Video: Wyn Masters Speaks to Yoann Barelli on Sponsorship and Salaries in Pro MTB

Jul 8, 2020
by Wyn Masters  

It was great to have Yoann Barelli on for Ep. 8 of the Wyn or Lose Podcast, here is an excerpt from our chat there, in which we discuss the current sponsorship model in pro MTB and also the salary imbalances within the sport currently, and also Yoann shows his neighborhood bear next to his house.

You can find the full podcast here on Apple or Spotify

Wyn or Lose podcast logo



175 Comments

  • 68 1
 Sponsorship operates on a perceived value basis. The aim from the business is to sell product and promote their image. A brand that cant afford the top level racers for visibility are more likely to turn to influencers. If wannabee racers are chapped that no-one sees value in sponsoring their hobby then that is their issue. I cant see a brand with money overlooking a real talent, and these days having no social media presence is like ignoring free advertising.
  • 3 1
 Spot on.
  • 11 27
flag endlessblockades (Jul 8, 2020 at 8:42) (Below Threshold)
 @Bustacrimes: That's all well and good, but I'd like to ask you if 'Chapped' is in widespread use in UK slang. In my neck of the woods, it came from an old cowboy movie line "that really chaps my hide" and is still active in certain isolated subcultural populations.
  • 17 1
 True. But even top level riders can make a huge difference in their own marketing and exposure and creating their own value.

For example, take Fabio Wibmer and Danny MacAskill. At the peak of the lockdown a few months ago, Danny was posting daily on Instagram about his antics on some soggy pallets in Duncan Shaw's driveway. Next level stuff none the less. Those video's had an average of around and about 50.000 views, not bad...

However, Fabio Wibmer released "Home Office" around that same period. People who didn't even ride were sending me that video and posting it up on their FB page. Result: That video has now around 10 million views.
  • 8 0
 @endlessblockades: I work for a US company - Santa Cruz based. My boss has made it his mission to correct my grammar. "Chapped" works in the UK and people get it - however "Taint" seems to remain exclusively US in everday language? "Two Nations, divided by a common language" Wink
  • 6 1
 @Bustacrimes: That is incredible. I lived in Santa Cruz in the 80's and that is where 'Chapped' entered my language. We used to include the ..'my hide' part, but eventually dropped that. Wonder if Stoked!' came over the same way to the UK. That term is full-on 70s California surfer/skater lingo along with a lot of stuff you hear in the MTB world these days - rad, schralp, shred, ripper, fastplant, etc..... 'That really chaps my taint' seems the logical progression......ouch. How old is your boss?
  • 9 24
flag chyu (Jul 8, 2020 at 9:50) (Below Threshold)
 Find pretty girls who ride mountain bikes. Make them wear tight fitting tank tops with baggy pants.
  • 2 0
 @endlessblockades: never heard it,ever!
  • 2 0
 @Bustacrimes: taint, non UK?? Hardly..Boris Johnson view on the crisis has been tainted by his illness...
  • 4 0
 @endlessblockades: I've never heard chapped used thusly. Rad, shred, ripper are fairly common from aficionados of "extreme" sports.
  • 5 0
 @Bustacrimes: T'aint yer @ss, T'aint yer b@lls - it's the area in between.

Also known as the Perineum
  • 27 7
 Its still a shit decision. Social media influencers are a cancer on this sport. Great idea, kill racing and freeride careers that progress the sport in order to support gapers that create a 15 minute video about hitting a 6ft drop with shitty techno music and a click-bait title like, "THE MOST DEADLY DROP I'VE EVER HIT!"
  • 3 1
 Fabio is a genius in terms of marketing he even has his own clothes brand @NinetySixBikes:
  • 2 0
 @enduroNZ: Yup, he's a clever business man with a keen nose for marketing.
Not a huge fan of the whole commercialization thing he's got going on there, but it's understandeble. Pro riders only have a limited window of time to make a name for themselves and create some financial buffer.
  • 6 6
 @chyu: you pointed out a serious problem with using social media to gain sponsorship by getting 10 downvotes: you have to be sorry for everything, woke, not offend anyone or have a sense of humor that is anything but what Nancy boys approve of.
  • 1 1
 The competition leagues they should cover and regulate the 20 top riders at least
  • 1 0
 @PauRexs: what do you mean "regulate? Regulate what?
  • 1 1
 @bman33: I mean to set up minimum salaries according to riders ranks, like in other sports is done.
  • 3 0
 @endlessblockades: He´s old, like me, so mid forties. Wink He moved from Chicago when he was 19-20 to follow the dream of surfing and riding in Santa Cruz. Says he wont leave - but also cant afford to stay, its going the same way as Carmel Wink I have missed the opportunity to visit this year.

The crossover between sports and language is no surprise - if you add in the adaption by snowboarding you can see how early on these fringe sports were often the same people doing things in tune with the seasons. The language followed them.

We have a word in England, Francophile. Its for people who are fond of or admire the French. We dont have the equivalent word for America, but i grew up watching US tv, listening to US music, and imitating US athletes. While you guys have a few things to deal with internally, your legacy in advancing western sports and culture is undeniable. Vive la difference Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @PauRexs: Unrealistic, especially in MTB. The MTB market and scene is fractional compared to major pro sports such as Football/Soccer, Baseball in the US, etc. Regulating in such fashion would only reduce the racers/ racing team dramatically.
  • 2 1
 @Bustacrimes: Aye, For Better of for Worse, like marriage. Right now, the world is Worse as he US contribution is a load of embarrassing and dangerously misguided BS. I grew up on Monty Python, Upstairs Downstairs, Masterpiece Theater and whatever else Alistair was presenting and Fawlty Towers of course.Thanks, Anglophile mom and dad, but is was way better than much of the US stuff .I graduated from Carmel High School, so I'm gonna take some credit for #Chapped making it to the UK! I'm even older, so he probably got to Santa Cruz after I moved on the SF in 1986.

Small-@ss world.

I'll be down in the DVs shortly. #FDT

"Pick For Britain"
  • 59 0
 Love or hate social media, I'm not sure you can blame brands for wanting to sponsor riders who have the greatest exposure to the bike purchasing public? This has always been the case, has it not? Sponsorship is a symbiotic relationship between the individual and the brand, where upon the brand helps the individual achieve as much as they can in return for increased exposure and brand awareness. If a company can achieve that awareness without the inherent expense of racing, why would they not explore that avenue?

Yes, that sucks for individuals who want to focus on racing and nothing else, but has anything actually changed? Pre-social media, sponsored racers were always expected to do more than race, with video segments and magazine covers the aim. However, these avenues of exposure had gatekeepers in publishers and editors, and so the same 10 mtb faces would appear over and over again. And let's be honest, those faces weren't always the best racers. The early freeriders like Tippie and Wade, and even the two Martins in the UK, were not winning competitions; brands were just able to market their balls of steel to get pre-internet "clicks" from the public.

So surely the argument can be made that nowadays social media has essentially democratized sponsorship? Now there are fewer gatekeepers. You can put yourself in front people with no help from a sponsor and without relying on a magazine editor to dig what you're doing. You can create your own brand, just like the Martins, and achieve a modicum of success as a result. Does that seem unfair to those riders who are social media averse? Perhaps. But MTB sponsorship has never been a purely race driven racket, and to think otherwise is a little rose-tinted, in my opinion.
  • 20 1
 It seems like IBIS is really making an attempt to sponsor all of the "professional" MTB Youtubers. Off the top of my head, BKXC, Loam Ranger, Jeff Kendall-Weed, etc. It is a pretty smart strategy TBH. They give $10k (or something) and a free bike to a Youtuber, who in turns features their bikes in every video.
  • 10 0
 @HB208: Agreed, Ibis has a good marketing strategy in this regard.
  • 13 0
 I agree. Especially if you look at youtubers like Skills with Phil, Remy Metailler who are able to make a living in the industry doing what they enjoy more than racing. I would even argue they provide more value to companies aswell as consumers. Also it enables completely new players to enter and influence the industry. Like Seths Bike Hacks, who is way more relatable than world cup racers without even being an ex-pro.
  • 17 2
 @HB208: Yes, and let's be honest, I love watching races for the competitive aspect, but watching the Youtubers you mention is actually more interesting (at least some of the time) as they tell stories that relate to a far higher percentage of riders than the super human racers. Yes, Val de Sol and Champery look awesome, but presenting different red and black trails from across the world displays a reality that most mountain bikers can envisage and comprehend. Thus, if I'm a bike brand, having a Youtube famous rider ride one of my best selling bikes on trails that the vast majority of riders ride every weekend is of far greater value than putting my low selling downhill sled on a stunt course that only 1% of my target demographic can ride.

I love watching Rampage, but I couldn't tell you the bike brand that has won it for the past five years. Whereas I know an Orbea Rallon can crush Top of the World at Whistler, and an Ibis Ripmo is awesome in the Pacific NW, even when piloted by mere mortal riders like me.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: and, importantly for Youtubers, they can ride other brands bikes as well. It’s a really cool program
  • 16 1
 I know I am something of an oddity these days, but I don't do social media. My wife does a tiny little bit. We do have something like ten bikes between us, so we are definitely part of the bike purchasing public. Yoann is one of a handful of content producers and the only mtb one we regularly spend time watching on YouTube. We do follow the gravity competition side of the sport avidly, and how companies choose to express their brand via how they run their teams and look after (or not) their riders has by far the most significant impact on our brand awareness and perception.

I don't know for sure, but I sure do hope, that people like us are common enough that equating social media following directly to brand exposure to the bike buying public still carries a margin of error large enough to be of interest to bike company earnings.
  • 15 0
 Does anybody actually 'love' social media? Even all these riders and/or many influencers that leverage it's use, I'd guess, probably can't stand it and look at it as a necessary evil. There are of course exceptions, those vain folks that simply love attention, but it's probably more like a drug to them that something they enjoy. It's not like the druggies on the street 'love' drugs, many of them hate it. Can you imagine if social media went down for a week, all these influencer types that get massive attention online, WTF would they do with themselves?

100% hear what you are saying but I do see it as a massive thorn in society moving forward and unfortunate that folks that don't wanna go down that rabbit hole are kinda forced too. Not so much for the older folks that may have known a time before social media, but for the young kids coming up, looking forward to having to 'market' yourself in highly controlled / edited / cultivated environment, to me, would SUCK. Drawing the line of doing it for the 'gram vs loving what you are doing gets blurred, particularly when paychecks are at stake...IMO.
  • 6 2
 @spoochypants: Stay away its not worth it. You are a dying breed.
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I don't think its much different than any other type of branding/advertising. These days its all about social media. but in the past it was the same just a different medium. Years ago it was getting in magazines, or getting pictures on website, or video parts, etc. I mean before social media I'm sure most athletes would rather just ride or surf, or whatever it is that they do without having to worry about the stickers on their or bike being visible, or making sure they are riding or surging at the spot where the most photographers are, etc. Back then alot of it was out of their control. At least with social media the athletes can take it into their own hands and build their own following. They don't have to rely in others or be in certain places.
  • 3 1
 @swansejack22: The other thing with the YouTubers is constant audience engagement, as they are producing longer format (say 10-15min) well edited videos on a regular schedule 1-2 times a week never missing posts. The content is relatable to middle age dads who are the ones buying $5-10k bikes.

I'm a huge downhill fan and follow a lot of racers, but I'm sorry a mid-pack WCDH racer (or even worse EWS) with a small social media presence does not bring much value to a brand unless they are an up and comer. The sport is too fringe for them to matter to brands and they are likely more expensive to sponsor due to travel budgets and parts needs. YouTubers need a bike and some sponsorship money and then they usually work with travel destinations, have other sponsors, Patreon etc. to fund their program.
  • 4 0
 @sino428: I hear what you are saying and there is no right or wrong answer....but back in the 'day', which really wasn't that long ago, if I wanted to see a pro rider or the latest bike or board I had to work for it, drive hours away and go watch an event in person and be part of it and experience it....or wait a few weeks for a magazine...or wait a year for a video, the instant gratification wasn't there unless you worked for it.

Folks are pretty much forced too these days if they need to market themselves since if they didn't, somebody else would....puts a lot more on the plate of the athletes, or they need to hire a PR firm to do it for them....which a LOT of the social media folks do, including pro-photographers, editors, etc.

Too much BS for me...
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Fair enough, but I'd question how "having to 'market' yourself in highly controlled / edited / cultivated environment" is any different to featuring in a photo shoot for MBUK, or filming a video segment for NWD or Sprung. Sponsored riders have always had to market themselves using more than just their pure riding ability, the only thing that has changed is that now the rider has more control over that branding. There are very few professional jobs where a single strength in your skillset is enough to see you succeed, and being a professional mountain biker is just one more example of this.
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Right, by back in the day I mean just the last 10-20 years. But I think some of what you are talking about was always there. The idea that these guys are now forced to do things or someone else will has always been a part of this. It may be more instantaneous now like you point out, but the same dynamics were always in play. Athletes in sponsor driven sports have always had to hustle to get their exposure. I think the idea of athletes doing it themselves likely has both positive and negatives to it. Like you said its alot for the athletes to handle themselves, but at the same time they are in complete control of their own social media presence.
  • 10 0
 @swansejack22: I think the difference is it's not immediately consumed and there aren't XXXXXX followers waiting for you to post something everyday or else lose their interest. I can't imagine feeling the pressure to constantly produce on top of training and top of riding. Going and riding with photographers, to your point, is somewhat the same....but you just ride, leave it up to the pros to figure out how to make it look good, publish and figure out if they wanna keep taking photos. You lose control.....but it's not always a bad thing!

I was part of a new company 10 years ago, being one of the lead guys and focusing on the core job + marketing, hiring, accounting, dealing with issues was horrible. Riding for a living, recovering, eating right, learning, being a mechanic, training is enough, it's a full time job....getting off 'work' then going home to have to weave your way through the social web and constantly push has got to be exhausting and to my original point, a necessary evil more than something anybody enjoys....we all try to fit so much #&*@ into our lives these days, I'm not convinced any of us are better off for it, one single bit.

