopping them from just doing the exact same thing anyway and broadcasting it on their channel. Even give it a bit of a revamp. Maybe open up more venues with a smaller field so there’s less reliance on ski resorts.
  • 2 0
 They were also showing Crankworx. Can't think of a better time for them to team up to make a DH series split off from the UCI.
  • 14 0
 Thank you red bull for the amazing work you have done in Mtb. UCI have done very little to progress this sport IMO. I really hope this works out but one thing is for sure, I will still be enjoying red bull tv but unfortunately not involving my favourite sport
  • 13 0
 I've got nothing but love for Redbull. They've done an excellent job and its been free coverage, can't ask for more than that. I really doubt Discovery will do it better and I'm sick of all the subscription shit. I hesitate to say "f*ck Discovery" but I really don't have high hopes. As usual the UCI makes everything worse. Out of principle I'll find a way to pirate the races over paying for another damn subscription.
  • 19 6
 Now you're plugging beta articles into the free articles. You guys be doing too much.
  • 10 0
 For me this is a disappointing turn. An influx of cash (not guaranteed) should help the sport, but at what cost? The beauty of the Red Bull coverage was that it was free to watch. How many people got into the sport because they caught a race or a show that was streaming on their app? For me personally I rarely watch TV, and if I do it's on in the background. I won't be subscribing to Discovery's streaming service, so my days of watching a race while I fix my bike or tie some trout flies are likely over for now. At least we still have Rampage, Hard Line etc. Thanks for everything Red Bull.
  • 10 0
 I never suffer any problems watching red bull TV, I don't know what the people have about RB. I always have good time watching the world cup. Look at the world championship or crankworks DH, the broadcast is boring as possible !!!
  • 9 0
 I hope it works out too. I think its just hard to envision because whenever large "network television" has tried to cover action sports in the past its generally been a disaster. I hope this is different and they really make an investment in improving the coverage and aren't just buying these rights to fill up space on some subscription sports package.
  • 15 4
 Loved.the story about MTB racing potentially going behind a paywall and in that story there is read more behind our own paywall on beta.
  • 4 0
 PB editor in "paid subscription model will be better" shocker.
  • 4 0
 The Great PayWall
  • 11 2
 AMA Supercross in the US is a great example where a sport is crazy exciting to watch. But has never really hit main stream support, because it is always behind a paywall year after year. So you only get people who have had a direct evolvement in the dirt bike racing scene, willing to pay for the service.

Free Redbull coverage has been great for growing the interest in MTB, our forests are full of young rippers digging crazy jumps, which is awesome. You can tell its all a RB influence, as there’s always energy drink cans scattered about… ha, ha ( kids today hey!)

