Here’s something a bit out of leftfield for you. I’m currently training for an Ironman event so have taken a recent keen interest in cycling (considering cycling forms a rather large chunk of any triathlon event, hence the interest). YouTube channel GCN, or, Global Cycling Network have a subscription service away from their usual free fodder entitled GCN+.
I thought it would be interesting to gather, compare and present the differences in the number of live races and highlights offered between the countries that GCN+ is available in. There are some notable differences which you will find in the results below. GCN is one of a number of cycling channels that for part of a multisport network under the banner of Play Sports, which in turn is owned by the more well-known network Discovery. Additionally, Discovery also owns the sports broadcasting network Eurosport. My guestimate here is that in some countries live races and highlights being offered will differ perhaps due to existing broadcast rights colliding between the melting pot of brands/names/rights/networks/yaddayadda owned by Discovery.
On the other hand, it’s feasible that race offerings in the USA, for example, will differ due to further broadcast rights complications. NBC Sports owns a good few cycling broadcast rights and also has their own subscription service, in just one example. Looking at the results, the countries which appear to come out on top are the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Romania. Each broadcasting 109 races. 96 of them will be live and 13 as a mix of highlights and extended highlights only. Brazil and Colombia fared the worst, broadcasting just 84 races, just 61 of which are planned to be live broadcasts. I’ve also listed cancelled races per the charts provided by GCN, however these are slightly inaccurate as the same 2 races that are cancelled in one territory have not been updated for another. I’ve just included them for completeness and am stating as such here for transparency.
Why make this chart and go to all the trouble? Well, everything is subscription-based these days. Since the initial launch of major live broadcast packages 4 or 5 years ago, the market has fragmented significantly. A lot of big names are either no more (PlayStation Vue for example) or have ramped their prices up significantly. Others have changed their subscription model and fragmented their services offering specific content for specific subscriptions. It’s not really fair on the consumer in my opinion, so I wanted to see what the spread of live races and highlights offered by GCN, aka, Discovery actually is and how much disparity lies between geographic regions. The answer is “quite a bit” and yet you are being asked to pay the same subscription price regardless of where you may reside.
I’m not keen on that kind of practice. I believe the battle for broadcast rights and geo-restricting content a) fuels greed and b) frustrates consumers and just drives them to seek more illicit alternatives. That’s an entire post in itself though, so enough rambling. Here’s the results.
And here are the results in full spreadsheet bore-o-vision for those that don’t like corporate-looking bar charts! All data is correct as of February 12th 2021.
|Country||Races||Cancelled Races||Live Races||Highlights Only|
Oh and if you are going to ‘borrow’ this data, please at least have the decency to drop a link back or a credit or something. Happy cycling err.. viewing!