Your OP was great, I upvoted ya, just venting I guess Smile
  • 1 0
 @sino428: fair - I just think in the grand scheme of all this it's a necessary evil more than something anybody enjoys. All the skaters/riders/surfers pre-social media went out an just rode, there were a handful of media events that they had to take the time to do....but with the lines blurred between riding for fun and the constant pressure of producing for social media these days....it's gotta be hard!
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I agree definitely some downsides to it as well.
  • 2 0
 @Xeddo: As much as I like seth bike hacks and enjoy his videos from time to time, I don't think him getting sponsorships make the mtb world any better. While Diamondback sponsoring a young Carson Storch or a new up and coming freerider or racer adds a ton of value to the mtb world.

I have no problem with Seth making money from his popularity. But perhaps it should be commision based as yoanne is suggesting.
  • 13 1
 @HB208: I can't be the only one that thinks all these youtube riders are really annoying to watch. Everything is "sick" and "rad" and they always qualify the start of their video with "I'm feeling a little off today because [insert excuse here, examples being injury, big ride yesterday, big travel day, broken bike part, new bike part]"
  • 2 1
 @kookseverywhere: Yup! I was almost embarrassed that one YT dude had the same bike I did, made me less happy to own it. So it swings both ways. Bike companies should consider the quality of the content a little more.
  • 2 0
 @HB208: IDK, for me, it makes me much less interested in looking at IBIS. However, it seems you can just let the IBIS do the work for you. Wink
  • 3 1
 @davec113: Yep totally, I have a ripmo and seeing my bike on these cringey youtube channels hurts my soul a little.
  • 2 0
 @davec113: I want the new Transition Sentinel, so I'm just the messenger haha.
  • 2 0
 @kookseverywhere: I agree - I find the skills videos that some channels post (specifically Kyle Warner) really helpful, but I have stopped watching drawn out "story" videos. I can just go ride. I do sometimes like BKXC's 50 State thing though - it is cool to see the trails in random states not really known for biking.
  • 1 0
 @HB208: except Jeff Kendall-Weed was actually a professional rider in the early 2000s and to like 2012
  • 2 1
 @gramboh: I dont know that a fringe mid pack rider carries that much value, but a winning racer sure does, especially in the DH space. Imo influencers probable sell more trail bikes, but racers sell DH bikes. Stupid middle aged dads.
  • 1 0
 @mgrantorser: don’t forget a mid pack wc or ews racer is still the fastest guy at his locals and can be a huge influence in that community
  • 36 0
 Watching Josh Brycelands Santa Cruz launch videos.. that made me want to buy a Bronson. Personally can't stand 'influencers' who don't have the background of a being a pro of some sort. At least its not as bad as the car industry 'influencers' dam they are so annoying! But this doesn't matter as its only an opinion.
  • 8 0
 No interest in watching somebody ride a trail at slow to moderate pace. Watching somebody smash a trail I've ridden is great.
  • 21 0
 For sure. I only watch pros or former pros Youtube/Insta feeds. Spending my time watching someone ride worse than me is a poor use of my time.
  • 16 1
 It surprises me how many people watch mediocre riders' channels. What do you get out of it?
  • 5 0
 Agreed, I think these companies don't realize it makes some folks a lot less likely to consider their bikes.
  • 3 1
 @lochussie: On occasion I will look for a video like that of a trail I want to ride. The pros make it look easy, so I look at some shmuck and see how they handle it.

But...I'm not following their channels. Also why I rarely put videos on my YT, who wants to watch my shitty riding?
  • 1 0
 @lochussie: content.

I personally don’t watch those type of Mtb channels. But I watch loads of amateurish informational YouTube videos. My favorite channels produce less often and have higher quality but there are loads that I watch cause it’s there. So after these guys watch Nate hills or into the gnar or Remi they are still looking for something to watch and that’s where the amateurs come in.
  • 18 3
 Some people think they're owed money for being the fastest. Huge respect for those fast racers, I can't do what they do. But contract negotiation, pitching yourself, attracting (and retaining) sponsors, providing value, and reaching the right audience is what sponsors pay for, not just being fast. It's not a right, it's a hustle, and the landscape is quickly changing.
  • 7 0
 Yea thats the big difference between sponsor driven sports and the mainstream pro sports. In those sports being the best generally means getting paid the most because overall, winning is what put people in the seats and drives team profits. No one really cares if a guy is a total dope if he hits 40 home runs or averages 30 points a game.
  • 3 1
 Thanks @hardtailparty for proving alongside a host of other non-racer "influencers" (sorry I hate to label you like that) that there is more to making some money off the bike industry besides working at a shop, coaching or racing. You've certainly found your niche! Now quick, review 10 more hardtails this week!
  • 1 0
 @sino428: - ya but its gold when they are both - Sidney Crosby is a fine example of that in Canada
  • 1 0
 @regdunlop: Of course it helps for a player to also be "marketable". That can surely bring them in more outside endorsement money but in terms of their actually player contracts its minimal at best. Its basically you perform you get paid.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: - not in Hockey- contracts aren’t guaranteed- you dont show up - you dont get paid.
You suck - you get traded or sent down to the minor leagues or “wavered” -
When players get drafted in the nhl now its as much about personality, how they were brought up , and attitude as much as performance and numbers. But now back to bikes
  • 5 0
 Which definitely sucks if you are massively talented, but also an introvert. No matter how good you are, you aren't marketable.
  • 14 0
 Yeah- I agree with a lot of the comments. The best race results don't always speak to the best return for companies. The industry doesn't have to provide anyone value but will generally reward those who provide their own value to companies. The industry revolves around businesses and is a business and that is where the value comes from. It's not a meritocracy where the fastest earns the most. I think of riders like Wyn, Yoann, Hopkins, McCaul etc. who do provide a broad value outside of the results. They are all unreal riders and that is some of the package they offer but not entirely. Some riders have done a great job of saying look how fast I am and now lets use these skills to develop product... like what Gwin has been trying to do with TRP, Kenda etc or Sternberg with Transition. You can't expect the world to give you money because you are good at something- you have to find a way to make those skills benefit the market. It's sad when you consider we have people who have dedicated their whole lives to things like teaching literacy to children and become amazing at it and scrape by at the poverty line. Then on the other hand you have some other douchebag youtube/TikTok kid who builds a social media following doing stupid pranks, flashing money around, and using shock clickbait but builds a following of millions and then earns millions from products realizing there is a benefit to borrowing that audience and influence. It's gross but it's the capitalist reality.
  • 11 1
 If there is going to be more money in racing EWS needs to figure out live coverage and how to expand the coverage that exist. A race will occur, I'll see the results, one five minute highlight video, and some still shots and thats it. Thats not a lot of exposure for the brands so its hard to see how that can translate to good value. Those guys are amazingly talented and running on awe inspiring courses but I dont really get to see that.
  • 6 0
 Wyn had a great point that a lot of brands still just focus on racers and aren't looking at social media. The landscape of marketing and racing is changing. Some companies are holding on to the old ways, and some are looking forward.

