Communism in US sports

October 27, 2011

I enjoy the responses to my recent blogs. It seems there are people who think that influencing races or teams through licenses should not be allowed. Pure market forces should dictate how races fare and a men’s race that can support itself shouldn’t be forced to use its hard-earned money to support a women’s race.

Two things:

  1. Should cycling be the only sport where market forces rule?
  2. These people know nothing about how men’s races operate.
Let’s start with #1. I hear all the time that cycling should learn from the hugely successful US professional sports leagues. The irony is of course that these leagues are so hugely successful (in a capitalist sense) because they employ almost communist principles. Every one of these leagues has a system to redistribute wealth.
  • NBA has a salary floor, a salary cap and a luxury tax
  • MLB has a luxury tax
  • NHL has a salary cap
And of course there’s the most successful of them all, the example they all try to emulate, the NFL. It has the most wealth redistribution of any sport in the world, with a salary floor, a salary cap and equal TV revenue for all teams. It seems the more a league’s economics are distorted, the bigger the overall pie becomes.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of all these distortions, but it’s interesting to see them so widely used in the US. And granted, none of these professional leagues really support women’s leagues, but that’s not the point. The point is that measures are taken to to distort the “free market forces” to benefit the mandate of those in charge (in this case not a world governing body but the league and the player’s union).

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Tomorrow I’ll explain why people who say using WorldTour licenses to influence behavior is wrong know nothing about how men’s cycling works today. Subscribe here for that story.

42 Responses to “Communism in US sports”

  1. Chiefhiawatha Says:

    The NBA also underwrites the WNBA, a league nobody watches. Expect the same if world tour teams are forced to field women’s team for make-believe fans.


  2. How about the NBA, does anybody watch that? Apparently in 2008 (where I found data for), the WNBA averaged 413,000 viewers per game on ESPN2, while the NBA averaged 1,460,000 viewers per game on ESPN. I’m amazed that both numbers would be that low and that they would actually be that close.

  3. Leif Says:

    Sounds like bad data.


    • I agree. I saw some other data that pegs WNBA around 250-300,000, but it’s still the NBA figure that seems odd. I’m sure it scores higher on the main network than on ESPN, although of course the ESPN number is better for comparison.

  4. Larry T. Says:

    FINALLY someone pokes some holes in the sacred US pro sports model! Thanks Gerard. And let us not forget these same organizations have been plagued by strikes and lockouts (is the NBA playing yet?) for many years. I say to those wishing pro cycling would emulate pro sports in the USA to be careful what you wish for. While the corruption at UCI is pathetic and things need to change, I don’t believe going the way of US pro (or even NCAA) sports organizations would be a huge improvement.

    • david Says:

      Who, really, wishes that men’s pro road racing “emulate pro sports” in the US? Claiming that there are forces out there pushing this model on European road racing was a boogeyman propped up by ASO to gain support for their resistance to the UCI’s ProTour. “Oh my God, the Americanization of our sacred Tour!”

      • Larry T. Says:

        Dave, you must not read any of the stuff posted in North America. Pro cycling’s constantly compared unfavorably with big-time pro sports in the USA on forums like Velo.com. Sure, McQuaid and his henchmen rail against Vaughters and Bruyneel but those guys seem to advocate turning pro cycling into something resembling the North American pro sports setup..I don’t think it’s all in Paddy’s head.


      • Maybe if you were getting monthly calls from VC inquiring how to go about turning pro cycling into a professional league, you’d have a slightly different view on how real those concepts are. The interest has little to do with ASO inventing it, it’s real, which of course doesn’t mean anything will happen, Because it’s really quite simple, no ‘americanization” of cycling will happen without the consent of ASO, as you can’t do anything without the Tour de France.

        • david Says:

          Turning pro cycling into a professional league is not the same thing as turning it into the NBA or NFL. All I’ve heard any real player say, e.g., JV, is that TV-money revenue sharing would help the support become more stable. Revenue sharing in bike racing would be a far cry from the NBA/MLB/NFL model.