Paywalls can be positive however, here in Oz they are now putting most cricket matches behind them. So finally that mind numbingly boring sport, is starting to slowly die out at its grass roots. Which is a massive positive for all school kids across the country.
  • 8 0
 I'm going to miss Red Bull's coverage. Not a huge fan of their beverage, but I will occasionally drink it merely as thanks for them supporting the sport. My hope is that Discovery can put their deeper pockets towards marketing the WC to people interested in mountain biking since it seemed as though the only WC exposure was found in areas where people were already more likely to know about the series (PB, Vital, RB's Website). RB's coverage was great and probably could have raked in more fans and viewers if they had just raised awareness outside of the pre-existing bubble. There are still a lot of mountain bikers out there that are unaware of the WC but would absolutely tune in to some of the races (DH & XC).
  • 12 1
 Everything will be hidden behind paywalls. Who will actually pay for 100 diff subs to watch this and that?
  • 9 0
 Just like with Outside and PB, Discovery is going to have to prove it to me..... I don't hear other people's talk, I simply use my own eyeballs.
  • 12 1
 OMG Rob got robbed - or is he joining the switch?
  • 10 0
 @ferenooo I would hope and am guessing that Discovery knows just how critical Rob is to the overall success of WC - as well as the entire broadcast team, and has plans to include them.
  • 4 2
 they better not drop rob and/or hardline
  • 3 0
 @threesixtykickflip: Since when is Hardline a port of the WC?
  • 2 0
 I'd imagine he's got a good career going now commentating for Red Bull so I can't imagine he'd leave that.
  • 4 1
 @GrandMasterOrge: Most of what he commentates on will move to Discovery. I have to admit his coverage of the Crankworx slopestyle was basically him shouting "Wow, did you see that?" repeatedly with poor Matt Jones trying to say interesting things whilst sitting next to him.
  • 7 0
 Things I hope for: First, that the broadcasts actually improve, with more cameras and continuing with the same knowledgeable commentators. I remember when ITV took over from BBC for F1 and we held our breath, but there were Murray Walker and Martin Brundle right back, and that continuity remained when Sky took over. Second; There need to be reasonable subscription models in different countries which don't tie you to paying for a lot of content you aren't ever going to watch. F1, motogp and Supercross have been doing these direct packages so I hope we can get these at an appropriate price point. Or frankly, figure out how World Surf League can do their broadcasts for free and pull in good numbers and do that. Finally, I hope they are supportive of grassroots media efforts such as Ben Cathro and Wynn Masters have been pursuing in recent years, as well as other corporate media like Pinkbike. There is a tendency to restrict other media once you have paid a lot for this type of broadcast, eg Formula 1 being very slow to allow independent reporters back in the paddock during Covid, but mountain biking is not at the scale where that's a good idea.+
  • 11 1
 And the fate of Rob Waner is? If Rob isn't announcing....(sob, sob)....what will we do?
  • 12 0
 James has been doing some digging with a bunch of riders and insiders. Fingers crossed we get some clarity in the next few days.
  • 23 1
 @brianpark: If they don't pick Rob Warner, He could just comment it live on Twitch TV with some beers bringing back the legendary Freecaster golden era speech, it will make my day every round !
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: Except from the UCI, nobody seems to know anything.
  • 14 0
 David Attenborough is the obvious discovery channel choice isn't he? (do your best Attenborough impression while reading) "And here we have the French participant Amaury Pierron, a close relative of Baptiste Pierron who is competing for the same prize. Note how both riders employ the same technique of flicking the tail out to attract a mate"
  • 1 1
 He will be replaced by Bob Sacamano
  • 2 0
 @Variable-Visual: GREAT PLAN
  • 6 0
 i'll support the racers by watching their YouTube channels. i will not pay to watch the races. does discovery think people are gonna pay a monthly subscription for a sport that runs from March till september and they don't even race every weekend.
  • 8 0
 Food for Thought, The NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, etc. didn't get their huge multi-generational viewership numbers sitting behind a paywall.
  • 6 0
 Redbull media is awesome. No complaints. As a viewer I don't care what happens between companies and organizations. I think that Redbull will create and promote more content around bikes (like redbull hardline, rampage, etc) and UCI events will lose audience.
  • 5 0
 Well I already pay to watch MotoGP and WSBK since my locals suck but I am not sure I am willing to add another subscription to my already growing list of subs. Also what are we going to get that RedBull doesn't offer for free? MotoGP and WSBK I get full coverage of all practices and qualifiers so I would hope that would be the same with Discovery if not more.
  • 10 1
 Rob W doesn't need Red Bull, he's got eggs
  • 5 0
 Oh my... maybe I'm totally off on this but it seems like we are in the beginning of a mountainbiking bubble - comparable to real estate or other segments. But I think dark times are ahead for the mountainbiking community. Mountainbiking was a growing sport and Covid pushed the growth even further. Huge investment groups want their piece of the pie. Now they are buying bike companies left and right, DH world cups will (probably) be PPV even Outside buying Pinkbike (to PB defense - I haven't felt any worseing in user experience) shows us that money is to be made. The sad thing is: It will be for the worse of the community. Just like real estate. Investors bought everything, kept prices high, people looking for housing couldn't afford it - The costumer was the one on the wrong end of the spectrum. It looks the same with biking: We wont be the ones who will benefit from investors getting their fair share. Be it bikes - the media - or downhill coverage. Let's hope that the awakeing wont be to bad when the bubble collapses.
  • 3 3
 I think you need to put a bit more thought into those bubbles. Like, literally the worst consequence of the things you’re talking about is that instead of watching a race with my boutique bike in the background I go ride my perfectly good bike produced by a less cool brand.

