UCI to broadcast its events live on YouTube

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has had its troubles recently (!) with Mr Armstrong and the constant battle the sport faces with drugs.  To lighten the mood and show that they are looking towards the future and not just the past they produced some interesting news.  This week they announced that, for the first time, it will provide free, live broadcasts of the Cyclo-cross World Championships on its YouTube channel. The World Championships will be held on 2-3 February in Louisville, USA.

The UCI channel will then proceed to provide live coverage of World Championships in the Road, Track, BMX and Cyclo-cross disciplines, as well as the World Cup events in Cyclo-cross, Track and BMX. Mountain Bike and Trials will also be live, with the outlet announced shortly.

The UCI’s live broadcasts will be available all around the world with the exception of those countries in which TV channels already offer the option to view the UCI events live. This new video coverage means that a passion for cycling can be spread to countries that have never before enjoyed such coverage, over all five continents.

It will also provide highlights during the live coverage, offering freeze-frame images of the most spectacular action and most skilled performers. These highlights will be accessible to all Internet users, free of charge and without restriction on location.

You can see more about the event here…

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It is a progression in sport that we are seeing more of.  The platform is keen to encourage more unique content, whether that be pre-recorded programmes or live events.  We have already seen the power of big live events – think Red Bull Space Jump – and this can be utilised for more niche events.  The rights haven’t been sold and tend not to be very valuable.  So why not put them up for all to see?

If you draw a decent enough audience in then the future production quality can be enhanced and there are advertising and sponsorship opportunities around it.  With rumours of YouTube introducing a paid subscription model to certain areas then it would make even more sense.  Pay 69p for the ability to watch a tournament for a day…why not?!

Further signs that this is the way the industry is moving, we heard today about SkySports being made available on a pay as you watch service.  This gives fans without a subscription the opportunity to pay £9.99 and watch a full day of sport on all the SkySports channels.  For a Super Sunday or Ryder Cup final day it could pay dividends for the channel.

Anyway, you can catch the action on www.youtube.com/ucichannel
Schedule of live coverage of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships

– Saturday 2 February: GMT16:00 – 17:00 Junior Men – Live
– Saturday 2 February: GMT 19:30 – 20:30 Under 23 Men – Live
– Sunday 3 February: GMT 16:00 – 17:00 Elite Women – Live
– Sunday 3 February: GMT 19:30 – 20:45 Elite Men – Live
(CET is GMT +1)