The influencers and YouTubers are able to track part of their impact with analytics. Racers, on the other hand, are struggling to find a way to track their influence (and even have influence). We're seeing a lot of racers dip their toes into YouTube, only to find it's not instant money, success, or views like they had thought. It takes a lot of work, hustle, and skill. It's just a different skillset than being the world's best racer.
  • 5 5
 Analytics is a double edged sword. Many of these youtube stars are paying for view bots, and when you dig deeper, most of their views come from countries like Bangladesh where there isnt really a developed mtb market... No matter who a brand sponsors (athlete vs influencer) its buyer beware
  • 8 1
 @bikeparkmemes: evidence of this?
  • 1 3
 @Canadmos: Ask to see their account analytics. You'll see it pretty easily...
  • 4 0
 @bikeparkmemes: why would they hand that information out? Did they give it to you?

Honest questions.
  • 11 1
 @Canadmos: I work in social media marketing. i audit all audiences for authentic followers. It's SOP for my business. A real audience that is built properly is super valuable. A fake audience with bots or low value followers is toxic and can have massive impacts on marketing. Most of mid tier MTB riders who have lots of followers have really poor audiences that have been created with bots. It should be noted that Instagram actually punishes poor accounts and only delivers their content to low ranking profiles. Instagram has tiers of value for each person on their platform. Only authentic accounts get authentic views.
  • 2 0
 @bikeparkmemes: this may be true for some, but as a full time athlete for 35 years, you can choose to pad your account with friends, problem is now my biggest earnings measured through hookit is through engagement, bots pad your account but they never like or comment ever again so you just kicked yourself in the nuts as now you have more followers with less engagement, so your losing. This is like any job, there is stuff you love and maybe stuff you dont love, you can complain about it, but it is always better to adapt and move one and learn. One of the best things to learn in any business, but especially if you are an athlete is to be adaptable, complaining about it, will never help you and this is moving at a quick rate so those who complain get left behind real fast! Sponsorship has not changed since I have been doing it since 1990, under promise and over deliver. It actually has gotten easier to earn a living, but you have to figure it out, and the last part is up to you!
  • 2 1
 @Canadmos: I have seen pitches from multiple youtubers to companies for sponsorship or money or whatever. Doesnt take long to see through any in-authenticity. @WJTSocal nailed it
  • 1 0
 @bikeparkmemes: I'm glad to hear people in marketing are looking at that. So many people just look at total subs. In a world where you can buy subs, buy thumbs-down for your competition, and buy likes, it's super important to us influencers for people to be able to separate that crap from people who have high engagement with their audiences. Thanks for taking those extra steps to dig deeper than a sub count.
  • 3 1
 @hardtailparty: lets break down Wyn an Yoann. Two of their best content pieces came out in the past year. Wyn was on Skils with Phil's Youtube. That follow cam down Whistler was hands down the best park riding recorded in a while. Next Yoann in Baja building a trail and riding it this spring. Both videos were simple, showed real riding and were enjoyable to watch. Phil's video has 1.4 million views. Yoann's 9k... Why? Keyword SEO on YouTube. Marketing... it's an art combined with science. Here's Yoann's video link. youtu.be/SA1ssN6Oiwk
  • 2 0
 @WJTSocal: agreed. SEO, YouTube's algorithm, catchy thumbnail, charismatic guy next door vibe, not to mention Phil's got 390k subs who click on every video he makes.
  • 10 3
 My thoughts are that If a pro rider/racer does not use social media in a professional way, then he is not doing his job propperly. It is part of the job
  • 3 1
 Should it not be the sponsors obligation to utilize an athletes image in marketing efforts? Why should sponsored athletes be on the clock 24/7 and be responsible for marketing their image/persona/brand when outside of the tape or not at events? When did social media become a mandatory aspect of riding a bike professionally?
  • 4 1
 @TerrapinBen: Why should sponsored athletes be on the clock 24/7 and be responsible for marketing their image/persona/brand when outside of the tape or not at events?

When the companies offering the contracts to sponsored athletes decided to make it part of said contracts.

> When did social media become a mandatory aspect of riding a bike professionally?

See contract referenced above.
  • 3 0
 It's a mixed bag:

One one hand, a professional athlete having to generate content and deal with social media constantly can/could be a distraction from racing and training.

