Following the news that Discovery has taken over the broadcasting rights for the UCI World Cups, it seems that everyone has an opinion. You've had your say
, we've had our say
and Beta have had their say
but what do the people who will be affected most about it think? We've gathered a snapshot of reactions to the news from racers and team managers and their thoughts on how it might affect the sport.
The questions we asked to the racers and team managers were:- How do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?
- What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?
- Do you have any worries about the news?
- Do you think it’s good for the sport?
- What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?
Camille BalancheHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?For me this it's too much of unknown so far. They have apparently more money but is it gonna only go in the pocket of the UCI or is it gonna really be used to push the sport in the right direction, I’m not sure. Especially the DH discipline. I feel like Red Bull TV had probably more interest in extreme sports than Discovery. I don’t like the fact that it probably won’t be possible to watch easily from every country and every screen and be free of charge (not sure yet but it’s what I heard). What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?Probably that they will not have to put the priority to certain athletes like Red Bull did with their own athletes. I hope they will keep Rob because he is just the best and I hope they can bring the sport to the next level by providing decent coverage and more visibility than we have now, which is gonna be hard because I think Red Bull TV is doing a good job. Do you have any worries about the news?Yes. I’m worried that it won’t be available in every country and that we will have to pay to watch the races. I’m also worried that they will start using adverts during the broadcast and that we will lose the fans watching because of it.Do you think it’s good for the sport?Like I said, I don’t know enough about them to answer the question. But a new vision can be good for the sport or it can destroy it. Finger crossed.What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?More coverage with more cameras, more angles. Every run should be totally filmed in finals so we can always have the full run of the riders who win or are on the hot seat even if they start before the top 30. More prize money. Interesting pre-show inside stories and more contact with the teams/riders.
Henrique AvanciniHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?I guess it’s a mixed feeling. Red Bull TV improved over the years and we finally got to a good level in terms of reach. As long we don’t know more details on this take over, is hard to judge and make a call if could be positive or negative to the sport.What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?A new platform could be the next step for the World Cup. I hope the new broadcaster brings some more extra race content to solidify the sport with its fan base and keep improving and bringing new people to our sport.Do you have any worries about the news?Mountain bike's numbers were getting bigger and bigger. To the point that the reach is big enough to be compared to events that are being held for much longer time. My main concern is that this could be a market control move more than a desire the build and develop a new product on their platform.
A second point to worry is how it’s gonna be access to the content. Red Bull TV played a very important role on bringing the sport to new people. I believe we are still on the process of growing before capitalizing on pay per view model of business.Do you think it’s good for the sport?Could be very good as long Discovery Sports keep increasing the reach and quality. If that is achieved, on middle term the teams and riders are going to be positively affected. In general terms, I see it as something risky for the teams and riders, but also could bring bigger rewards if things go right.What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?I believe there is a lot to cover on the backstage of the teams and athletes. It’s different when a team is producing their own content to when a broadcaster starts to dig the behind the scenes. There is a lot that happens on our sport that the open public don’t have a chance to know.
Vali HollHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?Honestly, I can’t say if it’s good or bad. I was kinda shocked when I read the news because it came out of nowhere. I really love the Red Bull TV crew. I kinda grew up with them in the World Cup circuit, most of them are Austrians and we did many projects together already, I really hope they continue to be at the World Cups, because they did an amazing job!What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?Honestly, I never heard of them, apparently they produced all the EWS footage but somehow I didn’t really see a lot at all. I hope it’s not the same for DH, because the coverage that Red Bull produced was fire, live broadcast, daily recaps on YouTube, etc.Do you have any worries about the news?I just hope that they keep the Red Bull crew. Not only the producer crew also the commentary, we need people who know the sport and the history. We need people who interact with the athletes and know all the gossip haha. Tracey Hannah was the perfect add to the woman's broadcast, and Elliot and Lauren are doing an amazing job and entertain the crowd. A World Cup without Rob Warner - can we even call it a World Cup?Do you think it’s good for the sport?I really need to read into it more. It would be cool to see DH on the local TV like Eurosport. But Red Bull TV was free for everyone and it was not hard to figure it out, even my grandparents could download the app and watch it and select the right language. The whole Red Bull pre-show was so cool, when I watch a ski World Cup on Eurosport, they don’t work much on those things. But who knows, maybe they will do an amazing job.What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?I would like to see more women qualify. 20 would be a great fit.
