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OLN coverage of the Tour is Bad for Cycling(36 posts)

OLN coverage of the Tour is Bad for CyclingPack Meat
Aug 1, 2001 8:32 AM
Let me start this off with saying that I did enjoy the expanded coverage of the Tour on OLN. I think it was well presented and I even enjoyed the sidebar pieces. However, I believe the coverage only appealed to true cycling fans and not the general public. The ESPN coverage that we all hated was bad for us because it was dumbed down for the general public. I think this helped expand cycling's popularity with non cyclists. In the past I would always discuss the coverage with non-rider that would watch the half hour of coverage every night and were actually excited about it. These same people were asking me where the coverage was this year. Many of them weren't interested in the Tour enough to go out of their way to get but if was on they would watch it. And frankly these people can't watch 2 hours of coverage of a flat stage and stay interested. The general perception of people that cyclists are elitists is reinforced by the OLN coverage.

That's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think America?

Pack Meat
indeedJack S
Aug 1, 2001 8:37 AM
Treks will sell like hot cakes, people will be wearing yellow jerseys, and newbie freds will proliferate... horrors!
what non-sense!mtnrogue
Aug 1, 2001 9:37 AM
Are you saying that people should not get a road bike and get into a great sport/exercise. I am horrified at your reasoning(?). Gosh, I've met people like you, as they look through their narrow mind at others, passing non-sense for judgement, I have to ride on, as I was once a newbie(and so were they).

mark
indeed...you are ridiculous!!!Only300
Aug 1, 2001 10:43 AM
Weren't you ever a newbie? What is so wrong with that? Isn't it good to have new riders learning about cycling, getting better and then going on to teach others? What horrors! Jack S...and the others who think newbies are bad should could probably learn a few things. You were once newbies and without caring people to help you, you would have been lost. Just think of a newbie having to hear Jack S talk...that is horrible. They wouldn't want to ride a bike because their only experience with cycling was with jerks.

Sorry for my negative rant but I'm tired of all these elitists on this site.
he was joking....IDIOTS
Aug 1, 2001 10:55 AM
nm
irony is truly dead... (nm)mr_spin
Aug 1, 2001 11:12 AM
If that was irony...I apologize Jack S and to everoyone elseOnly300
Aug 1, 2001 11:19 AM
I couldn't pick up on the irony, in part due to other serious messages that have been very negative. Well that's life some times.

Later
not irony.... SARCASMgenius
Aug 1, 2001 12:35 PM
nm
brave use of your screenname or...mtnrogue
Aug 1, 2001 1:07 PM
name calling... ?
mark
re: A peice of pie is better than "no" pieSteve A
Aug 1, 2001 8:41 AM
YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY IN THE CAR BUSINESS "THERE IS A ASS FOR EVERY SEAT" LET US BE HAPPY OLN WENT FOR THIS AND IF WE ARE LUCKY THEY WILL DO IT AGAIN NEXT YEAR! OLN WAY TO GO
re: OLN coverage of the Tour is Bad for Cyclingmikeg
Aug 1, 2001 8:47 AM
I agree. But I don't give a crap. I enjoyed it and if they continue coverage for the next several years, great. I don't care if the general public likes cycling. I don't care if they don't understand it. I am selfish. I love it and that is all that matters. I had a wonderful time watching the tour (my first). I am a newbie and a recreational cyclist and OLN won me over. That is all that matters in the end... It was great to have the tour on tv to help me get to football season. L'Alpe De Huez (?sp?) was almost as good as the winning TD in the SuperBowl.
RIGHT ON!!!! (nm)ak
Aug 1, 2001 9:36 AM
Mega dittos (nm)Brian C.
Aug 1, 2001 9:47 AM
I strongly disagree.boy nigel
Aug 1, 2001 8:58 AM
People out there (particularly Americans, I hate to say) most likely won't be getting into the sport of cycling by watching The Tour. If they're interested in the yellow-clad American (Lance), then they can get all the fluff they need on CBS. OLN did a fine job of providing LIVE coverage, and gave it to us THREE times daily (except for Sundays, when CBS had their share). I give top marks to OLN for a SUPER job.

People not into the sport of cycling (as opposed to people who ride bikes) will probably find a two-hour flat stage boring; indeed, one or two of the last-week stages were less than exciting even for me, and I got up every morning (and at 7:30 for the long mountain stages) just to watch. (I'm presently unemployed, so I had the luxury to do this. Lucky--but unlucky--me.) Tour coverage isn't going to expand bike racing--or fans of bike racing--in America, period. It's one of those non-spectator sports, steeped in European tradition, that we don't truly appreciate over here. As many American children as there are playing soccer, this sport seems to be another every-country-in-the-world-except-the-US sport. Many adults hate soccer here ("Boring, slow, not 'real men,' not exciting enough, etc."); these same folks wouldn't watch a bike race to save their lives.