Real estate was so impactful because it’s a basic necessity, they don’t make it anymore, and a huge chunk of our economy is built on the idea it will never go down in value. Bikes… are none of that. Not that a bubble is a good thing - the pop will take several bikes shops with it - but it’s really not a huge problem for how we enjoy the sport.

Unless you derive a lot of self worth from the uniqueness of your bike. Then you might have a problem.
  • 5 0
 A lot of folks got into World Cup racing because Red Bull made it accessible (free) to watch (DH and XC). If world cup racing ends up behind a pay wall the sport will no longer grow. Sure a good percentage of current fans will gather to watch races, but newbies will not get the opportunity to get sucked into being loyal followers.
  • 2 2
 ...and if EWS coverage improves slightly and is not behind a pay wall, this could be the demise of DH racing.......
  • 8 1
 I hope is redbull starts there own dh race championship. Without the uci. I see bigger prizes and non bike companies sponsoring teams. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$
  • 5 0
 I think this is a much a much sadder day for MTBing than we realise. I'm a dirt bike person; I live breathe and work in it and have watched with envy, the level of production and high quality that Red Bull have brought to MTB in the last decade. From the Media House films (Where the Trail Ends is still a favourite), to the UCI coverage and Rampage. The UCI Coverage really isn't perfect, but it's a whole lot better than it could be.

The biggest things in dirt bikes are MX World champs, the Enduro world champs and Dakar. Eurosport currently airs the coverage of all three and honestly, every, single minute is shit. Like, utter garbage, run of the mill TV. Not enough cameras, janky, barebones production, single commentator shit.

Discovery haven't touched that coverage with their brush and I'll hold judgement till they do but mountain biking is a really long way ahead of where the industry thinks it is. We look at it with envy, trust me.
  • 11 3
 Kind of a tasteless title considering the current events, PB.
  • 5 2
 Even without the current situation, the title is imaginary click bait trash
  • 4 0
 Ugh, as things unfolded last night I regretted this title. Wasn't my intention to draw any parallels. MTB seems pretty insignificant at the moment. Sorry.
  • 4 0
 Considering Discovery now own the rights to the EWS, and XC, DH as of next year, looking at their current road racing model with the GCN+ app/subscription service, I would hazard a very good guess at a GMBN+ subscription service being on the horizon.
  • 4 0
 Just read an article how due to inflation rates people actively cutting their subscriptions down and how companies such as Netflix, Amazon prime, Disney plus are seeing massive revenue losses and slow down in growth. Truly hope there will be at least a choice of free access with adds.
  • 5 0
 Very depressing. RedBull coverage of DH and XC is excellent and essentially commercial free. Discovery is going to be filled with commercial breaks for all kinds of garbage realty shows I'm afraid.
  • 4 0
 Freecaster did a great job, Red Bull picked it up and took on to a great level. No complaints on their free coverage over many years, it was of great value. If I have to subscribe to Discovery I wont bother, Ill watch youtube highlight reels instead...like most of us.
  • 5 0
 If Coca-Cola approached marketing in the same way that Red Bull does, the world would be a much better place (not just Monster, which is still hardly comparable).
  • 8 0
 Year of the Paywall
  • 3 0
 "Insurance and prizing that's out of sync with risk factors." - am I missing something here? I thought only the broadcast rights were bought by discovery. I didn't think that event insurance or prize money was the responsibility of the broadcast company. That's the job of the promoters and organizers, not the broadcasters.
  • 3 0
 Yeah seems like they're mixing up the WC critiques with the Rampage critiques.
  • 6 0
 a subscription model??
(8X) DH World Cups
(9X) XC World Cups

not a lot of content!!
  • 3 0
 Exactly. There's no way I'm paying for a full subscription just to watch the races.
  • 1 0
 I'm guessing it goes in with the GCN race pass subscription or something.
  • 3 0
 I don't know anything about the business model and maybe this does happen but if we are paying a subscription fee and Discovery is also selling advertising shouldn't some of that money go to the teams/riders? There's much more money involved in Premier League football but I am pretty sure that a lot of the money from the TV companies for hosting rights gets shared amongst the teams. What happens to the money Discovery will pay to the UCI, do they just keep it or is it shared out?
  • 1 0
 @GrandMasterOrge: Ah ok, so the premier league is owned by the clubs. I'm curious to know how the UCI spends the TV rights licence money.
  • 3 0
 @justanothermatt: Cocaine and hookers.
  • 6 3
 This was a good read, and I’m glad Pinkbike are rooting for the success of a competitor also looking to push the sport we all love forward. There’s room for everyone!

