Velon, GoPro and Cameras

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I’ve already wrote a post about cameras and bicycle racing.  But it was an article about how the UCI DQ’d a cyclocross rider that streamed a race live from his bike.  I still don’t know the rule that the guy broke, but there must be one.

And then along come Velon.  Velon is a group of World Tour teams that have tried to gain some clout against all the evil forces of the sport, ie. the UCI, and ASO.  Velon has been trying to figure out a way to leverage some television dollars for the teams.  Velon’s mission statement, as of now –

“Velon wants to create a new economic for the sport and bring fans closer to the riders, races, and teams – by working together and in partnership with others.”

So they did this in a round-about way.  They signed a partnership with Infront, an international multi media sports marketing company, that has very deep pockets.  Infront dwarfs the UCI and ASO, owner of the Tour de France.

And now Velon has signed a two year deal with GoPro, to stream onboard media footage from the riders bikes.  Velon seems to have claimed the “ownership” of the onboard media just because they feel they can.  I find that interesting.

I’m wondering how just last year that the UCI disqualifies an individual rider for streaming media from a UCI cyclocross event and then all these World Tour Teams, sign their own camera deal and agree to stream media from their bikes.  It seems to me that the UCI thought they owned the rights to this media.  If not the UCI then the races themselves, the ASO.

I wondering when ASO sells the TV rights to the Tour or Tour of California, or other events the ASO owns, do they now feel they have to deal with Velon to buy the onboard camera footage?

What about teams that are racing the events and don’t belong to Velon.  Velon is just 11 teams. Can those guys have their own cameras and then sell the footage to whoever?  It seems to me that it is a sticky situation.  Maybe not?  Maybe they have all figure it all out.  I haven’t seen it in print if that is the case.

Anyway, I like the onboard footage.  I think that watching bicycle racing live is a thousand times more exciting that viewing it on a screen.  Onboard footage seems more realistic than other views.  It is going to be interesting seeing how this all plays out.

I guess none of the Shimano sponsored Velon teams has a deal with Shimano to use their cameras. Everyone is now going to be using GoPro.

I guess none of the Shimano sponsored Velon teams has a deal with Shimano to use their cameras. Everyone is now going to be using GoPro.

Tucker points just about anything that flies.  I bet he'd like his own onboard camera.  I'd like to see that footage.

Tucker points just about anything that flies. I bet he’d like his own onboard camera. I’d like to see that footage.





20 thoughts on “Velon, GoPro and Cameras

  1. Bill Laudien

    You know the silly thing they always say during football games….” …no recreation or rebroadcast without the expressed written consent of the NFL…” that’s what’s going to happen here. For sure.

    The events rightfully own the broadcast rights to their events. And for those who haven’t protected their rights, they will once this gains any sort of traction.

    The only hope for the sport as a whole, is to switch to less of a soccer style/auto racing format , to a format where the races and racers are all part of the same league/cooperative. The ASO is sooo close to being able to do that.

  2. Jim

    It is probably only me with this view but I really do not understand the fascination with “coverage” from on the bike. Unless something of note happens (which does occasionally occur), I think the two dimensional view is beyond boring. We all know what it looks like when riding in a pack. I don’t need a camera for that.
    I would never sit and watch a race from an on board camera.
    OTOH, the “rights” to who can broadcast it does make an interesting case.
    Just my $.02

  3. Steve Tilford Post author

    Jim-I agree, but the view from the onboard camera does show the speed and corners much better. I wouldn’t want to watch the whole race from this view, but flashing to it every once in awhile reminds the viewer of the conditions the riders are experiencing.

  4. Mike

    With your handyman skills, I think you can rig up a camera mount for Tucker’s harness. Do it and pls share the video.

  5. KrakatoaEastofJava

    I was watching some GoPro footage of RedHook yesterday. The camera loosened up at some point and started oscillating. I had to turn it off to keep from upchucking.

  6. channel_zero

    Ahhh, but we don’t know who controls the broadcast rights. Does the UCI own some? We can assume ASO owns theirs. This part of the sport is very secretive as real money is involved.

