Bike racing not ready for American primetime? BS!

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Matt O'Toole, Sep 28, 2003.

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  1. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

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  2. Mark Weaver

    Mark Weaver Guest

    "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > For anyone who doubts bike racing could have a future on American
    television,
    > read this from Bicycling this month:
    >
    > http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,5073,5923,00.html?category_id=441
    >
    > The relevent part is the second half.
    >

    If you meant the number of viewers OLN got for the end of the TDF, that was the best case scenario
    and still, while it's great for OLN, it's not exactly the kind of thing that is going to make the
    major networks salivate. And a good thing, too -- if they broadcast the TDF it would suck just like
    major network broadcasts of the Olympics. It would NOT be broadcast in real time and it would
    consist mostly of 'up close and personal' segments about riders overcoming personal tragedies with
    just little bits of actual racing thrown
    in.

    And, after all, what's so great about a bunch of people sitting on their asses on their couches
    watching the pros rather than getting out there and doing it themselves? My kids have played soccer
    for many years and like it a lot but they, like most Americans, don't particularly want to watch it
    on TV. And when you stop to think about it, isn't that really the ideal? Playing sports rather than
    watching somebody else get paid to do it for you?

    Mark
     
  3. radracer

    radracer New Member

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    to Weaver... Do you live in a hole? Us Americans are phat phucks who do sit on the couch and watch paid athlete's. I sure as hell would love to see bike racing on TV cause then maybe i would get a little more respect from non cyclists for doing what i do. Then maybe there would be more decent paying Pro teams and much better riders. Ever think about that? Some kid somewhere probably watched some of the tour and saw the big crowds and will grow up to be a tour winner.
     
  4. Kaiser

    Kaiser Guest

    Matt,

    be careful what you wish for. Mark hit the nail right on the head. If you in any way think that
    current OLN coverage is inferior to the CBS and ABC coverage of the 80's, then you really need some
    mental help.

    Just be happy that you have live coverage.

    Does anyone remember those terribly painful Pierre Salinger spots on French culture? Pierre Salinger
    was Kennedy's ambassador to France, so he MUST know something about the TDF, right? UGH!!!!!!

    "Mark Weaver" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > For anyone who doubts bike racing could have a future on American
    > television,
    > > read this from Bicycling this month:
    > >
    > > http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,5073,5923,00.html?category_id=441
    > >
    > > The relevent part is the second half.
    > >
    >
    > If you meant the number of viewers OLN got for the end of the TDF, that was the best case scenario
    > and still, while it's great for OLN, it's not exactly the kind of thing that is going to make the
    > major networks salivate. And a good thing, too -- if they broadcast the TDF it would suck just
    > like major network broadcasts of the Olympics. It would NOT be broadcast in real time and it would
    > consist mostly of 'up close and personal' segments about riders overcoming personal tragedies with
    > just little bits of actual racing thrown
    > in.
    >
    > And, after all, what's so great about a bunch of people sitting on their asses on their couches
    > watching the pros rather than getting out there and doing it themselves? My kids have played
    > soccer for many years and like it a lot but they, like most Americans, don't particularly want to
    > watch it on TV. And when you stop to think about it, isn't that really the ideal? Playing sports
    > rather than watching somebody else get paid to do it for you?
    >
    > Mark
     
  5. Metalleg

    Metalleg Guest

  6. Deeznuts

    Deeznuts Guest

    "Mark Weaver" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > And when you stop to think about it, isn't that really the ideal? Playing sports rather than
    > watching somebody else get paid to do it for you?
    >
    > Mark

    No. I like to watch it on TV while I relax.
     
  7. Nick Burns

    Nick Burns Guest

    "Mark Weaver" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > And, after all, what's so great about a bunch of people sitting on their asses on their couches
    > watching the pros rather than getting out there and doing it themselves? My kids have played
    > soccer for many years and like
    it
    > a lot but they, like most Americans, don't particularly want to watch it
    on
    > TV. And when you stop to think about it, isn't that really the ideal? Playing sports rather than
    > watching somebody else get paid to do it for
    you?
    >
    > Mark

    Why "rather than"? I have always been inspired to ride by television presentations of
    cycling events.
     
  8. Karen M.

    Karen M. Guest

    Nick wrote:
    > Why "rather than"? I have always been inspired to ride by television presentations of
    > cycling events.

    Me too! I logged more miles in the 90 minutes between arrival home and the 8 pm evening coverage
    than any other time that month. In my new LA lemon yellow t-shirt, too. --Karen M.
     