OLN's fine coverage was for the hardcore fans of road bike racing, not for the average Joe, and they gave us lots of in-depth criticism and play-by-plays, speaking of strategies, team tactics, and capitalizing on others' weaknesses.

Hats off to OLN, and I hope they'll do the same every year!

Cheers,
Nigel
Not my experienceMel Erickson
Aug 1, 2001 9:10 AM
My wife does not care about bicycle racing. She is a purely recreational cyclist and doesn't do a lot of that either. She was enthralled by this years tour, primarily because there was so much to watch. It took her awhile to get into to it but eventually she marvelled at what LA and the other cyclists accomplished. A woman friend of hers, who is into fitness but not biking, was also enthralled by the Tour. After I explained some of the tactics and finer points of racing she was even more interested. She would even get up early to watch on OLN. She told me she would watch again next year for sure. If this is indicative of the average viewer then it bodes well for OLN and the sport.
I had the same experiencek mand
Aug 1, 2001 9:37 AM
My fiance teaches school and had the benefit of watching it on TV since she's off during the summer. She caught parts of the Giro and I think that peaked her interst in the Tour. She's not a cyclist but an excellent endurance athlete so I have been trying to interest her. Obviously, after watching she gained a differnet perspective on cycling, it's more than a bunch of guys riding in a pack. After three weeks, she knew all the top riders, differnt teams, and basic strategies and was very enthusiastic about it when we discussed it. I think it's great for the sport and hopefully cars we'll give us some respect on the roads. I hope OLN has exclusive coverage next year, no CBS Sundays. Can't wait to watch the Vuelta.
mine was almost the oppositeterry b
Aug 1, 2001 10:21 AM
My wife is a non-cyclist. Her involvment up to now has been limited to listening to me blither on about why I need a new bike every year. She was certainly aware of LA's achievments over the past three tours but could frankly give a rip about any of the details. This year, we watched the mountain stages and the TTs that a friend had kindly taped for me. She was not interested in watching the whole stage but did sit through the opening portions and the significant parts of the stage ends (the "look", Jan's crash, LA waiting, LA dusting everyone on the steepest pitch.) A couple of times she actually made me rewind to get back to some important event. I'd say she did get hooked by the drama and with that came some interest in how bike racing works. But, if there had been no Lance and Jan or Joseba were the heroes of the day, I doubt she would have been interested. She did however find the CBS coverage enjoyable, mainly because of the human aspect they tried to convey and because of the non-technical nature of the coverage. While CBS has been roundly blasted on this site, we should recognize that the no media in the world does People Magazine style reporting like our own.

In the last few days, I have actually seen her read the sports page to keep up with whatever was there concerning Lance. So, to the original point - I don't think the OLN coverage harmed the public interest in cycling, I think it either mildly engaged people who have a passing interest or was just ignored by people with no interest. I do think the CBS coverage, while not aimed at cycling enthusiasts, did probably pull in a few people if only because they were interested in an American sports hero triumphing.
So the CBS coverage was good for cycling?mr_spin
Aug 1, 2001 9:21 AM
Do fishing shows hurt fishing?

After the Olympics, how many of you bought running shoes? Took up swimming? Bought a bow and arrow or a canoe? Took your rifle and your cross country skis and did Biathlons? How many rhythmic gymnasts do we have among us today? Synchronized swimmers?

This is absurd reasoning. And frankly, who cares what the general public thinks? Most of the bikes purchased by the general public are "mountain" bikes that only see dirt if the rider skids off the pavement.

The American general public is not interested in bike racing. Those that watch even though they do not understand enjoy the show simply because anyone can enjoy watching almost any sports event where the winners and losers are easy to identify and where feats of strength can be appreciated. Sure, many will dust off the old bike and take up a temporary interest again, but it will wane. A few will catch the bug and get serious.

But you have got to be kidding! Equating the dumbed-down ESPN coverage with "good" is absurd. Were there spikes in bike sales around the Tour last year? If so, can you really attribute those to the ESPN coverage? Do so many world class riders come out of Belgium and Italy because there is more cycling coverage there? How much coverage do you think they have in Colombia, where so many great riders come from?

Thank you OLN. Thank you for not sinking to level of lowest common denominator that is the hallmark of American network sports. And thank you ESPN, for running Sportscenter so many times a day, so casual so-called "fans" don't have to sit through two hours of coverage to find out the bottom line: who won.
I started cycling because of the Lemond and the TourPack Meat
Aug 1, 2001 11:28 AM
I started riding seriously in 1986 after watching the Tour on ABC Wide World of Sports (I think). It was pitful coverage but it got me going. I think Lemond and the other 80's American Tour riders inspired many of the current American pros.

