Velon announce game changing 10 year agreement with Infront Sports & Media
New agreement unlocks investment and expertise that will see Velon taking the lead in delivering the full athlete experience to fans in a never-before-seen way.
Today Velon announces that it has entered into a revolutionary partnership with Infront Sports & Media, the leading international sports marketing company. The deal will give Velon access to Infront's market leading technology, media production and sports marketing expertise and enable Velon to build a long term and sustainable economic model for the sport, its teams and riders. The first phase of the partnership will enable live race data to revolutionise the fan experience.
This 10 year agreement is a significant step towards Velon achieving its core goals of, which include:
● Bringing fans closer to the riders, races and teams through technical and media solutions.
● Aggregating the rights of 11 of the biggest teams to improve the financial stability of the sport and thus benefit their staff and riders.
Infront are now Velon's strategic partner across all of Velon's new and existing business opportunities; they have also been tasked with growing the commercial revenues/revenue streams with Velon and work with key partners including event organisers, their partners and the UCI.
Initially this agreement will provide investment into a technology solution to bring the racing alive in an innovative and meaningful new way for the fans. In order to provide the broadest array of expertise, Infront also involves its subsidiaries Host Broadcast Services (HBS) and Omnigon. The agreement will result in the ability for bikes to carry the necessary technology to live stream performance data and video to feed into the race coverage.
This is pivotal to a core goal of Velon, bringing fans closer to the riders, races and teams, enhancing their experience in following cycling while also growing the core fan base of the sport through this exciting development.
Data capture will include various streams, however what will be publically visible is subject to the outcomes of our discussions with all stakeholders (teams, riders, event organisers, the UCI, broadcasters etc.).
This data will be aggregated, interpreted and made available to race organisers for their broadcasters for use in the race coverage. Data will be handled sensitively so as to respect rider privacy rights and will use filters to ensure that live usage does not deliver a competitive advantage or disadvantage during a race.
On the subject of live streaming data from bikes, Graham Bartlett, CEO of Velon commented:
"We are delighted to be partnered with Infront Sports & Media. Our partnership enables us to make a major step forward to enable data to be shared with fans and it is going to be fantastic. Just imagine how great it will be for fans to see the performance of the riders as they follow races on their screens or see them at the race. This is something that has been available in other sports and now we're bringing it to cycling so fans can better engage with the riders and get a much better experience."
"This agreement is a milestone in the world of cycling and sports in general. Through this agreement we will improve the quality of our product and become more attractive on the international sports scene while increasing our exposure. Velon is working seriously on this important project that is an important signal of cohesion and willingness to work together, to develop our sport and bring it to the level of other major sports that use technology as a function of their product's growth. I am sure that this project will allow us in the near future to explore and unlock new commercial revenues streams of which all stakeholders involved will benefit", said Patrick Lefevere, Etixx – Quick-Step's CEO.
Also Marcel Kittel, one of the best riders in the world, showed his enthusiasm for this new agreement: "After last year's "on-board camera" project, this deal is a further step in making cycling a sport that is increasingly accessible to fans, with wider exposure and appeal. On this matter, the use of technology is definitely a revolution in the world of cycling. With this new digital platform, fans can really take a peek inside the heart of the peloton and follow the race like never before. Our sport will become more accessible and more comprehensible. It's a good sign also for the riders. Together with Velon we can move forward and be an important part of this process to develop our sport."
In order to realise the technology and data solution, Velon is now:
● Engaging with fans - With Infront we are now embarking on a project to create the ideal platform for all cycling fans to provide a unique experience during live racing with everything they want to know, see and understand.
● Consulting with teams - We are also working with the teams and their riders to share more key rider data that the fans can relate to; riders really want to get their data out as it aids transparency and believability in their abilities and accomplishments, but we fully understand the need for race and rider sensitivity to makes sure neither are compromised in any way.
● Working with race organisers - We are also working on agreements with race organisers. We will partner with them on this exciting new development to grow their event and create more value together.
● Working with race organisers and broadcasters - We will be working with both race organisers and broadcasters on the best solution to provide this information in a meaningful way to the fans through the media.
● Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) - Finally, we will of course be working closely with the UCI, the governing body, which has been strongly advocating increased technology. We will be working with them in particular to ensure that this initiative fits within the UCI's regulatory framework.
Graham Bartlett - CEO of Velon said:
"This is an incredibly exciting announcement. We have spent over a year investigating potential partners that understood our goals and could assist us in achieving them. Infront Sports & Media have a vast amount of experience in this area and will be pivotal in developing a sustainable and long term future for pro-cycling."
Stephan Herth, Executive Director of Infront Sports & Media, commented on the agreement: "Cycling is a key sport in Infront's long-term strategy and also an important pillar of the wider Wanda Sports Holding business. We are therefore proud to partner with Velon in revolutionizing the cycling experience of the fans, as well as the way that the sport is positioned and marketed in the digital sphere. Involving also our subsidiaries HBS and Omnigon, we will provide an extensive array of in-house marketing, production and digital experience to Velon, as we fully share the teams' vision: to engage and grow the global cycling community, enhance the perception of the sport, and ensure long-term economic stability."
Velon is a business venture formed by pro-cycling teams in 2014 to foster long term stability for its members and the sport. It is wholly owned and controlled equally by the 11 shareholding teams. Headquartered in the UK, the commercial organisation was founded by BMC Racing Team, Etixx - Quick-Step, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Soudal, Orica GreenEDGE, Cannondale Pro Cycling Team, Team Giant-Alpecin, Team LottoNL - Jumbo Pro Cycling Team, Team Sky, Tinkoff, Trek-Segafredo.
Visit www.velon.cc for more information.
About Infront Sports & Media
Infront Sports & Media is the most respected sports marketing company in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production and event operation – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football, summer and endurance sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with 170 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of more than 900 experienced staff working from over 35 offices across more than 15 countries, delivering 4,100 event days of top class sport around the world every year. In November 2015, Infront was integrated into Wanda Sports Holding, part of the Chinese conglomerate the Dalian Wanda Group.
Visit www.infrontsports.com for more information.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele