Reforms to Increase Popularity of Pro Cyclists and Serious Athletes
It has been a year since CIRC (Cycling Independent Reform Commission) reported the professional cycling governance failure to the Union Cyclist International (cycling governing body). This is to bring up the long era of scandal and address past issues so this sport could start for a stronger and hopeful future.
Over the years, cycling faced great challenge which includes cheating scandals and doping strings. This has significantly affected its reputation which scared potential sponsors, turned off fans and tarnished its public reputation. This can be attributed to the absence of the sport’s powerful central organizing body, leading to its uncoordinated governance, erratic changes in team structure and overlapping events.
However, all these challenges did not stopped cycling’s resilient popularity. And spin bikes are still very useful for pro-cyclists and serious athletes alike in maintaining their peak fitness during off season. In fact, this sport has around 3 billion spectators worldwide watching Tour de France. This has made cycling ranked as the third most watched sport which is next to soccer and the Olympics in popularity. If properly marketed and organized, its international fan can expand significantly. According to CIRC, it only needs experienced business management and structural changes for pro-cycling to flourish. This will give birth to greater growth as well as profitability to athletes, organizers and teams.
Among the planned reforms include:
- Addressing cheating and doping issues through ethics training program.
- New professional certification model.
- Creation of new global sponsorship model having exclusive rights.
- Conduct more important but fewer events.
- Making of a new league structure which consists of 15 to level professional teams.
- Giving significant amount of money for the prize, refocusing the fan’s attention to individual championship and season long team.
- Exploring modern technologies for a more engaging television content for the fans.
The opportunity to tap true entertainment which will increase cycling’s financial potential is huge. And restructuring this sport’s governance as well addressing its key action terms will be a good way to start its reform.
The best example for such reform is China’s Wanda Group. With the purchase of Ironman Triathron in 2015, a huge step was taken into endurance athletics in 2015. Currently, it owned Lagardere Sports Holdings which includes Hamburg Classics World Tour and amateur sport rides series which are UCI- affiliated. Today, it is known as Wanda Group and has approached Giro d”Italia and ASO owner RCS Sports. Wanda Group has great potential to take the helm as well as point to a new direction. It does not hope to replace UCI as well as its Olympic charter but it runs as a free organization, focusing on all the needed sport disciplines and governance issues. And this is what all cycling organizations which to become.