  5. Chris Says:

    The only thing I see worth emulating would be a TV revenue sharing agreement among ProTour teams, or perhaps just among teams at the TdF. The logistics of setting up such an agreements would surely be complicated, and many will oppose it, simply because once the cat is out the bag, it can never be forced back in. Revenue sharing would hopefully stabilize teams, and also potentially provide means for those reluctant teams to field a womens squad.

  6. Larry T. Says:

    Vaughters and those guys seem to think there’s a lot of dough from TV revenue sharing. I believe ONLY LeTOUR has any real profits here, the others either pay or beg to get their events on the tube. So it would seem that their idea would make ASO even more powerful than they are now – he who pays calls the tune, as they say. I for one, do NOT want ASO controlling any more of the sport than they do now. If UCI were to allow only 12 of the super license teams each one would be worth far more and maybe (and this is big maybe) they could leverage that into multi-year sponsor stability…once the dope-fueled image of the sport is cleaned up of course.


    • Vaughters’ and others complaint is that they have no real power. Sure there is a team association but like the riders association they only have a advisory capacity to the UCI. The UCI does what it wants. In essense the riders and teams have no voice or power – they aren’t partners in this game as they would be in the other sports.
      One rider complained, “we create the spectaccle but have no voice in running the sport.
      I find this to be a valid concern of the riders/teams/organisers… they largely create the sport but do so not as equals.
      I think the income from TV is expanded at this point with sales of broadcast rights going beyond just TV to internet broadcast and film (DVD) sales.
      Unfortunately when ASO signs TV contracts they only sell their rights. In a smart organisation – there would be a marketing arm that sold all the WorldTour and Classic races selling packages of races…. For example if you want the tour, then you have to buy other races: a few classics and perhaps the Giro…. you wouldn’t be selling one race rights at a time. This also minimizes duplication of efforts and costs in marrketing TV rights… probably selling rights to races that have little if any TV broadcast outsied ot the country of origin.
      I figure if the Vaughters isn’t successful and a new form of organisation isn’t found ASO will own or manage ALL of the Grand Tours and Classic Races and others (or manage them and the TV rights) in the not to distant future. So hold your breath when you wish ASO doesn’t grow.
      ASO is successful, capable of both growth and change – The UCI not successful on the same Scale and is resistant to change,.
      If the UCI doesn’t reorganise pro sport I predict ASO will and at that point they won’t need the UCI at all.
      I’ll point out here that when ASO and the UCI last tangled on the ProTour it was ASO who won as the UCI flinched.
      Cheers.


  7. GV – I think you have the right idea – said in the wrong way.
    It should not be mens cycling supporting womens cycling – even though that is exactly what it is – it should be using the commercially successful part to promote the sport.

    I have written this elsewhere – but WorldTour licences should be issued on a financial and ethics basis only.

    The points scoring should be scrapped, as it is a waste of time and actually drains money from the sport – because teams are forced to overpay riders to retain/buy points to maintain their status.
    Also it puts teams under pressure to get points which in turn leads us to doping.

    WT licences should be issued on what you can contribute to the sport:
    (i) Any new team for consideration must have sponsored a womens or U23 team already so that their ability to pay and manage a team can be determined.
    (ii) If you support a WT team, a womens team and an U23 team you get (as an example) a 7 year licence.
    (iii) If you support a WT team, and either a womens team or an U23 team you get a 4 year licence.
    (iv) If you only support a WT team, then a 2 year licence.

    The NHL, NBA models that I saw brought up by others does not work for cycling as the organizing body does not get the all important (& controlling) TV rights.

    Cyclings problem are, I believe, somewhat unique. The main income of TV rights goes to the race organisers, who do not need to develop the sport, so therefore they do not do so. I don’t even think F1 and Eccelstone/FIA is close to cycling.

    The only power that the UCI posses is in the distribution of licences

  8. david Says:

    Gerard, respectfully, you’re going off the rails: “It seems there are people who think that influencing races or teams through licenses should not be allowed.” Who? Not me, nor Tom H. It’s a strawman.