  9. Mark Weaver

    Mark Weaver Guest

    "Nick Burns" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Why "rather than"? I have always been inspired to ride by television presentations of
    > cycling events.
    >

    Fair enough -- but that does not seem to be the case with most television viewership of big-time
    sports (which is what we were considering for bike racing). Most viewers seem inspired only to get
    up to fetch another beer and bag of Doritos.

    But also, I take issue with the idea that a sport has only 'made' it when there are small numbers of
    people being paid large sums of money to do it and large numbers passively watching them (at least
    at the time). I *like* the idea that it is possible for soccer participation to be big here and, at
    the same time, for TV viewership to remain small. When will Americans start to care about soccer?
    Actually, they already do -- they just care about playing rather than watching. It'd be fine with me
    if the same stayed true of bike racing.

    Mark
     
  10. Nick Burns

    Nick Burns Guest

    "Mark Weaver" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    > Fair enough -- but that does not seem to be the case with most television viewership of big-time
    > sports (which is what we were considering for bike racing). Most viewers seem inspired only to get
    > up to fetch another beer and bag of Doritos.'

    That is known as "projecting". Stating what you do and then assuming "most others" do the
    same thing.

    >
    > But also, I take issue with the idea that a sport has only 'made' it when there are small numbers
    > of people being paid large sums of money to do it and large numbers passively watching them (at
    > least at the time). I
    *like*
    > the idea that it is possible for soccer participation to be big here and,
    at
    > the same time, for TV viewership to remain small. When will Americans
    start
    > to care about soccer? Actually, they already do -- they just care about playing rather than
    > watching. It'd be fine with me if the same stayed
    true
    > of bike racing.
    >
    > Mark

    Cycling needs the support of passive fans. The reason is that the sport does not exist on a borrowed
    grass field. There is a profound price being paid for all of the hostility that "non-fans" have
    towards cyclists on "their" roads. It makes it more difficult to train and almost impossible to get
    race permits. Maybe you just have not noticed.

    If you had spent at least one day in a place where cycling was generally supported by the community,
    you would understand how important this is.
     
  11. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] corvusdev.com says...
    >
    > "Nick Burns" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > Why "rather than"? I have always been inspired to ride by television presentations of cycling
    > > events.
    > >
    >
    > Fair enough -- but that does not seem to be the case with most television viewership of big-time
    > sports (which is what we were considering for bike racing). Most viewers seem inspired only to get
    > up to fetch another beer and bag of Doritos.
    >
    > But also, I take issue with the idea that a sport has only 'made' it when there are small numbers
    > of people being paid large sums of money to do it and large numbers passively watching them (at
    > least at the time).

    Depends on whom is defining "made it". From the POV of the TV networks, if nobody's watching it, it
    might as well not exist. It wouldn't matter if every person in the country loved to participate in
    it; if they weren't watching it on TV you wouldn't see it broadcast.

    > I *like* the idea that it is possible for soccer participation to be big here and, at the same
    > time, for TV viewership to remain small. When will Americans start to care about soccer? Actually,
    > they already do -- they just care about playing rather than watching.

    Very much true of my daughter: she loves playing it, but gets bored watching it. I, OTOH, like both.
    Not as much as football, but enough that I'm willing to spend money on it.

    > It'd be fine with me if the same stayed true of bike racing.
    >
    > Mark

    Good point.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  12. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Mark Weaver" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > But also, I take issue with the idea that a sport has only 'made' it when there are small numbers
    > of people being paid large sums of money to do it and large numbers passively watching them (at
    > least at the time).

    Absolutely. Unfortunately in America we tend to judge everything by its commercial value
    (including people).

    > I *like* the idea that it is possible for soccer participation to be big here and, at the same
    > time, for TV viewership to remain small. When will Americans start to care about soccer? Actually,
    > they already do -- they just care about playing rather than watching. It'd be fine with me if the
    > same stayed true of bike racing.

    I agree. However, it's sad that kids tend to drop soccer when they go to high school. They get
    sucked into the American football scene. In the circus of American life, it's the "big top," and
    that's what attracts people, more than the sport itself.

    Matt O.
     
  13. Mark Weaver

    Mark Weaver Guest

    "Nick Burns" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Mark Weaver" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >
    > > Fair enough -- but that does not seem to be the case with most
    television
    > > viewership of big-time sports (which is what we were considering for
    bike
    > > racing). Most viewers seem inspired only to get up to fetch another
    beer
    > > and bag of Doritos.'
    >
    > That is known as "projecting". Stating what you do and then assuming "most others" do the
    > same thing.
    >

    Let's not get snippy--I know rather a lot of people who watch but don't play. Don't you?

