By deepening its long-term relationship with the UCI, Discovery will harness its global scale, extensive media platforms and promotion expertise to help grow cycling around the world.
Under the agreement, signed at the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin, the management, TV production and distribution of the new UCI series will be entrusted to Global Cycling Network (GCN) in collaboration with Eurosport’s dedicated event promotions division, Eurosport Events, for an initial term of eight years. The partnership will ensure extensive international exposure for the new UCI Track Cycling World League via Discovery channels and platforms including Eurosport, the number one sports destination in Europe, and GCN the world’s number one cycling media brand.
The new UCI circuit has a short, dynamic and attractive format that is perfectly suited to the needs of TV and the expectations of viewers. It aims to make track cycling more accessible and to open it up to new audiences who enjoy the spectacle of high-quality sport.
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The competitions programme for the new UCI league features four events for men and women: individual sprint, keirin, elimination race and scratch race. The inaugural season will run from November 2021 to February 2022, following the 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, and will comprise of six rounds, each running for around two hours.
The nine best-placed riders in each of the new league’s four events at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships will gain selection for the competition. Where the same riders place in the top nine in more than one event, the UCI will issue wildcards to fill the vacant places.
Participants will wear jerseys inspired by their national flags, while the newly crowned UCI world champions will sport their new rainbow jerseys for the occasion.
The events in the new UCI Track Cycling World League will:
- Enable participants to collect UCI points according to a points scale similar to that used at the UCI World Championships;
- Allow riders finishing in the top three in each event in the circuit’s final overall standings to qualify by name for the event in question at the UCI World Championships (but only if their nation does not qualify);
- Allow riders to compete for attractive prize pots on top of their participation bonuses.
As of 2021, the UCI International Track Cycling Calendar will be structured around the following major competitions:
- The UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup, comprised of three rounds held between March and September
- The UCI Track Cycling World Championships, held in October, after the UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup
- The new UCI Track Cycling World League, which will run from November to February
President, Eurosport and Global Sports Rights & Sports Marketing Solutions, Andrew Georgiou, said: “We are excited to deepen our longstanding relationship with the UCI and go even further to grow the sport across Europe. Eurosport Events is an increasingly important strategic offer within our business, affording rights-holders the opportunity to build and strengthen their event portfolios globally.
“The partnership with the UCI demonstrates what the scale and expertise of the wider Discovery family can offer partners in sport, providing both highly localised content to the widest variety of audiences as well as offering unrivalled expertise, analysis and storytelling from the best experts. Combining this strength in cycling with Eurosport Events’ promotional know-how and the global scale of Discovery’s channels and platforms, including Eurosport and GCN, we are confident we will build the UCI Track Cycling World League into a huge success. As Home of the Olympics in Europe, Discovery and Eurosport look forward to continuing to champion the riders who will be the stars of the velodrome all the way to Paris 2024.”
UCI President David Lappartient: “I am thrilled and delighted that Discovery will be by our side to help launch and promote our new Track Cycling World League. Their expertise and recognised know-how in the fields of organisation and TV production and broadcasting will contribute significantly to the development and popular appeal of track cycling.
“With this new UCI circuit, the discipline will have a packed and attractive annual calendar that offers variety and will meet the expectations of new audiences while also appealing to existing cycling fans. Along with our new partner, we will grow the appeal of track cycling beyond the Olympic Games, where it has been on the programme since the very first Games of the modern era, in 1896.”
Eurosport has pioneered cycling coverage for millions of passionate fans around the world by broadcasting the UCI Track Cycling World Cup and World Championships to growing audiences for more than 25 years. With over 2,500 hours of coverage across 200 days of live cycling from more than 110 professional events, Eurosport is firmly established as the ‘Home of Cycling’ in Europe and has strengthened this position with the full integration of GCN’s expertise and talent into its coverage and content. Eurosport offers fans the largest portfolio of cycling events on the planet, bringing premium cycling content directly to fans however they choose to watch.
GCN is part of Play Sports Group, whose brands serve 8.2 million followers and reach 100 million monthly viewers. Launched in 2013, GCN quickly gained a reputation for creating ground-breaking fan-first digital content that combines a love of cycling with expert analysis and unparalleled access to professional riders. It has built up a community of almost two million passionate subscribers on YouTube by delivering content directly to its audience, via smartphone, computer, tablet or television, to be consumed whenever and wherever. Discovery acquired a majority stake in Play Sports Group in January 2019.
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