    Should, or should not, men’s pro racing be required, forced, by the UCI to support women’s pro racing by requiring men’s teams to fund women’s teams and/or requiring men’s pro race organizers to run concurrent women’s road races. Let’s see the argument/s that they should.

  9. david Says:

    Gerard: “Tomorrow I’ll explain why people who say using WorldTour licenses to influence behavior is wrong know nothing about how men’s cycling works today.” I’ll be interested to find out who these people are.

  10. Larry T. Says:

    I can’t wait either — and I’m scared to say I just might agree with Gerard’s take on this. So far he’s made a lot of sense (and riled up more than a few readers) with his comments on this subject. Bring it on man!

  11. Nancy Says:

    You can hate as much as you want these pro league and NCAA but you need to appreciate these marketing people that found a way to sell the sports to the general population. And they were able to attract sponsors too compared to cycling that failed in theses two area.

    What about promoting other cycling disciplines other than road such as mountain bike, track and cyclocross? It is like women’s road racing, no promotion, no money.

    • Larry T. Says:

      Ciao Nancy, I don’t hate the pro sports leagues in the USA, though I feel the fact that taxpayers so often build the stadiums they use for their events under threat of “or I’ll move the team” and provide other public monies to these already rich team owners, is a shame. But one can say the French let LeTour use the roads all the French taxpayers pay for — but at least THEY can see the event for free just by being at the roadside! And I don’t believe I need to appreciate the marketing mavens who sell the US sports to the masses…that’s their job after all. The fatcats who employ them maybe should appreciate them, but not me.

      • Nancy Says:

        I don’t approve that our political leaders use tax payers money to build stadium and enforced security. But the Olympics are also partially funds with government money and specialized training centers that are built. Also several athletes (National team) are funds by the same way, so they have chance to win a medal at the games. If you work in a pharma and your PhD level coworkers and you had corportate free tickets to a Celtics game, figure out yourself. Better going and try to like basketball for a day…Anyway, you will have the title of weirdo if you are riding your bike everyday to work even in the winter or if you prefer to ride 50-mile with the last 10-mile up to the summer outing.

  12. trounder Says:

    @Mr. Vrooman- I like how you did that, that communism thing there. Totally agree with you: the state (League) owns the means of production (Event schedule, Venues, Copyrights & Trademarks)…it’s a closed control loop. Looking at the results from the outside, people turn a blind eye to the monopolistic control exerted upon individual owners and players inside the League. As long as games are played, fans are entertained, and money changes hands, no one sees a problem with the system.

    I look forward to your next post. From what I understand about the structure of professional cycling, I would say it’s a cross between Feudalism and Anarchy where competing fiefdoms do their best each year to harvest the next crop of advertising largess. Also, some have said that the “Land-of-PRO” is ruled by corrupt Overlords.

    @david- I posted a comment/question for you under GV’s “License to Will” essay regarding women and race licensing. It has a misplaced indefinite article, but don’t hold it against me.

    I like everyone’s passion about the topics at hand: communism in U.S. sports and women in PRO cycling! Awesome!

  13. Brad H. Says:

    Gerard,
    Thank you for the blog and your bikes. I want to apologize to everyone for posting this note out of context, but I feel it’s a last recourse and I am hoping it draws your attention.

    In early September my 2009 RS frame cracked and after reviewing pictures of the break (seat stay) Cervelo agreed to warranty it through my LBS, Excel Sports (Boulder, CO.). I was offered the option to pay for an upgrade to the R3 which I accepted. Unfortunately, it has now been almost two months and three “it will be there by the end of the week”‘s have come and gone. I’m told Cervelo is no longer answering calls or emails from Excel regarding the status of the frame replacement.

    I have been extremely satisfied with Cervelo’s products and was literally sick to my stomach when I realized the frame was broken. It was truly a wonderful bike.

    However, I am greatly concerned and frustrated about how Cervelo is handling this situation and would like to see it resolved quickly. I would very much appreciate your help in this matter.

    Thank you,
    Brad H.

