Velon’s Powerplay

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Velon, which is a organization of 11 World Tour Teams, made a deal with Infront media, which they intend to provide live telemetry and on-bike video to someone.  I guess the media.

I see this as the Velon staking a claim to something that was just out there.  I think they are trying to claim it before the media, ASO, or UCI does.  I’m not sure it will work, but it seems like a good play.

I really don’t know who owns a rider’s telemetry.  By telemetry, at this time, they stated that they will provide speed, cadence, power, heart rate, altitude, and acceleration data.  It seems weird that your team can sell the rights to your telemetry.

What if Chris Froome jumped the gun and sold his lifetime telemetry rights last year?  Does he own his telemetry.  Obviously not if this goes through.

And just because Velon got some money from Infront for this, it doesn’t mean that the riders will see a penny of that.  I think this group of World Tour team are looking for a way to get some income, some payback of all their expenses.  As of now, their business model sucks.

It really is an interesting subject.  Does the media, the race, the teams or the riders own the telemetry?  I guess this means that each and every rider will have to ride with a powermeter. Do they all have to use the same one to make the comparisons valid?  Who is going to calibrate these powermeters before each stage?  There are lots of questions to be answered.

Anyway, I’d bet you anything this isn’t over.  There is going to be a problem between the ASO, UCI and Velon.  Infront is a huge, one of the world’s largest sports marketing firms.  They have much deeper pockets than the ASO or UCI.  That is what makes this partnership really interesting.  Maybe since Infront can take these guys to the cleaners financially, they will just roll over and concede this to Velon.  You never know.



Tucker is still a little mixed up on how to get the big sticks in their the pet door.

Tucker is still a little mixed up on how to get the big sticks in their the pet door.

16 thoughts on “Velon’s Powerplay

  1. Joe C

    Nothing is going to change until the pro teams schedule a race during the TdF. Gonna have to break that stranglehold, and start getting more of the TV revenue to the teams, and hopefully the riders. Gotta happen at some point.

  2. Sean YD

    Here is another (as-yet) unanswered question: how do the riders feel about being “wiretapped” in the peloton? Anyone talking close to these cameras can be heard. Some of the most-watched videos were ones with guys shouting. So what happens when an editor of these videos isn’t listening closely and the audio picks up a rider talking about something not fit for broadcast?

  3. Bart

    Riders and teams need to get together and form a riders union then agree on a platform of strength. Next boycott any events whether they be ASO or whoever that isn’t sharing TV and other revenues with the teams and riders. Until this happens the ASO, UCI, etc will hold power over the direction and lives of the riders. Aside from the top tier of “winners” the life span of a rider is short and not very many are adequately paid.

  4. jeffc

    hopefully the riders get some money from this venture… I suspect not though. When big giants come into the industry worry somewhat…
    I much prefer low key underground races to the big stuff now. Too much glamour and hype, the riders aren’t making much money off it all, but the giants are.

    Anyhow, we a have a local that has been creating virtual and live video feeds for some time now… takes feeds and then builds up virtual tours for computrainer etc… (which is really just a resistance load on the wheel)

  5. Jim

    So true. Until the actual players stand up for what they create, their position will never improve.
    Until then, it will be a second rate product.

  6. Touriste-Routier

    Yes, the question of who owns the data must be resolved, but:

    Just because Velon sold the data rights to Infront, doesn’t mean any of the broadcasters will license use of the data from them. While cyclists might geek out about this data, it isn’t necessarily going to grow the audience (which is what is needed to appeal to sponsors).

    The data itself will just be almost meaningless/unrelatable statistics to the mass audience. Unless one rides with a power meter themselves, knowing what the watt output truly means won’t correlate to anything. People can understand speed, because most people in the 1st & 2nd world have been in vehicles with a speedometer, but this info is readily available from motos, radar guns, etc. GPS data and relative time/distance gaps are readily available without data from the riders/teams; it is in use already in some races.

    Considering the vast majority of French Tour de France broadcast viewers (the largest audience) are looking at the scenery, how exactly is this going to help the bottom line of anyone?

  7. Dan

    Selling telemetry data is outrageous, I can believe … oh wait … Tucker photo … no longer outraged or caring about bike stuff .. HE IS SO CUTE!!

  8. Jason Laidlaw

    Technology is a beautiful thing and gives us good insight to what happens when riding our bikes. Having top rides and other hitters in the peloton with telemetry data viewable would be fun to watch and help bolster watchers of other sports give a feel for cycling at the PRO level. Cycling needs to create more interest bottom line.

  9. The Cyclist

    I’d much rather watch ECD than the watts. Would be real cool to see how many get those funny heart rhythms climbing Angliru for example. When can we get that please?

  10. H Luce

    You don’t need a power sensor to calculate power, all you need is speed, cadence, weight of bike and rider, angle of attack (if any), and wind speed and direction.

  11. The Cyclist

    Yo, Luce. You’d most likely also need Cd and A as in Fd = ½p*v^2*Cd*A in addition to the above.

  12. Krakatoa East of Java

    Reminds me of buying a house. When you look at the fine print in the contract, you usually see that all of the gas, oil and mineral rights were sold-off many decades before the developer built anything. You own the right to sit on top of your land, but rarely does anyone in a residential home have the right to dig for gold (or Texas Tea).

  13. Krakatoa East of Java

    Who knows what kind of contracts were already in place with the riders before this deal was cut. Froomie’s agent might have an issue with this if he hadn’t already waived his interest in this kind of stuff. Then again, if you’re working for ME, and I’m paying you, then I would tend to presume that anything you produce while “on the clock” is my property (intellectual or otherwise). That is (of course) unless we have an agreement to the contrary.


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