Reece WilsonHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?Personally, I’m very positive and excited about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcast. The sport's in a great place and that’s clear to see with the momentum it has gained over the pandemic period. I feel this change is one of the positive results of that momentum. What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?The thing I look forward to most is the same thing we all want? To see the sport getting mainstream coverage, outside sport endorsements, more documentation and growing to its full potential. Do you have any worries about the news?I think it’s unfair to be negative about something that is already happening. Why not just be positive and take this as an opportunity to improve what we currently have? Red Bull have done an amazing job and set a high standard so I don’t think we’ll see crazy changes the first few years, but I do believe it’s a great move for the future of mountain biking. Do you think it’s good for the sport?They broadcast the Tour de France which is the most watched sporting event in the world - I think we’ll be ok. Being under the same umbrella as the Tour de France and EWS can only be beneficial to the sport's growth as a whole. What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?Mainstream coverage and potential for investment coming in from outside the industry. More structured calendar, more investment in the sport. To name a few.
As far as paying for it goes? Discovery know fine well that they need views to continue to grow. I’m pretty confident they won’t do anything to jeopardise that. AMA Supercross, MotoGP, PGA Tour, Spotify, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime... subscriptions services are everywhere and they can be great value for money.
I look forward to hearing more from Discovery and seeing how they plan on taking mountain biking through the next stages of its development.
Bernard KerrHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?Honestly no idea on a feeling really... Hopefully it's a good thing? Red Bull on the whole did a very good job but who knows maybe Discovery will be better? It would be awesome if we were kept in the loop more with the UCI I guess... and mainly good to know if we are bent over / sold out.
Previously the UCI sold all the riders' rights to our own POV footage and also made us put Red Bull logos on our videos even though we don't get paid for this. We are also never technically allowed to use our own full POV race runs, just parts of them. And Red Bull can decide how much footage and things like this.What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?Hard to say when we don't know what they are going to do... If they, say, double the amount of cameras then I would definitely look forward to this... with almost zero insight or news its pretty hard to make a comment? Maybe they will bring in amazing outside sponsors and the prize money will go up from the £3k joke it currently is? Maybe they will let us use our own POV footage and things? Maybe they will be super friendly... it's like looking forward to a holiday when you don't know where you are going? Could be good, could be terrible? hahaDo you have any worries about the news?Yes... That the UCI have sold them all the riders and teams rights to our own footage... it's unfair and taking advantage of us. In other sports you may even get a cut of the TV revenue, not have your own stuff sold out without you having a choice.Do you think it’s good for the sport?I really hope so... I'm sure they have amazing crews and big budgets to do some great things... It would be awesome to know what their plan is then I could give you a better answer? hahaWhat improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?If any rider wants to run a POV camera in their race run they should be allowed... It should not be so elitist and "only if we have enough cameras".... everyone knows each rider has their own one. It's unfair that only some are allowed and I'm usually one of the lucky ones that is.
Better placed cameras....Red Bull on the whole does a great job, but also often miss some of the best / most important parts of the track... They need a better expert or person to help position the cameras in my opinion.
Neko MulallyHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?I don't know all the specifics about the deal, but in general I think that it shows our sport is in a healthy place if companies like Discovery and Red Bull TV are competing for the rights to broadcast the World Cup.What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?Reaching new fans.Do you have any worries about the news?For sure, it normally takes a little bit of learning to perfect something, so I hope they can get it dialled on the first try. Red Bull does a great job in my opinion.Do you think it’s good for the sport?I think Discovery's reach can be good for the sport. Time will tell if they can execute the broadcast in a way that is good for the sport. What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?I think that more cameras on the race course can help the broadcast. I would also like to see more reporting on the riders outside of the race to be used in the show.
Wyn MastersHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts? I think it's exciting and I look forward to see how they put all together.What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?Hopefully getting the sport in front of more eyes, and taking the sport to a mainstream audience, in turn bringing growth for the sport.Do you have any worries about the news?Of course, I think that’s normal with any change. You just hope that they will do it as well as Red Bull did and can keep the format similar with, of course, Rob Warner in the booth too.Do you think it’s good for the sport?I think it could be great and hope that it brings it to the next level and allows the sport to continue to grow worldwide.What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?Just broadcasting more worldwide and keeping the quality and format similar to what Red Bull did. Personally ,I’d like to see the World Cup to become more of a true “World” Cup as there are regions like South America and Asia that would really get behind having events there. Also, I don’t personally have a problem to pay for access to watch it if its done properly, I watch Supercross, Motocross and Road cycling and pay to watch all of those without an issue.