    • Larry T. Says:

      Brad – VN.com has a feature on carbon repairs. If you still have this frame I bet you could get one of those guys to fix it and be back to riding it before the Cervelo folks can get a new one for you –no matter how much you pester Gerard here. Then you can argue at length about a replacement/refund, etc. while you enjoy riding your repaired 2009 RS.

      • Brad H. Says:

        Thanks, Larry. I was going to go this route but was informed it would void the warranty process. Luckily, the new frame arrived late last week. The R3 is an incredible bike.


  14. I think that its an overstatement that the US leagues are emblems of communist economic theory.
    Any union inculding the UCI is an agreement among individuals to not compete on certain areas. With the UCI (who also has monopolistic powers as the representatives of the riders and licenses the teams and races.
    What is different about the models of the NFL etc is that operate together in marketing their sport which cycling has no comparable entity. Well, other than ASO who succeeds with a growing stable of races.
    I’ve been an advocate of changing the structure of pro cycling in the past. My advocacy doesn’t include a wholesale adoption of what the NFL, ABL or other USA Sports “Stadium Sports” Do.
    But what I do believe is that pro cycling should do what they can to learn what these sports are doing that brings them commercial and financial success.
    One of the big things they do is have central and very professional marketing for their sport. This draws more fans and sponsors to the sports.
    I don’t think that pro cycling can be organised along the lines of other pro stadium sports if we did so we would lose much of what makes cycling unique. But what we can do is emulate what has been successful while retaining the traditions of the sport and act in unity for the best interests of the sport and its participants = riders, teams, races and race organizers, fans, media, bike manufacturers and others.
    I characterized pro cycling to a friend eleven years ago as lacking organisation with 30 men at a table arguing over the last piece of pie on the table. When they could have just ordered that more pies be baked.
    Each of the above interested parties has a vested interest in the success of pro racing – they can choose to either continue fighting over control or profits in the sport and continue to be a second rate internationally as a less known, less popular and poorer sport with a fraction of their income potential – or organise and join together to make a bigger pie to share in.
    Many of the problems of the sport are economic More money in the sport would solve many of those problems.
    Including a minimum wage and supporting Womens and U23 teams. Big success would include more sponsors as well, bidding to support teams and races and increased bike sales and use.
    about 12 years ago I discussed this over the next several tears with Wim Van Rossum of the very popular website Cycling4all.com. Wim had a history in Marketing and helped set up the Amstel Gold race while working for Amstel. He always made it clear the sport suffered from a lack of good marketing.
    I say some of this reluctantly as some may have thier ‘feeler’ hurt thinking I’ve insulted the popularity of the sport we love… my only point is that the economic position and visibility of the sport could be improved.
    In the end no sport lives outside the market or market forces.
    I’ll also note here, I would be dissapointed if cycling became organised as NASCAR or the NFL is with disrespect to the traditions and history of the sport.

  15. justacyclist Says:

    Anyone who advances an argument on the basis of “free” markets and “pure” market forces is speaking ideology rather than reality. Markets are not “free” and they are not a natural construct. They are man-made and someone is allowed to make the rules. Excluding women and their sports is not a result of “free” markets or natural market forces.

    • tom hewitt Says:

      “Free markets” consist of voluntary transactions between individuals. Nothing could be more natural.

  16. tom hewitt Says:

    The NFL isn’t really a very good design for cycling to emulate. It’s success, originally based on an extension of the college game, is due in large part to extensive television coverage, a symbiotic relationship with the mass media and GAMBLING, three things that don’t seem to be applicable to cycling. The most astonishing chapter of the NFL story was its abject failure to succeed in Europe, where no one showed up for games and television ratings were abysmal. The experiment cost the wealthy nabobs a little over $30 million a year, parking meter money for those guys, but nonetheless more than they were willing to spend when the NCAA was happy to provide an instructional league for free.

    Increasing the popularity of cycling, at least in the US, is contingent on introducing it in a competitive format to participants at an earlier age. This has been the case with ice hockey, a sport that has grown tremendously in the last twenty years, despite the expenses involved, with players as young as 6 or 7 years old. Yet at higher levels, in the college and professional ranks, hockey remains a niche sport.