    One of the longest interviews Verbruggen gave before his temporary exile was about media rights and the UCI’s efforts to control them.

    The bottom line here is the sport’s minder’s are perfectly willing to exchange growth in viewers for money. As a result, most IOC sports, they are becoming increasingly irrelevant with an aging demographic.

  7. Randy Legeai

    The UCI had a rule that required advance permission in order to use a camera on a bike in a race. I believe that rule was changed for 2016 so that permission is no longer required.

  8. jinglenuts

    I think its about time that riders stick up the finger and say – F yah… start riding underground/grass root races… UCI has gotten too big it seems with way way way too much damn bureaucracy… I hate bureaucracy. It just ends up leading to empires that protect themselves and doesn’t do a damn thing to promote the underlying sport etc… when things get too big, the big tree inhibits growth in the forest. I suspect UCI has now become too big with bureaucracy, thus it is critical that underground and grass roots races form like and bike messenger races have evolved. Heck, most of the good races have evolved from small grass root underground races… then, they get too big with bureaucracy. Most notably is La Ruta (, did this race numerous times… it used to be a great race that started by locals, but is now full of disney land and bureaucracy, its no longer fun… its just a race of hamsters without the real excitement of home grown ventures.
    Thus, gotta watch big giants like UCI… for it just becomes a bureaucratic empire that just keeps growing on mindless rules to keep itself afloat… no longer in it for the goodness of growing the sport, but in the goodness of growing itself… Gotta watch that… it eventually self destructs and pulls the whole sport down with it…

  9. Ted

    Tailwind Sports owns the broadcast rights to the Tour of California (since they own the race themselves) – our dear friend Thomas Weasel – via holding companies such as Regal Entertainment Group. The CEO of Amgen – the sponsor of the ToC and oddly enough manufacturer of Epogen – EPO. The structure is really complicated so better to show the chart to connect the dots (listed below) – not sure whether LA is still part of this or not.

    If you have not seen this corporate chart – then you will be amazed

  10. Larry T.

    Breaking news – cameras with live TV feed are already attached to two wheeled vehicles. These have powerful motors so they can zip up to the break or wait for the chase, filming all the while. The camera doesn’t wag back and forth so nobody gets sick while watching. Amazing, no? But the Velons have big ideas about on-board video, something that I think should be used very sparingly – otherwise you have zero idea of what is actually going on in the race! Velon has ONE mission – to get their greedy paws on ASO’s revenue stream while risking pretty much zero themselves. I certainly don’t want pro cycling to turn into a North American type sports franchise system. Who has benefited from this other than the plutocrats who own the teams and the corrupt bodies like the NFL that run the show?

  11. RGTR

    Sounds like you may have read “Utopia of Rules – On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy” by David Graeber. Good read if you haven’t.

  12. channel_zero

    I certainly don’t want pro cycling to turn into a North American type sports franchise system.

    That’s exactly what the UCI is. The national federations maintain a federation of federations. (UCI) They have a worldwide monopoly on bike races.

    And you probably aren’t aware that USA Cycling is owned and operated by one guy, Thom Wiesel.

    It’s a billionaire’s hobby kind of like competitive sailing big, giant boats.

  13. Steve Tilford Post author

    Ted-I am pretty sure ASO bought the Tour of California and it is an ASO race this year. I don’t know if Medalist is running it for them, but it is part of the ASO family now.

  14. jt10000

    “” …no recreation or rebroadcast without the expressed written consent of the NFL…””

    Which isn’t even true. There are fair use rights of the material where it can be reused without permission. Copyright owners can’t just ban that.

  15. Sean YD

    AEG still owns the Amgen Tour of California. The ASO is the race’s operating arm – having taken over this year for Medalist Sports.

  16. Larry T.

    Actually CZ, I;m well aware of all of that – but FRANCHISE is the key. In the NA sports leagues no other teams can be formed unless the current plutocrats OK it. That’s a big difference from the current pro cycling situation and one that Velon and Co would like to change. I’m no fan of the UCI but the only adults in the room at present are ASO, for better or worse.


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