Paris (cyclingfans.com) - One might think that with Lance Armstrong's return to cycling, negotiations for broadcast rights for races that Armstrong competes in would go smoothly. After all, Armstrong is a big draw wherever he goes. Organizers and broadcasters alike benefit from his presence.
Think again. There isn't much easy about negotiating broadcast rights in today's world of complicated geo-restrictions, TV vs. online rights, and package deals. And the presence of Armstrong raises the stakes for everyone. If a race organizer or other rights owner packages, say, a race in March such as Milan-San Remo (Saturday) with an even bigger event such as the Giro d'Italia in May, and it isn't even clear by mid-March who an online broadcaster will be dealing with for Giro rights, online rights for Milan-San Remo can go unpurchased. Everyone loses, especially cycling fans.
Fortunately, the unthinkable (no M-SR to a big market like the U.S.) has been avoided thanks to Ben Golding of cycling.tv/jumptv.com. In a phone conversation this afternoon, Golding told me he sought and has secured rights for Saturday's Milan-San Remo. The trick was to separate M-SR negotiations from Giro negotiations, not an easy task. "I didn't want to lose Milan-San Remo," Golding told me. Final paperwork is pending but Golding came to an agreement with rights owner RAI and the result is that cycling.tv will be broadcasting Saturday's race to cycling fans in the U.S. and Canada.
Cycling.tv's Milan-San Remo live race coverage Saturday is scheduled to run from 9:30am to 12pm U.S. Eastern with Anthony McCrossan and Brian Smith in the commentary box.
Anthony McCrossan, cycling.tv
Copyright © 2008 Pete Geyer/www.cyclingfans.com
More MS-R details to come...
cyclingfans.com will of course publish a full Milan-San Remo Live Coverage Guide later this week.
- Pete Geyer, Publisher, cyclingfans.com
Note: cyclingfans.com is a cycling.tv affiliate partner