    Ultimately, raising the profile of cycling depends on the efforts of those with the closest connections to the business, equipment manufacturers and marketers, race promoters, and competitive riders themselves. It’s important that they demonstrate to ordinary people that bicycling is a legitimate form of cheap transportation, physical fitness and recreation as well as an exciting competitive sport.


  17. I think the UCI is a good organisation – management of amateur sport.
    There is plenty of gambling on bike races around the world especially in Europe; not to mention you can place a bet with a local bookie at the local Kermeeses in Belgium if you like. So gambling is commonality not a difference.
    Collegiate sport is alsos a venue for cycling talent in the USA though a rider will usually come up the club, elite, u23 team to continental team. But it is true that Football is a part of the culture in the USA. making the pro sport a natural extension after college .. as cycling is in Europe.
    Oh and should I name all the races started by the media in Europe? Or the ones that still own and organise races?
    (High on the list would be the tour and Giro.)
    If I were to compare a sport to mimic at a grass roots level it would be Soccer which has grown remarkably in the usa in the past 30 years from an oddity to youth leagues.
    Currently there are High School Mtn bike leagues in North and South California and Colorado – the sport grows at the grass roots so this is great. Bike = cheap transportation = more racing – I don’t see it.
    The most commonn answer from riders I’ve surveyed on how they got started in racing was, “I saw a race and figured I would try that…. or do it… or would be fun..”
    I think cycling grew in the USa in response to Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong victories… and the expansion of media with the internet
    The NFL is a legislated monopoly by our congress. The UCI is a monopoly (as are all country official organisations) due to their association with the International Olympic Committee.
    (I wonder if one can rightly claim that the Olympics is a monopoly as well?) What is clear is that the Olympics is pretty much like the NFL per the above definiiton.
    Cheers

  18. Wilson B Says:

    “But one can say the French let LeTour use the roads all the French taxpayers pay for…”

    Not only that, of course – the towns pay a great deal of (taxpayers’) money to the Tour organisers for the privilege of hosting a stage start or finish.

    More taxpayers’ money will then be spent on resurfacing the roads the riders will use, even when there are other roads around that need attention far more urgently.

    Towns and villages that do this bank on the brief boost to tourism on the day, along with the chance to promote the region and its produce on live TV during the pre-Stage show.

    It’d be interesting to find out whether the expenditure is worth it in financial terms.

    A large part of it all may simply be the “Look, I’m on the telly!” factor, on a grand scale (not just for the townsfolk – there’s also the fact that the mayor who puts in the bid has a chance of getting himself on TV).

    • Larry T. Says:

      Excellent points. The final insult would be if the town then made the taxpayers pony up for tickets to watch the race they paid to come to town. Oh, wait, THAT would be the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc.


  19. True of the French roads. But, its common that the roads are paid by the people in each state and country via taxes – It’s simply a fantasy that cyclists don’t pay for the roads. Cyclists have cars and use them to get to races and work and general taxes that support roads.
    The fact that the local roads are paved or repaired in anticipation of being part of the tour is nothing more than cleaning the stoop and mowing the loan in anticipation of a lot of visitors – its a “best foot forward.”
    The Tour of California was inundated applications for towns to host a start or finish. The rewards go far beyond the visitor count, full hotels and restaurants – inclusion in the Tour or A Grand Tour puts a town on the map and linked to the biggest race in the world – the trophy is establishing your town as a destination not just during the tour. Cities, states, and countries each have chambers of commerce and Visitor Bureau’s to advertise in – its a valid activity and a big bike race is just one more event advertising the virtues of their location.
    Whether its California, France or Italy the travel industry is a huge contributor to the economy and jobs.
    Promotion means to make something known and thought well of.
    It is also: advertising designed increase a public’s knowledge, liking or desire for a product or service.
    Every time I watch the Grand Tours and Classics I find my dream of traveling to Europe increases I want to go to Italy, France etc not only watch the races but to immerse myself in the culture and art. Properly managed it can put a place on the map.
    Unfortunately some of the grand landscapes of California such as the High Sierras (Yosemite, Sequia etc) haven’t been shown as they are snowed in until June… I look forward to the road into Yosemite Valley and up to Tuolomne meadows to be part of the route. Be great to see some of the East Siera climbs as well that are as tough as anything Europe has to offer. (Then again I’m from California haha)
    It really pisses me off when the rich pro football and basketball teams come asking for money to build their palaces from our cities… they got enough money to pay for their own stadii. I and other tax payers shouldn’t have to shoulder the expense… and then pay outrageous prices to go to a game. what an insult.