And I'm not knocking OLNs coverage I thought it was great. I'm just saying a half hour wrap up show every night works better for the uninitiated. The old ESPN show did explain things for the silly Americans that don't understand cycling. The popularity of cycling in America directly effects the quality of riders that we produce. The current batch of Americans riding in the Euro pelaton is a direct result of the popularity of cycling in the 80's.

PM
So what you are saying is...mr_spin
Aug 1, 2001 12:26 PM
You're saying that if ABC had shown two hours of Tour coverage in 1986, chances are, you wouldn't have become a cyclist?

I just don't buy it. I'll bet you were more influenced by Lemond's feats than any coverage of them.

Imagine if your post title read: OLN coverage bad for France?

People saw all those pictures of beautiful France, and now they might go there without learning the history of France, the language, the culture. The French might think Americans are elitist! They should have explained that the French have a different word for everything!

I saw every second of the OLN coverage, and I heard Phil and Paul explain a lot about tactics and techniques. I'm curious as to what you thought was missing. And what else they could have done to spark the great revival of American cycling?

I also think you put way too faith in the power of TV. No matter what politicians may tell you, it doesn't really have that much influence on people and their actions. People aren't nearly as weak-minded as TV execs and politicians imagine them to be.

They could devote a channel to naked supermodels riding Colnagos and conducting tutorials in bike racing 24 hours a day, but I doubt it would get people out riding. It wouldn't even sell Colnagos, I'll bet.
naked supermodels riding Colnagos --now that's television (NM)mk_42
Aug 1, 2001 1:45 PM
Hell yeah, i'd go for full no commercial break coverage of thatLBS Guy
Aug 1, 2001 6:05 PM
nm
Never underestimate the power of TV.Pack Meat
Aug 1, 2001 2:55 PM
TV got Richard Nixon elected but I digress. Greg Lemond's feats did get me interested in cycling, yes, but I wouldn't have had access to those feats without that coverage. On OLN, and again, I am not knocking OLN, you have to already know that this kind of cycling exists and be looking for it. What I'm looking for here is accessibility into the sport and ESPN coverage provided that. It was essenntially a Bicycling Magazine version of coverage. Not for people that know what's going on but for people that may be interested if you explain it to them. How many times does the string show up here asking how to get into racing or riding seriously? That's 20 percent of the content. The more people understand about the sport the more interesting it is. A number of you that posted here admitted that you had to explain things to the people you were watching with and then they enjoyed it. Maybe my original post was a little strong. OLN is bad for cycling but the lack of entry level coverage may be.

Pack Meat
who cares?ColnagoFE
Aug 1, 2001 9:33 AM
I thought the coverage was great. hopefully they got wnough audience to keep doing stuff like this. Why worry about stuff you can't do anything about?
I don't want to pay $57/month for dumbed down coverage!JohnnyA
Aug 1, 2001 10:21 AM
OLN is a SPECIALITY channel - I pay the premimum to watch World Cup Skiing and Pro Cycling with pro announcers and analysts....
re: OLN coverage of the Tour is Bad for CyclingBigMig
Aug 1, 2001 10:27 AM
I think the OLN's Tour coverage was excellent. Look at all the other sports on tv, do they tell you what exactly is going on. I've watched hockey a bunch of times and I still dont understand portions of it.
OLN's coverage finally did the sport of cycling justice, something that ESPN, CBS and ABC could never do.
I think everyone should write a letter, as I did, to OLN reminding them of a job well done.
Ya'll are missing the point!Pack Meat
Aug 1, 2001 11:48 AM
I'll say it again, I thought OLNs coverage was great and I hope that they do it again next year. But how do we enjoy our sport without excluding the general public. The one thing that people on this board whine about the most are people that treat cyclists like crap by either swerving at them, attacking them with golf balls, etc. This is all a result of a lack of understanding about what we're doing out there on the road. Lance's ride up Alp d'huez would inspire just about anybody, do you think Johnny six pack would chuck beer cans at the random cyclist if he saw "the look" and thoguht cyclists were tough and cool instead of lycra wearing elitist panzy boys riding on his road? I loved OLNs coverage, I love Phil, Paul, Bob and the whole crew but I would like to see a more concise version that's intended for the general viewer in addition to the full coverage.

If you think that public perception isn't something that matters and something that you can change you are a fool!

PM
SorryMel Erickson
Aug 1, 2001 1:28 PM
I still don't see how feeding the general public the TV equivalent of "People" magazine coverage of the Tour will get them interested. Now if CBS provided some serious coverage there could be a glimmer of hope. Video pap will soon be forgotten and no advantage gained. Continuous, serious, coverage of cycling, like OLN has been giving us, is necessary. Wide ranging coverage of all types of cycling (like OLN is doing) is needed to build a broader fan base. Local sports coverage is needed on TV, radio and newspapers on a regular basis. Our local paper has started a section once a week that covers some "lesser" sports and mountain bike racing usually gets a small article. Thats a start. We will never get the coverage we want, however, until there is more US cycling to cover.
Be sure watch ESPN's cane pole fishing shows...davidl
Aug 1, 2001 12:02 PM
NASCAR bumper cars, touch football,and seated aerobics fitness shows so as not to be overwhelmed with the reality. Go back to faux reailty tv and vote someone off an island. Let the rest of "America" [please] watch OLN - and get the real thing. That's ridiculous -
Huh?Pack Meat
Aug 1, 2001 12:20 PM
I don't follow.
I thought that OLN's coverage was pretty "dumbed down"...Jim Burton
Aug 1, 2001 1:16 PM
But not bad at all. My girlfriend and her mom, two non-cyclists if there ever were any, couldn't take thier eyes off even the boring stages. ESPN's coverage that I saw was ridiculously simplified. "Now, this is a ROAD bike..." or "These guys actually ride HUNDREDS OF MILES...on BICYCLES!!"

OLN's coverage wasn't bad for cycling, in and of itself. But the fact that OLN isn't watched by the majority of the population is bad. That's just a symptom of a disease that I am not able to pin down.

Anyone?
Are you kidding? I just went out and....Car Magnet
Aug 1, 2001 2:58 PM
Bought a Trek, USPS jersey, bibs, gloves, socks, arm and leg warmers, windbreaker, cycling cap, team issue shoes, a limited edition Lonestar Giro helmet, a pair of limited edition Oakley M-Frames Lance Armstrong Signature Series, and just ordered a custom jockstrap with the Lonestar flag on the front with eagles flying around the waistband. Goin' Lance all the way baby!! I hope the UPS man comes today.
THE ORIGINAL POST WAS CORRECT!!!!Slothlike
Aug 1, 2001 6:02 PM
C'mon people, you are looking at OLN through the eyes of an avid cyclist, so of course you think the coverage was good. However, if you were an executive programmer for a major network, you wouldn't put cycling on primetime. The reality is that this sport isn't that big in the USA. People wouldn't tune in regularly to cycling events on a major scale that would please the networks. Be objective and you will see this. I would love more cycling on television, but OLN is for specific people, cyclists. Espn and CBS coverage is more of what would draw the masses in with their recaps and overly dramaticized versions of commentary. To see the difference of the U.S, vs European coverage. OLN only had 2 hours live, Eurosport and other foreign stations were on for 5 hours plus each day. Simply, there is a market for it there. I watched the coverage online at these European tv stations and saw more than what OLN gave. The original poster was right so don't jump down his throat because it displeases you, unfortunatley he is correct. People love baseball and Nascar god knows why, but that is reality. Trust me, once Lance retires and Americans don't win the Tour, cycling will fall further behind like it did after Lemond. If you really want great television coverage, you'll have to move to Europe. Case closed.
Regards
GLG
You have to take it as it is...Bruno S
Aug 1, 2001 7:25 PM
Its a complex sport and very complex race. Just try to explain the battle for the green jersey that happened during the last days of the tour. But thats the beauty of it. Common, America can handle it! Football and baseball can also get complicated. I'm sure there is plenty of people in the USA with an attention span long enough to understand the Tour. Although I wonder if Bush could get it...
disagreeHank
Aug 1, 2001 7:41 PM
I know a couple of non-cyclists who got totally into this year. Some people just liked the chance to look at the French countryside. I think it's hard to understand what the race is all about without the two hour coverage -- the prepackaged 1/2 hour kills the whole feel of road racing.
There's enough "dumbed-down" stuff on TVBeth
Aug 2, 2001 7:26 PM
Oversimplifying stuff can really be a turnoff. I enjoyed OLN's coverage because I felt like I was not being patronized or belittled. I picked up a lot of information and looked forward to every day's broadcast. I was never bored! The armpit sniffing was a bit much though!

I am a hockey fan, and I have noticed that in an attempt to get more viewers, some networks try silly gimmicks to appeal to the non-hockey fan. I think many of you remember the Fox Glow Puck?!?!? It pissed off so many people, petitions were signed just to get rid of it. Sometimes its just better to let people watch and learn.