On the other hand, the athlete be totally in charge of their own social media "brand" and build it to have a broader appeal than just their racing career (Yoann is a great example) So it allows them to have longevity beyond just where they stand on the podium and the fickle relationship with sponsors who value only race results.
  • 2 0
 I don't think it should be. It would give anyone a disadvantage who is not comfortable marketing him/herself. It's just doesn't come as easy for everyone.
  • 6 0
 @TerrapinBen: In relating to riding a bike professionally and social media.....As a professional artist(and a charity kind of brand I created) I understand I'm "supposed" to be creating content for my social media pages...I've spent time working daily on my Facebook and Instagram, even started producing videos for Youtube(instructional and lifestyle)..and opened a Patreon account.
When it comes down to the important aspect of actually producing the product I sell...eventually I had zero energy or desire to keep up with all these exterior avenues.
I update the socials when I have a new piece, but my videos have mostly stopped and my daily "tweakings" on IG have completely stopped---it creates mind rot!
If I had my way(and the extra cash), I'd hire someone to take over these accounts...it's said a good social media person will spend at least 35hrs. a week to make those things work. I'll pass on that...I have way more in my life I want to do other than stare at my phone, and like a bike racer...time is consumed training, riding, eating, resting. A person can't do it all...at least effectively. I'm sure some do, but I can only imagine how very limited their lifestyle is.
  • 2 0
 @tempest3070: Time for athletes to draft better contracts that release them from social media obligations! Also perhaps time for the world to unplug a little bit. You are not your social media account!
  • 2 0
 @TerrapinBen: I feel like you're looking at it backwards. It's not so much about Trek telling me to post post post, but rather that it's in my best interest to post post post. If I can gain a large social media following, say 1M followers, I can leverage that against Trek when I am structuring a contract. A rider with 1M followers is objectively worth way more than a rider with 50k. They simply have a broader audience to get in front of, and that's what Trek wants to pay for.
  • 2 0
 @Austin014: this is exactly what I meant. As a professional, you should be aware of this and use it at your favor, even if you want to just focus on racing, it is smart business wise
  • 3 0
 @Xeddo: Very true! I could easily become a great "ambassador" for art and my "lifestyle", but talking to a camera, taking pictures of myself and promoting myself every hour...staring at images of myself to curate the best brand and imagery..and then staring at the phone and do the follow/like/unfollow game and daily interactions...no thank you! I tried it and after 5 months I had more anxiety than ever in my life!
There's so much more to the social media game than just posting an image a day...you have to really want to be that kind of person(and in my experiences those are a certain kind of person that I'm not very comfortable being around---good sign of a girl you shouldn't date...look at her social media! ha ha)
  • 1 0
 @Austin014: I would argue it's in your best interest to do what you want within reason... Are you a sponsored cyclist? How do you know its not the sponsor contractually obligating the athlete to make X number of posts per week/day/month/contract? Would you rather develop the skills to ride your bike well or develop the skills to be a social media professional?
Social media is a false life - do not be fooled. Real life happens off screen!
  • 1 0
 @TerrapinBen: Oh you're right, those contracts absolutely exist. If that's not what an athlete wants to do, they don't have to sign that contract. My point is that it is unreasonable to skip out on social media and then expect to be appealing to brands. If you can pull it off then more power to you, but it's simply the best way to broaden your reach.
  • 1 0
 @maxnomas: Yes! It's sort of shocking how many people seem unwilling to acknowledge that sponsorship is sales. Brands are paying for reach, nothing more.
  • 5 0
 Is it not up to a company to maximize the advantage of having a pro racer under contract? Or what about agents? Do racers have agents? If not, why not? Would that not maximize their income?
  • 12 0
 There are very few riders with agents representing them in our sport maybe due to the fact there isn’t so much money to be made for the agents unlike many other pro sports
  • 1 1
 @wynmasters: So, isn't this an opportunity for an agent then? If they took a few high profile athletes in the industry that already have good exposure, then manage them to maximize that. That would create a ripple effect that would allow them to duplicate this with other athletes. Would this not be a good pitch for you to bring to those agents?
  • 4 0
 @rrolly: not enough viewership like baseball, soccer, etc
  • 2 0
 @rrolly: I think the few at the top would more likely have agents or someone representing them, but as things trickle down less and less. Probably there is room for more and hopefully it will come as the sport is definitely becoming more and more professional and growing in popularity and viewership (when the races are running)
  • 1 0
 @wynmasters: I think there's opportunity here while races are not. In sports, like most things, people are captured by story. Most people aren't going to watch a race unless they have a connection (love or hate) with the riders. Now is the time, while the athletes have more time as well, to create that content.
The athletes could get some content made that reinforces their online/racing persona, have the manufacturers send out the videos to all of those newbies that just bought mountain bikes. Things like that.
  • 1 0
 @wynmasters: And why aren't the athletes getting their racing kit replicas made and sold??? Almost every other mainstream sport does this. This makes money and it's advertising!
  • 2 0
 @rrolly: yeah of course, myself I’ve been busier now than when races are running like normal, filming videos building trails, getting this podcast going and getting the #notarace going too
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: on that one I’m really not sure why
  • 1 0
 @wynmasters: Maybe that's something you and Barelli can look into. Another revenue stream for everyone.
  • 5 1
 Tough gig being a mountain biker unless you're in the Top 5 in your discipline year after year. Lots of competition from mid-pack SM influencers. Very limited barrier to entry to become a Youtuber etc. Brands only have so much money for marketing. The pie is getting divided up into smaller and smaller pieces. Its likely easier to get a real job, buy your own bike, trips and entry fees. The pro rider injury factor is also very real. It could have serious long term consequences. Unless I was Olympic level, I'd rather be amatuer with a real job.
  • 3 1
 +1 ride for fun dont become a social media whore. How do these guys not get burnt out trying to find a new spot to do the same wheelie every wednesday? Rides are never just for fun, social media is goal #1. Always on the road, missing out on family/friends. Constantly in the gym, lots of up and comers ready to take your spot. Endless injuries and shit pay even in your prime, never mind when you start getting up in years.
Rich dad's wanting to live the lifestyle through their kids must be the only one's encouraging their kids to become pro, any sensible parent would warn against it.
  • 3 0
 Interesting chat as always @wynmasters and including Barelli into the mix with his experience and background is even more engaging. The salaries and differences between social media and racers is something that comes up a lot on forums and discussions. In Spain we have that issue too, some good riders that have a promising future with very good results but no social media presence or active profiles, get dismissed by brands but other persons without any race results but active social media profiles get bikes, apparel, components, etc. Is sad as some good riders stop competing as they don't have the resources to be able to go to all races, buy new bike, fix broken parts, etc, etc. And as for the last part talking about COVID and bike industry, I've seen the same in Spain and Ireland, bikeshops have run out of entry level bikes and second hand market prices are crazy. Hope this is for the good.
  • 9 6
 Would you rather give 10 riders with 20k followers a $10,000 bike ($100,000 total), or give 2 pro racers (also with 20k followers) a $50,000 contract? Unless you think the racers are 5x better at promoting your stuff, you go w the influencers. And tbh, I like following people closer to my skill level because the content is more relevant to my riding. So I might say racers are WORSE at promoting products because "they don't ride like I do."
  • 4 4
 I agree. I think there are people that follow the race scene and pros can appeal to them, but to be honest, the race scene does very little to me, so following a relatable rider who tells good stories and/or gives relevant reviews is far more interesting to me.
  • 20 2
 @jesse-effing-edwards: I'm the exact opposite, partially because paid reviews have little credibility. I care zero about the "new bike day clickbait". I'd rather just see people race.

But if I was making the calls during the meeting I'm throwing money at the influencers. Skills with phil is a perfect example, he hasn't put out a video worth watching in close to 2 years, yet still has rabid fans.
  • 2 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: but it's the "review" part that gets blurred a bit as some brands are distributing their wares to every influencer on the tube or gram. It's pretty hard to give objective reviews when your supporting brands are looking for you to talk up their stuff.

I know one strategy some are using is to do the product handoff thing, where they keep a frame for a bit then send back to the brand - and its the components like wheels and what not that sponsorship pays for so they keep those things (and as such, rarely review forks or wheels). Steve at hardtailparty does this. I think Singletracksampler and some others do the same.
  • 1 2
 @PHeller: I think there's place for a range. I love what Steve is doing, but I also like what Pinkbike is doing by giving us a good site, but there's no way they can give a company like Specialized a super crap review (if it deserved it) cause the ad bucks are most likely too big. Racers just have a very different pespective on gear than a 41 year old dad like me does. I'm not in the same galaxy in terms of performance.
  • 1 4
 @Lanebobane You're 10 ply bud
  • 3 1
 @PHeller: Impartial reviews are a problem of influencers and racers alike. I've never heard anyone in the pits go "yeah my bike this year is a real pice of s***" or anything remotely negative about the decisions their manufacturers made. Also, racers' bikes are no where near what I'd be riding, so they are on another plant as far as having relevant reviews for me. At least with an influencer I can see a usually-less-skilled rider getting more casual shots of themselves and make my own decision on their gear. For me, sponsorship influences my choice of product because companies that sponsor (influencer or racer) support the sport. That's the benefit. Not what the sponsored rider has to say about the product.
  • 4 0
 @Lanebobane: You can't take any product review seriously from someone who is being paid to promote the product. Riders are always "loving the new bike" or "feeling at home on this bike immediately". At most what you can take from it is just seeing the product in action. Just seeing a bike under a WC rider or someone at Rampage makes a huge difference for some lesser known brands. Just seeing that a particular bike can hold up to the highest level of tracks and riding sets a baseline of sorts that a bike its legitimate. Beyond that there isn't much to take away for it.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: kinda. There is a lot of debate about how manufactures might "hide" defects on racers bike (you never hear how often frames are swapped out throughout the season) or custom layups for racers. I'd love to know how many wheelsets Richie Rude goes through in a season.

