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London, UK/Zug, Switzerland - Today Velon, the company uniting the top 11 UCI World Tour Teams, announces that it has entered into a revolutionary ten-year partnership with Infront Sports & Media, the leading international sports marketing company. The agreement will give Velon access to the market leading technology, media production and sports marketing expertise of Infront, including its subsidiaries Host Broadcast Services (HBS) and Omnigon – enabling Velon to build a long-term and sustainable economic model for the sport, its teams and riders.
Shared long-term vision
The first phase of the partnership will provide live rider data to revolutionise the fan experience during live broadcasts, as well as work on an enhanced digital appearance of Velon – including plans for a website re-launch and a dedicated app. In a long-term view, the ten year agreement is a significant step towards Velon achieving its core goals, which include:
1) Bringing fans closer to the riders, races and teams through technical and media solutions2) Aggregating the rights of eleven of the biggest teams to improve the financial stability of the sport
Infront as all-round strategic partner to Velon
Infront is 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 for the teams and work with key partners including event organisers, their partners and the UCI. With its wide-ranging experience, Infront can provide support across all areas of marketing, media rights distribution, production, digital as well as event management.
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 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.”
Extensive data offering for broadcasters
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. 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 broadcasters’ coverage.
Through on-board cameras, audio receptors and body sensors, extensive data will be captured across various streams, however what will be publically visible is subject to the outcomes of Velon’s discussions with all stakeholders (teams, riders, event organisers, the UCI, broadcasters, etc.).
All this data will be aggregated, interpreted and made available to broadcasters for use in their race coverage. Data will be handled sensitively so as to respect rider privacy rights and use filters to ensure that live usage does not deliver a competitive advantage during a race.
Graham Bartlett, CEO of Velon, added: “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.”
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.