Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), the global media and entertainment giant, has outlined a range of new sub-licensed media rights partners for cycling’s 2023 Mountain Bike World Series, which began its main European swing yesterday (May 11).

WBD holds global promotion and coverage rights to the series through an eight-year deal with cycling’s UCI governing body. The heavyweight was tasked at that time with “deploying its extensive assets and expertise … to elevate mountain biking to the next level and reach a global audience.”

In Europe, WBD has brought in public service broadcasters as sub-licensee partners in major cycling markets such as Italy (Rai), Spain (RTVE), Switzerland (SRG SSR), and the Czech Republic (Czech TV).

Other deals have also been announced in France, with L’Equipe, and with ServusTV in Austria.

All these countries (minus Spain, although there will be an Andorran stop) are set to stage events over the course of the 2023 season.

Outside of the continent, meanwhile, Zhibo.TV will offer streaming broadcasts of UCI Mountain Bike World Cup action in China, Claro Sports will provide multi-country access in Latin America (across both linear TV and streaming), and pay-TV heavyweight SuperSport will do so in sub-Saharan Africa.

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By GlobalData

Chris Ball, chief executive at the Enduro Sports Organisation which owns the UCI Mountain Bike World Series, said: “Warner Bros. Discovery is the home of cycling and is proud to showcase mountain biking to the world with our broadcast partnerships reaching every corner of the continent.

“The 2023 season will provide our audiences with more coverage, more action, and more opportunities to follow the sport than ever before.”

The aforementioned broadcast partners add to the existing WBD coverage options, including the Eurosport linear channel, the Discovery+ streaming platform, WBD-owned Global Cycling Network+, and the mobile Eurosport App. Those platforms will present 139 hours of live coverage, highlights, and both pre and post-race analysis, WBD has said.

GCN+, it has been confirmed, will provide event coverage across North America, parts of Latin America, and Oceania.

The 2023 UCI Mountain Bike World Series got underway in Australia in late March, with a Czech Republic leg taking place currently (May 11 to 14) at the start of the European season.

Between now and the end of the series in October, events are scheduled (in chronological order) for Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Andorra, France (twice in a row), the US, and Canada.

WBD has also provided details of how it will produce the series, with over 20 cameras to be accompanied by “state-of-the-art first-person-view drones at each event venue.”

Biometric data will also be integrated into event coverage for the first time, as part of a new partnership (announced earlier this week) with US-based wearable fitness tech brand Whoop.

In terms of digital coverage, meanwhile, the UCI Mountain Bike World Series YouTube channel and other social platforms will “offer in-depth analysis and interviews” with key personalities, while the Global Mountain Bike Network’s GMBN YouTube channel will provide news, highlights, previews, bike checks, and “exclusive behind-the-scenes content.”

Scott Young, WBD Sports’ senior vice president of content and production, commented: “The new revolution in mountain biking is finally upon us and we can't wait to showcase the adrenaline and skill of these athletes to fans, and those soon-to-become fans, of this supercharged sport. We’ve been teasing the raft of innovations we will unveil to elevate coverage of the World Series to even greater heights and can’t wait for the action to get underway.

“That is matched with our commitment to highlight the competitors and tell their story, on and off the track.”

Image: Christian Kaspar Bartke/Getty Images