Also, most pros can win on bikes that most riders would think are horrible. Look at EWS: Yeti's fancy Switch Infinity vs Nukeproof and GT's basic 4-Bar and Horst Link Designs. Yeti would make you think that no other suspension is as efficient or awesome, but that doesn't stop Ravanel, Hill or Maes from winning races.

If I follow racers for any reason, it's to get a glimpse at their training regimes - which few ever get into details about.
  • 2 0
 @Lanebobane I think the racers will give you lot more on the research and devellopement front, while the influencers will help you sell said bike. So I guess they kind of need both, unless they have Loic / Amaury level racer, then a sweet edit for the bike launch is all you need haha ( the want is strong for the new meta lol)
  • 2 0
 @lord-01: Commencal is wild. They've got what feels like hundreds of "sponsored" riders (like Barelli), quite a few who don't race, and still manage to keep the two top WCDH racers on their roster. I always wondered how much of Commencal's direct spending was Pierron's salary? 50%? 75? 10?

Furthermore, they still offer some of the best deals on the market. Proof that you don't need premium prices to have premium level brand exposure.
  • 6 0
 @Lanebobane Your hypothetical is also a great hedge against injury, unpopularity and now Global Pandemics. What happened to Yeti's investment when Rude got popped for being on the sauce? What about Intense's investment in Gwin, or Moondraker's in Brook while they were injured? What's the return for any company this year for a company sponsoring an athelete who doesn't"do" social media? Not that guys don't deserve their paycheck if they're injured, or during a pandemic, but that's money going out the door that the company will never see a return on.

More sponsorship means more exposure, and lower risk for less money. Unless we, as fans, change our purchasing habits to reward companies for paying high salaries to their athletes, why would the trend in pay not continue? Influencers bring in dollars from new riders, that's tangible return on investment from sponsoring youtubers and instagram celebrities. Recently an ex-MMA fighter I follow on the 'gram got into cycling, companies were tripping over their dicks trying to hook him up with free gear, this is a guy with a rad house, a couple bonkers supercars, wearing $30k watches, he can more than afford to buy his own gear, but by giving him free stuff these companies have seen increased sales because his fans want to ride what he rides. He started a hastag, and people buy the same gear he has and use that tag to try to get props from him, it's a marketing bonanza. Contrast that to Intense signing Gwin, was anybody buying M29s as a result? Which one of them cost more to get on board? Gwin, by several hundred thousand dollars. How many influencers could be bought for the same money Gwin commands?
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: Of course, but I think its expected that stuff like that happens. My point is really that if I pro team can take a bike and have success with it, that generally its going to be at the very least a decent bike. Or if a guy can huck it off a 40 foot drop at Rampage and it doesn't fold in half then its should at least hold up fairly well for a the average consumer.
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: while I don't have actual numbers I suspect that Commencal actually makes more margin on there bikes than a non dtc brand. That means they have more funds for racers and influencers.
  • 2 0
 @Lanebobane: don't forget that the a lot of the costs of the 10k bike are not manufacturing costs. Giving one away directly from the factory is a lot cheaper, especially if you have the capacity to make more than you can sell. The 50k contract is 50k expenses for the company. But I bet a non dtc brand can sponsor 20 10k bikes for only that money.
Not that I'm implying bike shops or manufacturers rip off consumers . It's just how things work.The factory sells the bike to the shop for more than it costs to make it. The shop needs to pay the employees. Both need to account for models and sizes that don't sell and have to go on sale etc. Giving away product is always cheaper than giving away money.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: Phil’s stuff from his last Whistler trip was top notch. Watching him ride and mostly hold his own with several pros was dope.
  • 1 0
 @wilbersk: the riding was good, the videos were ok. Top notch and dope they were not.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: different strokes for different folks I guess. I thought they were cool af, and so did a lot of other people obviously. Haha
  • 1 0
 @wilbersk: I'm not trying to crap on the guy, hes just an example. But to my original point, that was a year ago, and he has lost sponsors since then.

You can strap a gopro to a skateboard and roll it down the hill at Whistler and come up with an OK video.
  • 3 0
 Brands are paying for exposure, not results. The FBM example is real and marks the change is how brands market. Results don't really matter, exposure matter. I know from personal discussions that there was a very strong argument to stop sponsoring racers altogether to focus on influencers at one of the big bike manufacturers. Racers like FBM and others that are very fast, but not social media savvy need to get someone in their camp to run that aspect for them. It is hard to stop in the middle of a ride or a good descent to get content, but that is the new reality. The highest paid athletes in the future are going to be the ones that get the most exposure, not the highest results.
  • 2 0
 I think its always going to be some combination of both results and exposure, depending on what the brand paying them wants to get out of it. For example, if a bike company is looking to sell a pure bred race bike, they are going to want to sponsor a successful team as the goal will be to show how well the bike performs. Some social media guy may get the bike more exposure but if the sales pitch for the product is racing, then it will be more beneficial to pay a top racer for results, even at the expense of less overall exposure. If a company is promoting its bikes as more fun/freeride then they may move toward more exposure and not care as much about race results.
  • 3 0
 It’s an interesting issue on who should be sponsored. MTB, like skateboarding, surfing and other “fringe” sports have to use social media to get their brand out to the public, brand being bike, parts or human.
Most sports, it’s the best player, athlete, driver, etc. that gets paid and is used in marketing. MTB, not as much. The riders with huge social media followings, do tend to be on the better end of the spectrum but they aren’t always.
I prefer to watch the fastest riders as I like to see what is actually possible on a bike. When I watch rugby on tv or the internet, I want to see the best players playing and not some grass roots local team. Yes, I’ll go watch my former local club now and then, but that’s more for the socializing aspect.
My two cents!
  • 3 0
 There's no point comparing top flight international football with downhil mountain biking and enduro, the markets are hugely different in terms of reach and revenue. Even compared to road cycling the entire MTB competition scene audience pales into insignificance.

Look at kitesurfing, there's maybe 3-4 at the top who are making 100k and the rest are on maybe 20k+ comp expenses and kits, and if you're not top ten you'll not even be on that. It's simple economics.

The market isn't large enough to support 1000s of professional riders in MTB. plain and simple.
  • 3 0
 Nothing new here. Money in MTB racing has always been pretty crappy. I remember top racers in the UK working in Tescos in the week stacking shelves to support their weekend fun. Its easy to draw a correlation with bigger sports but the reality is all athletes need help commercializing their talent and ensuring they aren't bankrupt within 24 months, which is the case for a huge portion of pro US athletes. An athlete has to rise above the sport and become a brand for themselves. Seth did this well, could do more IMHO, but compared with others is winning his game.I think brands now realize that consumers are becoming de sensitized to pros flying down trails at warp speed, hucking huge drops. What consumers want is the breakdowns, understanding why something works, how it works and how they can make it work for them to be better, faster or just have more fun for a few dollars. Fox is killing it lately doing exactly this. My 2c anyhow.
  • 3 0
 Slight chance I've built out a program or two for athletes / ambassadors / influencers, etc for brands in multiple industries. Overall it's complicated beast and dependant on the specific needs / goals for both brand, product and sales, with many variables to take into consideration.