Side note, eurosport coverage of road cycling is superb, I’m sure they’ll nail it
  • 3 0
 What a shame. I just can't see how this move can attract more viewers. It would be interesting to know what was the main audience of Redbull TV. In my opinion, mainstream media would need to revolutionise itself entirely, to appeal to younger audience and for it to be nearly as engaging as the current DH world cup coverage.
  • 3 0
 Redbulls production/coverage was the best I have ever seen on the UCI. I honestly found they made XC more entertaining to watch than the DH? Both were amazing, though. My only criticism of Redbull is that their athlete profiles seem to favour their athletes, but what can you expect.
  • 5 0
 Did they really favor their own athletes? Or did those athletes get the coverage because they deserved it?

Red bull happens to sponsor many of the top riders, so it makes sense that their athletes get slot of the coverage. I never noticed any bias. I never sensed that anyone deserving of more coverage was overlooked because they had a different sponsor. Just look at the riders sponsored by monster for instance. Thibault Daprela, Loris, Amaury Pierron, Danny Hart, Brosnan, Sam Hill, Steve Peat, etc. these riders were overlooked on the Redbull broadcasts?
  • 6 1
 Will Rob Warner be commentating? The answer will determine the future of mountain biking.
  • 2 0
 I was cautiously excited when Red Bull took over Freecaster. I had trouble accessing the races on Freecaster sometimes, and RedBull was pretty reliable. I just wish World Champs wasn't geo restricted! I want to watch Greg Minaar win, but even after a few weeks it's still geo blocked for U.S. viewers. Overall I'm happy with Red Bull's coverage. PLEASE KEEP ROB WARNER IN THE COMMENTARY BOX! Elliot Jackson did well too. I hope that part doesn't change. My concern is that I'll have to pay for a full subscription just to watch the races. I don't want to watch anything else. I already have a few streaming subscriptions and don't need another one. Every family member has one to share. I'll have to bring in more friends to distribute the services. Overall, I'll hold off on judgement until we're a few races in. Then we'll know. I love Red Bull for what they do for action sports and events, but I dislike the product. Energy drinks are ridiculous. Maybe coffee is an energy drink, but I've switched to mushroom chai tea.
  • 5 0
 First question - WHY does the UCI need to make money off of MTB ? I thought they were an organizing party? WTF is this?
  • 3 0
 Hopefully DH doesn't go down the gurgler like SuperCross and Motocross which are damn near impossible to watch unless you're a computer hacker or a millionaire who can afford a computer hacker.....
  • 5 0
 Red bull made modern televised MTB racing work, a lot harder than road racing coverage to do.
  • 3 0
 I won't watch discovery after the aerial photographer claimed he witnessed me murdering an elderly couple and got a bunch of psychos sending me and my wife death threats. Yes, thats a true story.
  • 2 0
 @RedBull Hardine Worls Series in 2023......
Less people watching uci DH an XC WC
sponsors (€£¥) leave ....
MTB looses popularity (maybe for ebikes)
This, with the popularity and how easy it is to be an "influencer" gives rise to new wave of Freeeide popularity
Awesome for the shredders
Bad for the junkie racers
Win Win
  • 2 0
 How is this a "proxy war"? Isn't that when a powerful party uses another party (a state or company) as a puppet for its own fight, but does not itself become involved? Seems like Red Bull and Discovery just competing for business like any two competitive companies do.
  • 4 0
 "Amicus meus, inimicus inimici mei"

Be careful who you choose as “friends”.
  • 5 0
 "Again please take this with a huge grain of salt"

Done.
  • 1 0
 If it becomes PPV / subscription based, I'm ok with that IF the content is absolutely flawless. My expectation levels will be way higher than now. BTW, Discovery/Eurosport is also merging with BT Sports (another premium sports service).
  • 3 2
 Could this mean an end to Red Bull sponsored riders? I.e. not Thier platform to broadcast anymore so pull out of the rider sponsorship? I guess you still saw Monster sponsored riders on Red Bull tv, so long as they were in the protected group.