    >
    > Cycling needs the support of passive fans. The reason is that the sport
    does
    > not exist on a borrowed grass field. There is a profound price being paid for all of the hostility
    > that "non-fans" have towards cyclists on "their" roads. It makes it more difficult to train and
    > almost impossible to get
    race
    > permits. Maybe you just have not noticed.
    >

    Shrug. I manage to put in 100 miles a week or so without experiencing hostility. I don't race, but
    my neighbor does quite a bit. He and his buddies seem to find places to do it -- ditto training (and
    he puts a lot more miles a week than I do). I did watch some of the TDF this year (as I have in the
    past) and enjoyed it, but that's enough bike racing on TV for this year--I can wait until next
    summer for more. It's not just bike racing -- I love to ski and snowboard as well but find televised
    ski races to be a bit on the dull side.

    > If you had spent at least one day in a place where cycling was generally supported by the
    > community, you would understand how important this is.
    >

    People around here support cycling as a means of getting about and getting exercise. There are some
    racers in the area, but hardly anybody who goes to *watch* cycling races (except possibly family
    members of the racers if there's nothing good on TV ;)

    Mark
     
  14. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    > "Mark Weaver" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > But also, I take issue with the idea that a sport has only 'made' it when there are small
    > > numbers of people being paid large sums of money to do it and large numbers passively watching
    > > them (at least at the time).
    >
    > Absolutely. Unfortunately in America we tend to judge everything by its commercial value
    > (including people).
    >
    > > I *like* the idea that it is possible for soccer participation to be big here and, at the same
    > > time, for TV viewership to remain small. When will Americans start to care about soccer?
    > > Actually, they already do -- they just care about playing rather than watching. It'd be fine
    > > with me if the same stayed true of bike racing.
    >
    > I agree. However, it's sad that kids tend to drop soccer when they go to high school. They get
    > sucked into the American football scene. In the circus of American life, it's the "big top," and
    > that's what attracts people, more than the sport itself.

    That would apply to boys, but not to girls. The number of kids participating in all sports tends to
    drop as the kids get older, as some of them discover that they're never going to be as good as
    others, and find that the leagues for older kids don't mandate equal playing time (and coaches don't
    do it either) for all kids.

    The other problem is that many kids are playing soccer almost year 'round from the time they're 6 or
    8 years old, and get burnt out on it by the time they're ready to start high school. As a member of
    the board of directors of my local soccer club, I have many more observations as well, which I won't
    bore you with <grin>.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  15. Ian G Batten

    Ian G Batten Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, kaiser <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Just be happy that you have live coverage.

    It's marvellous to be in France for Le Tour (harder now we have children, because it's usually just
    before the school holidays), because aside from taking in the odd stage you get to watch not just
    the stages live on the TV but the awesome, fascinating, dreadful, brilliant ``Journal de Tour''
    which starts after the podium presentations and continues until they drag the presenters away to be
    replaced by those horrible cute kids and accordians variety shows French TV subsists on. An
    excitable man who looks like a bit like he used to be Bernard Hinault, sometimes joined by the real
    Bernard Hinault, drags anyone who has the slightest relation to the riders (hotel cleaner, say, or
    someone whose name contains a similar number of vowels) in front of those strangely large
    microphones european TV insists on using and ask questions that are impertient, incomprehensible or
    (usually) both.

    ian
     
  16. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "David Kerber" <[email protected]_ids.net> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...

    > > I agree. However, it's sad that kids tend to drop soccer when they go to
    high
    > > school. They get sucked into the American football scene. In the circus of American life, it's
    > > the "big top," and that's what attracts people, more
    than
    > > the sport itself.
    >
    > That would apply to boys, but not to girls.

    What about cheerleading? That's the in-crowd sport for high school girls.

    > The number of kids participating in all sports tends to drop as the kids get older, as some of
    > them discover that they're never going to be as good as others, and find that the leagues for
    > older kids don't mandate equal playing time (and coaches don't do it either) for all kids.

    That's true, but the other sports get displaced by the "big three," and/or lose out when they have
    to compete for funding. When other sports are available, kids participate. Becoming discouraged is a
    problem, but it isn't as big a problem if there are sports for the less athletic kids too -- the
    high schools I went to even had badminton. With all the great athletes going to the high glamour
    sports, the kids left in the badminton squad (for example) could be competitive, and still have fun.

    However, the real problem is that modern kids are couch potatoes. The real competition for sports is
    TV, computers, video games, etc.

    > The other problem is that many kids are playing soccer almost year 'round from the time they're 6
    > or 8 years old, and get burnt out on it by the time they're ready to start high school.

    That's entirely possible.

    > As a member of the board of directors of my local soccer club, I have many more observations as
    > well, which I won't bore you with <grin>.

    Been there, done that too. :)

    Matt O.
     