    • tom hewitt Says:

      “Whether its California, France or Italy the travel industry is a huge contributor to the economy and jobs.”

      That’s a frequently made assertion to justify almost every event, the Super Bowl, NCAA basketball final four and ultimately the Olympic games. We never see any numerical proof of it. Big shots fly into town for the Super Bowl on the morning of the game and are gone by midnight. College basketball junkies sleep on a shirt-tail relative’s floor and eat at McDonald’s during the final four. One exception is the US Open golf tournament because high rollers leave their wives at home with the credit card and stay for a week. Logically, if the owner of a motel, pizza parlor or saloon in a town where a bike race spends a couple of days anticipates increased business, it seems pretty unlikely that he’s going to hire any permanent employees just because of that weekend. He might see an increase in business, certainly it’s not a negative depending on location, but it’s not necessarily a gold mine either. And any business unrelated to hospitality, supermarkets, hardware stores and other retail businesses probably won’t be affected at all. Solvang, California has decided not to host their time trial stage in the Tour of California because they simply couldn’t afford the organizer’s demands.


      • Good points Tom.
        When there are studies done on economic impact by the race or state I publish them.
        There is always a question on how accurate these studies are regarding the attendance (usually done by the police who do crowd and traffic control); and economic impact done by the local Chamber of Commerce (or the race organisation) based on hotel rooms rented, restaurants and the taxes increased around the event.
        For a small town it can be significant – but more importantly the long term benefit for a location can be simply that it becomes better known as a location.
        The benefit/cost to any location has to be evaluated by the city hwhether they want to continue to support the race or not.
        The good news on Solvang is that they wanted to continue as they were happy with the benefit. The bad news was the Tour of California raised the cost beyond what Solvang could commit to. Only time will tell if the ToCA made a mistake but they had other cities willing t pay the price waiting in line even though they might have bent their own rules in support of Solvang who has shown tremendous loyalty over the years.
        Having said that, there are other reasons (and benefits accrued) not easily seen over economic impact; perhaps more people will take up riding and be healthier or just civic pride.
        Billins get spent each year by countries who win the bid for the Olympics. The most recent being China and the comning event in London. For China more support for cycling and racing was generated.
        Cities and courntries spend a lot of money foolishly but each of them have a marketing division to sell themselves as a good place to live in, visit and do business in. A bike race is probably one of the least expensive and possibly the one with the greatest return.
        Something in this are piqued my interest yesterday.
        I went to look at the UCI site to see if they had documents or pages educating potential sponsors to support teams or races with raw marketing data showing the cost benefits of both. I found nothing.
        (If I’m wrong please let me know.)
        This is a huge oversight. They should have “scientific” marketing studies on both that could draw more sponsorship of both. Perhaps with quotes from companies who have sponsored both on the benefits derived from the marketing divisions of those entities.
        Ths would give a marketing division of other companies not involved to get involved in the sport at some level.
        Usually we only see this when a sponsor leaves the market where there might be a statement from the sponsor on its value as Saturn car company when they left the sport.
        Currently as cities become choked with traffic and due to health concerns (due to the costs to most socialized medicine) national and city governments are justifying financial support – just hoping it will cut down on the runaway cost of medical care. I don’t any studies have been done on the effectiveness of this marketing program. After all racing isn’t commuting.
        For example British cycling is supported off of proceeds from their national lottery.
        You can’t run any business without marketing your product.
        Pro racing is a product.
        Perhaps if there were a unified approach in marketing of the sport by an organisers group, teams and the UCI we might see an increase of money that would fund more teams and even Women’s teams so that they could afford minimum pay.
        Last word, and I apologise for going on so long – A friend told me that almost any local town fair has a bike race… this is a huge contributor to cycling’s success in the area – its also a perfect point at the grass roots level to grow the sport into becoming a part of the local culture and nationally. It’s also a good way to bring the sport to a location where there are already crowds gathered. The sport has grown in the usa in the past twenty years but it wasn’t by design it was much of a happy accident – Marketing and promotion are done by design to grow a market – and something missing from most of the official organisations in support of the teams and race organisers. Of course this is just my opinion but I think were missing a great opportunity to share the sport with others.