I've used Eurosport player a number of times. You can pay for individual months so was useful for the road bike grand tours, but then that is 4/5 hours of riding each day for three weeks, not 3 hours once a month. Yes there was adverts too
  • 4 0
 "This shouldn't be read as an objective take by a neutral third party."
Pick a side and be a dick about it?
  • 6 1
 Watching it for free was great I didn't drink redbull!
  • 1 0
 Wait are you telling me the UCI is going to screw over people? I am sure they will properly drug test the Discovery people.

I bet the EWS folks are very excited about moving under the UCI umbrella now.

As much as I want to watch Minnar win again there is no way I am paying Discovery for the privilege.
  • 5 0
 Let's build a paywall and make _____ pay for it
  • 4 0
 It’s still going to be “Redbull Rampage” right? Discovery Rampage just sounds like shit
  • 3 0
 It sure wasn't UCI Rampage, so I'm sure they'll be fine. Unless RB sells that to Disney+.
  • 1 0
 its a redbull event just like how the uci owns worldcups. redbull would have to sell the event to stop it streaming. same goes with all other redbull events. don't quote me on this tho. feel free to let me know if you know better please
  • 2 0
 I love the RedBull broadcast, but I’m willing to give this a chance if it involves Rob Warner and Eliot Jackson. Without the two (long time and new) voices of the sport, this is going to be a hard sell for me…
  • 5 1
 Whaaat? How is "ethics of marketing energy drinks to action-sport audiences." Unethical exactly?!
  • 4 1
 Yea it’s dumb. People still for some reason think this stuff is any worse for your health than soda, beer, Starbucks, fast food, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc..
  • 3 2
 He just said that to try to strengthen his argument in favour of paid subscriptions.
  • 1 0
 If you had to pick the lesser of two evils, what would it be? Discovery has a division/department that covers sports. GMBN/GCN/Eurosports/Golf Channel. You could look at it as building their sports networks. Redbull doesn't have the distribution Discovery does but it's probably more in line with how people watch today anyway. Plus, RedBull is probably more in touch with their audiences than Discovery.

I feel like Discovery has generally screwed audiences by pulling popular programs into some new $5 a month category and for the one or two things you want to watch, that's not worth it.

I'd prefer RB stay in charge.
  • 1 0
 My only issue with this change in hats is the question of what is the likely status of all the various individual YouTuber 'broadcasters' that we often rely on (both here on PB but also out in the real world) to provide in-depth content on DH and XC World Cup events. Let's face it...where would Ben Cathro be if the Red Bull deal had meant he couldn't video blog from trackside over the past few years. And does this new Discovery deal still allow others (even at the scale of the new PB team) to do the same? Or is it all... behind the paywall?
  • 1 0
 i love watching moto so happily pay the Supercross Live annual subscription and for 17 weekends I love sitting down with a beer and watching the AMA Supercross. I love watching the DH and XC world cups so I'll happily pay a subscription fee to watch it. I wonder if Discovery will indeed go subscription, would they share some of that revenue with teams? That would be a great way to help teams and riders out, plus it might encourage more people to subscribe if they know some of that is going to the riders.
  • 2 0
 I try not to fear change and I hope its successful for the sake of a sport I love.... however if thy hide it behind a pay wall. They can burn in hell and I hope they fall on their face.
  • 1 0
 I think this part of the article is interesting: "Discovery is, in a sense, a competitor to Pinkbike/Beta/Outside, but for the sake of the sport, I’m rooting for them on this."

It seems from the outside looking in that if Discovery do a good job and make downhill racing more popular and bring people in it can only be good for Pinkbike/Beta/Outside. A rising tide raises all ships and all that, what is offered by the Outside umbrella companies is different from what Discovery have bought the rights to but is aided by there being a bigger market of DH riders and fans. The only way I could see this negatively impacting outside, from my layman's position, would be if Outside intended to buy broadcast rights for DH world cups and Discovery makes them so popular that the price becomes unattainable.
  • 1 0
 My other sport of interest is Formula 1 racing, which is a niche sport in the US. the races are broadcast live, so coming from other parts of the world can mean some odd hours.
I can watch F1 for "free" assuming I have ESPN. I assume with discover, we will get an edited broadcast shown in more favorable hours. That will likely leaving me wanting for RedBull coverage.

If we are lucky, They will choose the F1TV model, and have a live stream, and access to prior events on demand. I pay about $100 USD a year for this service, and I'd happily pay that for good coverage of MTB races.
  • 1 0
 As a very early subscriber to Beta I've been pretty happy to pay for their content, but now to see things like a blurb of an article being called a "Deep dive" and by a Pinkbike contributor . . .
It really is the beginning of the end.
Rest in peace Beta.
  • 1 0
 We have long worked with World Cup teams and athletes across the world in addition to seeing and working with other global TV and rights deals across the wider sports industry.

One of the major issues that the UCI has neglected is that other than 3 minutes of your rider on a live stream, the teams themselves get very little from the TV and Broadcasting rights deals. The numbers, visibility, hospitality are simply not enough to drive any meaningful sponsorship. Additionally the TV rights deals themselves look to limit the ability of the riders and teams to leverage their own content.

Other sports like Football and F1 for example give the teams a cut of the broadcasting rights deals for exclusive on track/pitch rights to media and to ensure that the teams are financed appropriately to develop the talent that is needed to for the sport to progress.

Until such a time as the riders and teams are actually seeing a cash benefit form the TV deals directly the sport will not be able to develop at the rate it has the potential to do. Multi media deals that look to control the media narrative without investing in the talent itself will always see diminishing returns. This is the major downfall of the UCI and World Cup racing - without the teams they do not have a sport.
  • 1 0
 Anyone mentioning how Red Bull changed the kind of wc tracks? They pushed on having tracks all with the same layout: flow drop high speed at top and bottom, a short technical middle parte on wich the race Is decided.
The biggest change made by Red bull was about the tracks, this is their Major fault, I think they've ruined the essence of this sport.
The broadcast wasn't so bad imho.
  • 1 0
 Bottom line non of any media company/ producer care about us the readers / viewers.
All they care is the income generated by us exposiored to their production.

It’s alway starts as free new way to get info and as soon they feel we are hooked they Chang policy. Including you pink bike
  • 4 0
 What are they going to replace RB signs with? Bid D ?
  • 7 0
 "Tune in for more girthy coverage, right here on the D"
  • 2 2
 Who knows, it could be good coverage by Discovery. I just think it would have been good to pick up the EWS coverage as well because that is the discipline that is lacking coverage the most. However, EWS is the most difficult race to cover logistically.
  • 6 0
 Discovery already cover the EWS. Badly, from what I've read.
  • 2 2
 @commental: Did not know that and haven't seen it. I guess we will see how it goes.
  • 4 0
 As @commental says, it's Discovery who already do the EWS coverage.
  • 1 0
 @commental: they do. EWS used to be covered by pinkbike and now its covered by GMBN which is owned by discovery. That is all that I know that they cover. Maby if ews had a pro stage on a single day like DH it would be easier to cover live and then they just do a bit of coverage on the other days??
  • 3 0
 Going to do what I've always done -- ride my bike. Really doesn't matter what happens beyond that.
  • 3 0
 "..mountain bike racing hasn't been a huge moneymaker for the UCI.."

Somebody said the quiet part out loud.
  • 1 0
 Could go the way of the GCN racing platform? Link in with Eurosport since they are under the same umbrella. A free to watch service which you can switch to subscription based to unlock extra features/no commercial breaks?
  • 9 4
 discovery = trash
  • 3 0
 is the same Discovery as Discovery channel? If so, I agree
  • 2 0
 Maybe they even discover that people would like to see at least some good footage of junior racing.
And guys from Discovery: no Rob, no downhill event. Just to be clear.
  • 4 0
 Wonder if Red Bull starts their own series
  • 2 0
 Hopefully this means more UCI World Cup mountain bike races in the US or A. Discovery is All American while Red Bull is Austrian.
  • 3 0
 Still amazes me that these mega companies are based on absolute shite products.
  • 1 1
 Oh no, now how will we watch long-form events from our beloved UCI?
We may have to wait a few minutes for someone to post a gif of the winning runs or crashes somewhere.