  17. Mark Weaver <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Shrug. I manage to put in 100 miles a week or so without experiencing hostility. I don't race, but
    > my neighbor does quite a bit. He and his buddies seem to find places to do it -- ditto training
    > (and he puts a lot more miles a week than I do).

    Try asking him. Practically everybody in the scene knows of a group training ride that has been
    hassled by motorists/cops, and a race course in danger of being lost because the neighbors complain
    about having to wait a few minutes once a year, etc.

    >I did watch some of the TDF this year (as I have in the past) and enjoyed it, but that's enough
    >bike racing on TV for this year--I can wait until next summer for more.

    > People around here support cycling as a means of getting about and getting exercise. There are
    > some racers in the area, but hardly anybody who goes to *watch* cycling races (except possibly
    > family members of the racers if there's nothing good on TV ;)

    If you enjoy watching a bike race on TV, why not go see one live? Sure, it is not the big leagues,
    but it is live. Like the way that going to see a small college ball game is more immediate than
    watching the major league playoffs on TV.
     
  18. Mark Weaver

    Mark Weaver Guest

    "Benjamin Weiner" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Mark Weaver <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > Shrug. I manage to put in 100 miles a week or so without experiencing hostility. I don't race,
    > > but my neighbor does quite a bit. He and his buddies seem to find places to do it -- ditto
    > > training (and he puts a
    lot
    > > more miles a week than I do).
    >
    > Try asking him. Practically everybody in the scene knows of a group training ride that has been
    > hassled by motorists/cops, and a race course in danger of being lost because the neighbors
    > complain about having to wait a few minutes once a year, etc.
    >

    I do talk to him a lot about his riding -- it's just not a big problem around here. We've got quite
    a lot of miles of country road around here that don't have heavy traffic and one scenic drive along
    the river in particular that is heavily used by bikes, has 'share the ride' signs along the way and
    a 35 mph speed limit. Not to say no car ever drives too fast or passes too close, but overall, it's
    quite workable.

    >
    > If you enjoy watching a bike race on TV, why not go see one live? Sure, it is not the big leagues,
    > but it is live. Like the way that going to see a small college ball game is more immediate than
    > watching the major league playoffs on TV.
    >

    Why not? Uh, well, I'm really just not that interested in *watching* -- I'd rather go out and ride.
     
  19. Raptor

    Raptor Guest

    Ian G Batten wrote:
    > In article <[email protected]>, kaiser <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>Just be happy that you have live coverage.
    >
    >
    > It's marvellous to be in France for Le Tour (harder now we have children, because it's usually
    > just before the school holidays), because aside from taking in the odd stage you get to watch not
    > just the stages live on the TV but the awesome, fascinating, dreadful, brilliant ``Journal de
    > Tour'' which starts after the podium presentations and continues until they drag the presenters
    > away to be replaced by those horrible cute kids and accordians variety shows French TV subsists
    > on. An excitable man who looks like a bit like he used to be Bernard Hinault, sometimes joined by
    > the real Bernard Hinault, drags anyone who has the slightest relation to the riders (hotel
    > cleaner, say, or someone whose name contains a similar number of vowels) in front of those
    > strangely large microphones european TV insists on using and ask questions that are impertient,
    > incomprehensible or (usually) both.

    That would be really fun and informative to watch. Once.

    --
    --
    Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall "I'm not proud. We really haven't done everything we
    could to protect our customers. Our products just aren't engineered for security." --Microsoft VP in
    charge of Windows OS Development, Brian Valentine.
     
  20. Ian G Batten <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > In article <[email protected]>, kaiser <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> Just be happy that you have live coverage.
    >
    > It's marvellous to be in France for Le Tour (harder now we have children, because it's usually
    > just before the school holidays), because aside from taking in the odd stage you get to watch not
    > just the stages live on the TV but the awesome, fascinating, dreadful, brilliant ``Journal de
    > Tour'' which starts after the podium presentations and continues until they drag the presenters
    > away to be replaced by those horrible cute kids and accordians variety shows French TV subsists
    > on. An excitable man who looks like a bit like he used to be Bernard Hinault, sometimes joined by
    > the real Bernard Hinault, drags anyone who has the slightest relation to the riders (hotel
    > cleaner, say, or someone whose name contains a similar number of vowels) in front of those
    > strangely large microphones european TV insists on using and ask questions that are impertient,
    > incomprehensible or (usually) both.
    >
    > ian
    >
    >
    Exactly, and I saw 4 stages this year on TV2 and was more fill than racing, mainly because the
    racing at times is, well boring, so they fill in with Hinault and others chatting endlessly...some
    of it is interesting but as you point out the hotel cleaner has little to add save what he saw in
    the trash cans. I thought that OLN generally did a good job in their summerized version of focusing
    on the nub of the action.
     
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