Regarding the $$$ value, there are tools that supposedly track media value (that feel kinda hokey). There are also codes / links etc to track sales, but these only work for immediate transactions in most cases. So in world where metrics rule, this all gets convoluted fast... data misses the emotional quality that invariably accompanies this kind of marketing approach.

My unsolicited advice for athletes, work with brands that appreciate you for being you and support you achieving your goals... just make sure you are always working toward those goals. For brands, work with people that are easy to work with, that listen well, communicate well and deliver on their goals. For both, just understand that your goals may not always be compatible... so either pivot and find the common ground or split up... it's kinda like dating that way and lord knows there are a lot of shitty relationships out there!
  • 3 0
 All this talk about riders getting better at social media I'd like to see companies being better at dictating to their riders. I got fed up of seeing riders plugging the new rock shox fork yesterday I went from being interested to having no interest in buying one.... Same with gopro. You get a deluge of plugs that are all the same. It's so forced you just cringe. The riders are only doing as they are contracted but yeesh it smells.....
  • 2 0
 It is all about ratings of a rider and selling product because they can reach more people. You see YouTubers like Seth's Bike Hacks that are making way more money than some of the top pro riders because he has millions of followers and companies see the value. It is a bummer that some of the best riders on the planet get paid so little, but it is reality of mtb riding because pro mtb riding doesn't get a lot of TV ratings. If they were able to televise mtb racing better then pro mtb racers would get paid more, but so far the bike industry hasn't found a way to increase ratings especially for EWS. XC and DH racing, gets much higher ratings than Enduro racing.
  • 2 0
 Great Podcast and always love the good vibes each of these riders exude on social media and in person. Good luck to both of you on getting the best financial support possible from sponsors to support your careers and families now and in the future.

That said, the data does exist that can be tracked to almost all social media sites that a sponsored athlete or other marketing value added item has upon their financial performance. Of course, whether or not it is shared, is up to internal company protocols. I would suggest making friends with the marketing / financial data analysts within the IT department of a company for the value added data queries you're looking for Wink
  • 2 0
 The missing question is what do the dealers want - and will your Instagram/ social media presence attract and support dealers in your region
Geoff Gullivich rides a bike( Focus) in the bike mecca of B.C but there are no Focus dealers ( there was a couple in Alberta for townie bikes) .100 k plus followers on Instagram, 185k on YouTube- zero mountain bike sales in his market. He sounds influential but for Focus is it worth it if people cant buy the product or attract dealers.

Dealers also love support to there market - trail adoption/ maintenance, sponsoring local races, supporting bmx ( future mountainbikers) - building bicycling in the community, money well spent. Social media influencers are pretty far down the list

The cream will rise to the top in racing - if you foster this your brand , shop , community will go alone for the ride inspiring more riders and support for the industry.
  • 2 0
 Being the top of anything is not enough, you need to market yourself. In non-athlete business the best technical people will only get so far (career, salary, status) if they don’t market themselves - in this world that usually means networking, volunteering for strategic tasks to get in front of the right people, and yes sometimes having a social network presence.

Mountain bike is still fringe compared to the big 5 sports. It’s also difficult to have real spectator numbers consistently which negatively impacts sponsors. As much as an athlete should just be able to focus on their sport, they will never get a bigger piece of the pie if they don’t have that public presence. Truthfully, the career of a top-flight athlete is extremely short in terms of working years. The smart ones realise this and plan their transition while at their peak.
  • 2 0
 If EWS races were broadcasted live like a world cup, riders like Flo would certainly make more in the ews. You watch a 20 minute video of a 2 day, sometimes 3 day race and the average video time of the racers is like 30 seconds.. 45 seconds if you're lucky and a little more time if you're one of the top 3 racers.. so it's a bit hard to relate to racers in the EWS circuit. They seem to have more of a necessity to have a bigger social media presence to compensate for race results. No wonder that most of the new professional mountain bikers with youtube channels are EWS racers, with a few exceptions the WC DH circuit.
  • 2 0
 Brands are always looking for a good return of investment, take cosmetics/make up for example. The brands used to use celebrities to promote their products but that got turned on it's head when YouTube tutorials became popular and now the brands almost solely use YouTubers to market their products (to great effect!).

MTB brands aren't paying racers for that 1st place, their paying for the effect it gives...exposure. If you're winning races but no-ones watching then that's not a great RTI for the brands.

Social media can be a great RTI, they're posting original content weekly (or more), engaging with potential customers and building a loyal fan base.

Getting 100k, 500k, 1,000,000 views every month has more value than a racer occasionally getting on a podium a handful of times a year.

Now if a racer gets good results AND has a good social media presence then that's going to make them pretty irresistible! It's a little bit of extra work, building a YT channel can take time but a pro automatically has a head start if they have at least a little bit of a name for themselves or friends in high places.
  • 4 0
 It will be great to see a Bruni's Outspoken special episode with Brosnan and Barelli.
  • 2 1
 Its an odd business all around. If you are a serious enthusiast (or more) rider, then you likely have your own ideas and preferences for buying bikes and gear. In which case, neither racer nor "influencer" actually do any real influencing.

At the opposite end, shops are apparently generally sold out of less expensive bikes thx to COVID. I suspect the number of people who bought these bikes based on this or that racer or youtuber is very small.

On one hand I agree racers are "underpaid" for all the things mentioned. But no one owes you a salary because you want to ride your bike. Go to school and get a decent paying job if that is what you want.

At the end of the day, I suspect its a bit of a fishbowl environment with very limited reach outside the already dedicated core audience and thus relatively limited sponsorship dollars scattered about.
  • 1 0
 There isnt a fine line between serious enthusiasts and pro racers. Once you equipment is paid for it isnt about your decisions, its about input. If competing is how you're paying the bills you will get less choosy about minion/magic mary. The one that keeps the lights on is the better tire.
Someone willing to drop 20k on a bike and kid is in a very different boat.
  • 1 0
 Totally agree that a lot of racers are underpaid, but you can't make the comparison with other sports like baseball/football. The vast majority if money in mainstream sports comes from TV rights, which comes from the size of the audience, something that mountain biking doesn't have. I think where the sport is now is miles better than 20 years ago and the top top pros probably can actually retire when they retire, for the rest of the riders it's good that they can earn a living doing their passion for a few years
  • 8 0
 I'm not sure I would agree, in the late 90's early 2000s you had Shaun Palmer making a rumoured 800k per year, so with inflation thats now around 1.2 and even more than the 1mil that Aaron let everyone know he made in 2017. So despite substantial growth of the sport I would say it hasn't really changed in the 20 years
  • 2 0
 @wynmasters: ah ok, fair play, didn't realise people were making so much back then! Hopefully guys like you and Loïc raising it as an issue can help push some changes
  • 2 0
 @chris-brown225: I thought the general perception was that 20 years ago were the glory days for mainstream interest in the sport, and that we're just starting to creep back toward that now in terms of media exposure and money from outside the industry - but with rider pay probably not seeing the benefit yet.
On a related note, I wonder if the incredible depth of the field now makes it harder for individuals now, with the money being spread more thinly @wynmasters ?
Though the bigger user base (more people buying MTBs and gear) also probably makes it more viable for the sport to survive without external sponsorship than in the past.
  • 1 0
 @wynmasters: I'd agree with you there! Recently found an old poster from the Malverns Classic in the mid 90s and the headline event sponsor was Carlsberg, with £10k cash prizes for the podiums.

Hopefully the rise of OTT TV and on demand services will grow audiences, and then the savvier athletes and agents can start pitching to the high spending non-endemic sponsors about the value of a healthy, brave, exciting athlete as a sponsorship opportunity/billboard for their brand, and the participants and fans of an expensive sport (so by definition a high value demographic) as an ideal target audience....
  • 4 0
 @chakaping: yeah those were recognized as the glory days, but surely now with more people buying bikes and MTB as a recreational sport more popular than ever now should be similar really, it’s one of the few sports with rapid growth right now.
  • 1 0
 I still believe that to sell bikes you need to have a top racer.

To sell clothing, protective... influencers can do the trick.

Don't get me wrong but we see much more Commencal Supreme, Demo, Trek Session than Cube (Remy Metailler's bike).
  • 2 1
 Especially if they don't have any sort of professional background, all of those youtube influencer bros annoy me to no end. Oh so you're "sponsored", are you now. But for doing what exactly? Thats not being sponsored, thats literally just selling yourself as a walking ad billboard. Your public image revolves solely around displaying advertisements. Well done, must be really fulfilling work. Go on then, f*ck right off out of my social media feed. Sorry, but really not sorry at all.
  • 1 0
 One good point brought up in this podcast was the matter of what level should sponsored racers be paid. I think a big factor in that has to do with the size of the fan base and anticipated income of product sales that come from the promotion of racing on a particular product. Another good point was the factor of the amount of effort that goes into training to maintain fitness to be able to compete in the upper echelons of the mountain biking. I'm certain the effort put in is equally just as significant as any stick and ball sport such as soccer, American football, baseball, basketball, cricket, rugby, hockey, etc. The problem is many of those sports have much larger fan bases, and coincidentally much greater viewership. If it were not for that stick and ball sport athletes would not be able to demand their typical seven figure salaries. With said, it is also true, that even professional mountain bike racers have a limited career of 15-20years at best, which is pretty true for most professional sports as well. I do not however, think that it is reasonable for mountain bikers to paid seven figure salaries if their fan base is not as substantial as a stick and ball athlete, and/or if the product/brand they represent doesn't yield annual revenue of product sales to support the athletes. This gets messy though as most stick and ball athletes represent the brand of the Team, for mountain bikers that would be bicycle brand they race for. Stick and ball athletes do get additional endorsement bonuses for representing products they use, but again that is in addition to a base contracted salary. I'm not an expert by an means on mountain bike racer salaries or contracts, but I think it would appropriate to have salaries established for what ever level a racer will be competing in (i.e. World Championship, UCI World Cup, etc.) and based on the extent of racing participation they are planning for a given season. Then you add in bonuses for podiums and winning of championships, and on top of that you should get a bonus for the number of sales that the product you race yields. And then you'd have your supplemental bonus endorsement for thing like clothing, footwear, helmet, etc. Perhaps stick and ball athletes are not the best comparison and it'd be better to compare with athletes of Motor Cross, Super Bikes, or general motorsports. I'm inclined to agree that if you'r racing say Category 1 in a domestic series, you should be earning at least $130,000. If you're racing an international series as a rookie you should be making at least $150,000. If you're racing international with some podiums in your past but no championships $175,000. If you sport the rainbow jersey you should be making $200,000+. Now are that an appropriate salaries, or the breaks significant enough, I'm not sure, perhaps they should be higher and wider, but definitely I don't think it should be lower. The bike industry is pretty flush with cash, but even with that said I doubt even the top executives are doing any better than low 7 figures if not mid six figures. It would be interesting see what the difference in viewership is of professional mountain biking versus other sports, though, as that would help put things in perspective. I also agree with the sentiment that professional mountain bikers should be either racers or social media promoters, expecting both seems unreasonable and unfair. Being a professional athlete is a significant time commitment as it is, expecting the social media presence as well seems excessive. I don't think futballers and F1 drivers are expected to compete/train and maintain social media, so why should professional mountain bikers?
  • 4 0
 Is he ripped? Good god, I can see he has his Weetabix.
  • 3 1
 At some point its also about the person, because most of these MTB youtubers are just huge nerds with over the top thumbnails...
  • 2 1
 Barelli: I wish there was a way to know how many bikes we sell. Well, I asked him on his YT channel about his Meta as I was in the market for a new bike, he didn't get back to me so I bought a Capra.
  • 4 0
 Off to check out Sam Hill Instagram.....
  • 4 0
 "look at my wife's butt"
  • 3 1
 as a pro racer you need to use all the social media as well, professionality.
  • 4 0
 Yoann is so shredded !
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one that thinks it is funny that they look almost exactly like the same person?
  • 2 0
 How do (some) pro earn most of their money ? By promoting stupid Monster/RedBull and other shitty food and drinks.
  • 2 1
 Hate on those companies as much as you want but they are the only ones that are bringing us a venue and media to see our beloved sport.

RedBull isn’t a beverage company, they are a media and events company first and foremost.
  • 1 1
 Yeah pretty sure the media/sports side of red bull is much bigger than the drinks side
  • 1 1
 Pretty much all athletes get paid by promoting shifty food and drink...organic home grown lettuce doesn't have the same marketing budget as McDonalds and coca cola
  • 1 0
 @chris-brown225: yep. That's a shame !
I remember once saying on Yana Belomoina Facebook in the comments section on one of her numerous pictures with RedBull can that it was a bit weird to tell everybody she's a healthy competitor with good "fuel". And drinking at the same time RedBull ^^
  • 4 0
 Iggy Pop's looking well.
  • 13 13
 Hesitant to click on this. I have zero interest in Wyn when he's in his fourteen-yr-old-boy humour mode, but I really enjoyed this. Would love to see more of Wyn like this.
  • 3 6
 Insult him them praise him, solid move...
  • 13 0
 @Beez177: Not an insult to him at all. It reflects MY preferences. Obviously, lots of people like that part of him. Tippie has a fourteen-yr-old-boy humour mode too, but I'm down with his version. Just preference, that's all.
  • 4 3
 @rrolly: fair enough, I guess the Tippie reference helped me see your POV.
  • 2 0
 Are they twins? Am i seeing double?
  • 2 0
 Sponsored by the potatoes they used to film themselves
  • 1 0
 Props to Johan to be so brave and humble to talk so openly... even can cause him some gossip...
  • 1 0
 Wyn seems that he had a lot of bavarian beers! Smile
  • 1 1
 I love how non English speaking people are honest .
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