        • I wish there was an “edit” function for comments.
          I was speaking of Belgium regarding the races – almost every local town has a fair and a Kermeese is a part of that fair. Thousands of riders and national teams go to Belgium to race to develop their teams as they can race 4 to six days a week. Not like that here in the USA.
          A
          I searched “Tour de Georgia Economic Impact” on google and got these links:
          The Tour of Georgia was supported by the Travel Bureau with a 1 million dollar grant
          The 2008 Tour de Georgia pumped $38.6 million directly into the state’s economy, a 40 percent increase over 2007.
          Economic impact links:
          Impact Study from Bureau of Business Research:
          http://www.bbred.org/reports/tourdegeorgia09.pdf
          http://www.tourdegeorgia.com/
          http://www.bikingbis.com/blog/_archives/2008/5/30/3720040.html

          Now imagine the UCI having a site or publishing a section on Why Sponsor a team or race with an overview of team and race sponsorship with detailed studies like the one above from the Bureau of Business research.
          Including lists of teams and current races….
          Tom I’ll give you one thing, having the tour might not have created many permanent jobs…. But If the race increased other vacation trips it just may have had a long term impact creating jobs.
          It did however create jobs for the European and American teams who rode in the race.
          Cheers
          vaughn

  20. Larry T. Says:

    Whatever happened to this Gerard fellow? His post of October 27 promised a first-hand explanation of how pro cycling teams are financed and run – but so far, zip. Mr. Vroomen, are you out there?

  21. Larry T. Says:

    http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/11/news/future-in-doubt-for-womens-garmin-cervelo-team_198595

    Might explain the big silence from the blogger about women’s teams, financing, etc.? He’s been absent for almost a month now.

  22. Tim H Says:

    I think your premise is flawed Gerard. The major US pro sports agree as a group to compete against each other, and to try to keep that competition competitive when large markets go up against smaller markets. This model makes more money for everyone involved, and therefore more successful than NY domination all the sports, with the best players, all the time. There is not an outside party forcing legislation upon them, and they can change the arrangements whenever and however they wish.

    Cycling is also not as much of a team sport from the fan perspective as pro sports. Most pro teams are supported from a local geographic area. This hardly applies to pro cycling.


  23. Gerard, the NFL is shocking in its socialism. The benefits that accrue from television rights to “poor” teams (like Green Bay, a city of 104,000) compared to rich teams (New York serves a market of 8.4 million people) is astounding.

    The NFL understands that success comes from collusion and socialism. But is that best for the sport?


    • Maybe if you view the NFL as pro wrestling with a ball, it makes more sense?

      The one thing the NFL has going for it through its redistribution is that there are no dynasties. Even if your favorite team is in the basement, within a few years it can make the play-offs and even the Superbowl. That keeps people engaged.

  24. Calvin S Says:

    A little late to the party here…There are some major benefits to the viewer if pro cycling took some hints from American TV. NASCAR is one of the most popular sports on American TV, not because all Americans enjoy 43 of the same car running oval-shaped tracks. Commentary, camera angles and rigging, personalities, and visual aids to help the viewer get more out of their free weekend TV time- that’s what makes sports better on American TV. I love Cycling, have raced for years, and I can’t watch a pro cycling event start to finish on television. It needs some life breathed into it. Am I the only one who finds every cycling commentator drab?


    • Hi Calvin, indeed there is something to learn from sports like NASCAR. I am a strong believer in cycling’s own strengths, so we shouldn’t fully “nascardize” the sport, but we should always look for inspiration outside of our little bubble.


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