I wonder what RBs budget was for UCI, and how many Rampages, Danny Mac videos, or Stevie Smith documentaries that equals.

I'll bet this works out for Discovery the way the Olympics did for NBC.
  • 2 1
 I’ve never had a RB or a Monster after a ride. Am I missing something? If I make ever make it to a podium please just hand me a cold beer! Please! Something hoppy coming in around 8% would be great!!
  • 1 1
 Me too, I can't bare the smell, let alone the taste of "energy" drinks
  • 2 1
 They likely arent drinking it after races. The teams get cans of Redbull (and other energy drinks) that are filled with water.
  • 3 0
 P.S does discovery have rehabilitation centers for injured athletes? RedBull is SO much more than selling energy drink
  • 1 1
 Here’s a thought that I haven’t seen anyone mention… are we sure that Discovery are going to show DHWC racing at all? They may have bought the package for the XC and just got DH as an extra.

For example, NBC has the rights to show all formats of the world champs in the USA. They buy it all from the UCI as a package and then they only show road and a little XC and don’t air the downhill races at all. So you can’t watch it in the USA, not even with a subscription to their streaming service, Peacock. It’s disgusting. Clearly the UCI doesn’t care about viewers in the USA (or many other countries which have a similar problem), they just want the money.
  • 3 4
 $6.99 US for Discovery+ commercial free plan. If this coverage is rolled into that package (seems logical), they have just increased the potential audience pool exponentially more than they lose by charging die hard DH fans (how many of us are there?) that $7. And those casual watchers might stumble on it and become fans or even get into mtn biking, while no one ditching watching the DH events will stop riding. Unless they really do something horribly wrong, this will bring revenue to the sport. That should translate to better products, more sponsorship money for the athletes, and an overall more robust mtn biking community.
  • 9 0
 That only works if you assume Red Bull were hopeless at informing the public their coverage was available and free.

Still investing in a product that's currently freely available, putting it behind a paywall, and hoping to increase revenue has been done before, right? Wink
  • 1 0
 "Don't you move from that couch" (in Aussie accent)
  • 3 0
 @HankHank: it's worked fantastically well for F1...
  • 2 0
 @HankHank: and it’s assuming that red bull wasn’t already putting money into the sport. But clearly they were. A lot of money. So how can we be sure that this new model is going to put more money in? It could result in less for all we know.
  • 3 4
 This sounds very positive for downhill to me. Discover through Eurosport is the largest distributor of Olympic coverage and World Cup Soccer in the world. GCN and GMBN are Discovery products so the they cycling in their system already. With the Discovery-Warner Media merger they have the ability to distribute cycling coverage like has never been done before. You may have to subscribe to HBO/Discover+ to watch it though so more paywall.
  • 4 1
 I, for one, welcome our new Discovery overlords
  • 4 0
 Bring back Grundig.
  • 2 1
 I would think that Discovery would bundle this content within their existing GCN+ streaming service. A one year subscription currently costs $60 USD.
  • 3 0
 just waiting for my Discovery Helmet!!!!!
  • 4 2
 this was a really good article pinkbike. I strongly enjoyed it and I too am hoping for success from discovery
  • 2 0
 Who likes the UCI controling DH anyway - Red bull Rampage, Red bull Hardline, Red bull DH and XC.
  • 2 0
 Are we going to be doing it like they do on the discovery channel?

Link for context.

youtu.be/xat1GVnl8-k
  • 5 2
 Discovery Bull?
  • 5 1
 With Bear Grylls as the main commentard.
  • 4 0
 @southoftheborder: with Grylls setting random traps along the track.
  • 6 0
 @ODubhslaine: and do a annual Shark Week, riders send it over a massive shark tank for the glory - sharkage 2023
  • 5 0
 @southoftheborder: Instead of energy drinks we'll be drinking our own piss.
  • 2 1
 Props to PB for reporting this issue and the disclosure. Hopefully more of this!!
  • 3 5
 Unpopular opinion, I think this could work out better eventually for MTB events. Better footage, bigger prize money for athletes who risk their lives. Yes, it likely won't be free to watch but I get discovery sort cheap through Amazon prime. If another big sponsor doesn't come in, how long could it last ‍♂️ I'm going to stay positive.
  • 2 1
 Again, here’s this assumption that, because Discovery will make more money, they’ll put more money back in to the coverage, the teams, etc. Why would they? They’re in it for profit, not the athletes. I don’t see them sponsoring athletes now. I don’t see them sponsoring any events now. Red Bull sponsors small local races all over the place.

