Now Eurosport to launch cycling 'vertical' in Spain
Eurosport, the Discovery-owned pan-European pay-TV operator, plans to launch a so-called cycling ‘vertical’ in Spain, with the aim of centralising the online rights of more than 30 races that it will broadcast this year.
The vertical could also include an app enabling viewers to compete virtually over stages of the races with the professionals, plus e-commerce opportunities.
Fernando Ruiz, the sports director of Eurosport in Spain, told Palco23: “It's a very universal sport practised by millions of people and we see a very strong potential."
Ruiz added that the broadcaster wants consumers to see that “not only do we broadcast cycling, but we can go much further, and we hope that this closeness also attracts brands. In today's world you cannot stay linear, since the digital aspect and presence are very important.”
Eurosport also plans to add content more associated with lifestyle and amateur riders, such as tutorials on nutrition and training, and videos analysing bicycles and other products.
In January, Discovery stepped up its commitment to digital cycling content by acquiring a controlling stake in Play Sports Group, the UK-based company that operates various online channels dedicated to the sport.
Discovery increased its shareholding in Play Sports Group from 20 per cent to 71 per cent. Under the deal, Play Sports Group, which now runs eight channels, including Global Cycling Network, Global Mountain Bike Network and Global Triathlon Network, providing insight on technology, training tips, tutorials and behind the scenes content, became a direct subsidiary of Discovery.
Discovery’s additional investment in Play Sports Group formed part of a wider strategy to develop streaming services for sports with large followings.
This was demonstrated by the recent launch of GolfTV, a live and on-demand golf streaming service featuring events from USA’s PGA Tour, the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour that is intended to be the go-to digital destination for fans of the sport.
Eurosport and Eurosport Player, its direct-to-consumer OTT subscription service, already offer extensive coverage of major events including the Olympic Games, tennis’ four grand slams and men’s ATP Tour, various European soccer leagues, Six Nations rugby union, the FIS Ski World Championships, MotoGP and Formula E in various markets.
In the coming year, Eurosport will show more than 35 UCI World Tour events as part of a cycling output adding up to 200 days and 2,500 hours across its linear TV channels and Eurosport Player.