Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Taking New Media for Granted

Media has changed enormously in the last 10 years. For a longtime cycling fan like me, this is a wonderful thing. Do not get me wrong. Hundreds of websites, thousands of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Vs., livestreams, YouTube clips, and now Universal Sports replays means we can consume all day everyday consuming cycling; we sometimes do this rather than actually riding bikes (or any other useful activity).

Realize this also means that we can spend hour upon hour indulging in our favorite sport, cycling. Back in the day (even 1o years ago) none of this existed. We got one hour of Tour de France coverage once a week when I first followed the tour in 1987. All other information on bike racing came in monthly magazines. I waited weeks to find out who won any event. I also devoured each issue of those magazines. No page was wasted.

I make this point anticipating that some fans will feel frustrated that Universal Sports is charging $5 for their live stream of the Cyclocross World Championships. My reaction is whopee! I'm thrilled to be able to pay such a small fee for a high quality stream. Bonus that I can plug into a big screen TV and follow commentary on atleast 4 different english language sites.

I would also encourage everyone who wants World Cup cyclocross live on a regular basis to do the same. The reason is simple; Universal apparently owns the U.S. broadcast rights to UCI World Cup events. The more viewership they have for Worlds, the more likely they will stream World Cups live in the future. Now Universal Sports shows replays of the WC races on cable, weeks after the event, at 4 a.m. Better than nothing, but barely. So if you want to see cyclocross get more broadcast attention, pay up and watch on Universal Sports rather than poaching Sporza's feed. I'll miss the commentary in dutch too, but its the right thing to do for the future of US cyclocross.