And there’s a second assumption that Red Bull’s coverage was bad so things should get better. I think we are quickly going to realise that wasn’t the case and that they were doing a pretty damned good job.

I’m not bitter about the loss of free, ad-free viewing but it was a beautiful thing while it lasted. I’ll pay a little to subscribe if I have to and the coverage is worth it. But I’m certainly not expecting this to be a beneficial change for the sport or the viewer.
  • 1 1
 @b-boyben: Redbull also made a lot of money from it. They didn't really show it for free. The amount of advertising and exposure involved was huge. They were in it for money as well.

I am going to stay positive. THese comments were filled with people slating the redbull coverage and saying its bad. Same people now saying its a shame redbull are going? People are fickle
  • 1 0
 @endorium: Of course they are in for the money, but it's a different model. Red Bull aren't making money directly, their model is about maximum exposure and brand recognition in order to sell a different product - energy drinks. It's in their interest to spread interest and grow the sport and maximise their advertising. Discovery's model is about selling the sport directly through a closed paywall. They are going to be banking on there being enough really dedicated people out there who will pay that fee. If you're only looking at the bean count, there's no reason for them to pump money back into the system by sponsoring anything as they've nothing to gain by promoting themselves as a part of it. Call me a skeptic, but it just looks like they want to suck money out of it.

p.s. fickle yes! I've said in other posts... Red Bull's coverage has been really pretty good. The grass is always greener!
  • 1 3
 This shouldn't be read as an objective take by a neutral third party. um, known otherwise as....here's what one side in this fight has to say. any mediator worth their salt will ignore the plantiffs and prosecutors opening arguments, as they are just flowery drivel about what they want you to believe.
  • 3 3
 At least we won't have to listen to Lauren Smith pretend she knows what's happening anymore, a positive out of a negative, I guess.
  • 1 0
 I'm still confused. So all the UCI races will only be accessible from the Discovery platform?
  • 1 0
 Maybe Discovery will run a promo: Free Red Bull with purchase of subscription
  • 2 0
 This is the plot to the Wayne's World movie.
  • 2 0
 Thank you Redbull, I'll miss the shows
  • 1 0
 I just wanna know where am I gonna be able to watch this now?
  • 1 0
 I mean wtf is discovery I live in South Florida!!
  • 1 0
 But will the bikes get cheaper or more expensive?
  • 2 1
 I will greatly miss rob Warner commentary that man is god
  • 2 1
 Cant wait to pay for Discovery Hardline!
  • 3 2
 Red Bull's coverage is the best. Discovery go home.
  • 1 0
 They're Keeping Rod Warner, right?
  • 1 0
 This happened to skateboarding, climbing and skiing too.
  • 1 0
 Bye Red Bull - You'll be missed ☹️
  • 1 0
 F Discovery and I will not give them a single penny.
  • 1 0
 I could never get used to "discovery rampage"
  • 1 0
 Can't wait for the discovery sensor helmets
  • 6 6
 PB blocking comments now. The paywall is coming.
  • 5 0
 Why do you say that? Did you get blocked?
  • 2 2
 What a ridiculous title that isn’t founded in any sort of reality.
  • 2 2
 Pre-RedBull Rob Warner was the Best
  • 1 0
 *sponsor
  • 1 1
 Yuck
  • 1 1
 Bring back Freecaster!
  • 2 0
 How hazy some of our memories are. Sometimes the Freecaster stream didn't even work or cut out at a key moment in the race.
  • 1 4
 Lance Armstrong commentary.
Below threshold threads are hidden





Copyright © 2000 - 2022. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.028259
Mobile Version of Website