While trolling [Steephill][steep] this morning (May 16, 2012) in an attempt to watch the [Giro d'Italia][giro] I started thinking about the state of watching cycling in Canada.
Cycling is not a big popular sport in Canada, like say hockey. It’s often hard to find a place to watch cycling. I even tried to give my money to [Universal Sports][uni] but was unable to sign in to their site. In theory if I could have signed in I could have paid them for access to the Giro video. So instead of paying for the content (which I’m happy to do) I’m watching some feed that is scalped.
Now let’s move to the Amgen [Tour of California][atoc]. AToC has a decent iPad app that does live video (though not from race start). It provides photos of the race, standings for each jersey and text updates during the race. It’s a great way to watch AToC, and it’s free. In my opinion the fact that it’s free is the issue.
I’m sure that most of the people using the app to watch AToC would be willing to pay somewhere between $4.99 – $19.99 for access to the live video. AToC would make some more cash and they would prove a business model for the rest of the cycling races.
Hopefully we would see the Giro and the [Tour de France][tdf] follow the same model. I was lucky last year, I was in Ontario at my inlaw’s house and they pay outrageous prices for cable (you know pay for 300 channels for the 2 you want) and had TSN2 so I could watch the Tour.
Would I rather watch all the races free? Sure, free is a decent price but if we want to continue to watch cycling in Canada then we need to make sure it gets paid for. Would I rather pay one place (I already have a [Cycling.tv][cytv] membership) than many apps from all the races, oh yes. I just doubt that the big races will work together to make sure that the fans have a good experience. To me they seem like the big media companies, making it as hard as possible to give them money for their content. Hey after an hours trying to pay Universal I just gave up, they seem to not really want my cash.
[steep]: http://www.steephill.tv/ “Steephill”
[tdf]: http://www.letour.fr/us/index.html “Le Tour de France”