Nearly twice as many fans have followed Mountain Bike Cross-Country events on the Internet in 2012 compared with 2011.
The major events of the UCI Mountain Bike calendar are becoming increasingly popular through video webcasts. The audience figure for webcasts of Downhill (DHI) events has increased from an average of 100,000 last year to approximately 140,000 this year. The maximum total number of views of an event in 2011 was 111,252 (Pietermaritzburg). This year has seen a new record with 154,862 views of the Fort William Downhill. This figure could theoretically improve further as the RockyRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano has more rounds to come.
The increase in the audience is even more marked for Olympic Cross-Country (XCO) events, doubling from 40-60,000 to an average of 90,000. The 2011 record of 63,509 views (Pietermaritzburg) increased by nearly half to 90,295 (Mont Sainte-Anne) last month.
This season, webcast coverage of events (live and replay) has been masterminded by Red Bull Media House GmbH (RBMH), the UCI's new media partner. The coverage is fresh and innovative due to the method of broadcast, namely streaming on the Internet (available at www.uci.ch and www.redbull.com/bike), as well as through increasingly dynamic production techniques.
"The success of the webcast coverage of Mountain Bike events offers encouragement to further pursue innovative media solutions," explains Gerrit Middag, UCI Marketing and Events Director. "Mountain biking, and cycling in general, has a sizeable audience of faithful fans but also many curious newcomers. This means that there is a lot of room for growth. The UCI is continuing to work on projects to develop audiences for the various disciplines of cycling in the knowledge that cycling is one of the world's most forward-looking sports. Over the years, cycling has been covered successively by the print press, radio, television and now the Internet. Cycling has always been able to reinvent itself."