Sina FreiWhat are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?A change is always also a new chance. I hope that it will get streamed in even more countries and that it will improve the MTB media presence to a new level.Do you have any worries about the news?I think Red Bull TV made a really good broadcast. The camera work and commentary did a really good and exciting job. It’s not easy to start from the same level, but nothing is impossible!Do you think it’s good for the sport?If it will be streamed in even more countries than it will also make the sport and the media presence bigger.What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?Neutral and equalized, team-independent treatment.
Thomas WicklesHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?I think we all agree that RBMH produced the best content ever of the World Cup and lifted the broadcasting quality to a new level. We are grateful for everything they invested in our sport, remember where we were when they took over the licensing rights and how much they evolved throughout the years. I do have a neutral feeling to a new broadcaster though. We did not get any official information from UCI yet, therefore I do not know enough to really come up with an opinion based on facts.Do you think it’s good for the sport?All the three questions above are hard to answer for me at the moment. Of course, we all would love to see the streaming and broadcasting being still available for free. Depending on what the plan of Discovery will be exactly, we will be able to judge this, once more news are available and we will be involved into the plans. Red Bull’s plan of course was to generate views on their channels, which they did very successfully. Hopefully Discovery wants to raise the quality of the production even higher making it accessible to as many people as possible and keep it for free to the MTB world and the rest of the (potential) viewers. But, even we as UCI Elite teams we're not involved in the whole process nor did we get any information from the UCI yet.What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?If you compare MTB sport and the level of money being involved to other cycling disciplines and their broadcasting and TV situation, there is of course way more money involved (even though some disciplines are comparably small like CX) and with reaching a broader and bigger audience the sport has the chance to develop further and bigger. More and bigger sponsors could be attracted and lifting the whole sport to a new level. In particular for XC and DH (with our team being an XC team of course) it depends again on the future plans – but we as XC teams always hoped for more single round XC World Cups in the past. On double events we had to go to places where there were DH tracks of course, XC tracks were sometimes simply added and did not really feel as much in the focus as at single events like e.g. Nove Mesto. Of course production costs played a role in those decisions as well – we do love the vibe of double World Cups with the DH family, but there would be crazy good venues and organizers (and crowds!) if you could go to some more XC only World Cups. We will see in which direction it will be going…
Ghost Factory Racing Team - Team Manager
Haley BattenHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?I’m honestly super surprised about it! RedBull has always done such an exceptional job with the live broadcast and the coverage gets even better every season. Since RedBull-TV covers a range of extreme sports it created a great platform to grow following for mtb from other sports and vice-versa. Red Bull is well known around the world for sports content and I’ve also been really impressed by how they represent the women’s field in XCO.What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?I don’t know much about Discovery. It seems that they have a documentary and reality-tv focus, which is different from what we are used to with Red-Bull.Do you have any worries about the news?Red Bull TV has always been extremely accessible, which makes the races easy and fun to watch. I worry that Discovery my be a bit less user-friendly or include more ads. In addition, I think Red-Bull TV attracted a certain type of viewer that is interested in mtb and action sports.Do you think it’s good for the sport?It’s hard for me to say since I don’t really feel like I have a good understanding of Discovery and what they will be capable of. I am hopeful that they can do a good job with the World Cup broadcast, but there will definitely be a learning curve for all of us I think.What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?It would be great to have an easy-access broadcast that can reach an even larger audience and help grow our sport. I would also love to see coverage of the World Championships since that has been limited in the past.
Dean LucasHow do you feel about Discovery taking over the World Cup broadcasts?I think it could be a good new change, Redbull has done an awesome job to build it up to where it is now but I still think there’s massive room for improvement.What are you looking forward to about the new broadcaster?Hopefully more feedback from athletes on what they want to see happen at the events. I feel like athletes get kept in the dark with a lot of different things so it would be nice to have more of a voice.Do you have any worries about the news?Not really any worry about it will be interesting to see how different it is run.Do you think it’s good for the sport?I think it really could be if it’s done the right way, I think it could put a lot of new eyes on the sport and grow it to where it needs to be.What improvements would you like to see with a new broadcaster?I think the need to build up back story’s with riders to help the fans get involved, Redbull did the show “Fast Life” but that only focused on Loic, Finn and Kate when I feel like they could go more in depth into more riders.
Also they need to film qualifying and Juniors!! It blows me away they miss them, even if it’s not played on the live feed still have the footage so people can see it.