Infront Sports and Media have signed a 10-year agreement with Velon, a joint business venture between 11 WorldTour teams, with the partnership claimed to be key to bringing fans closer to cycling.
Under the terms of the deal, Infront will offer their technology, media production and sports marketing expertise to Velon, with a first aim of enabling live race data to be made available to fans.
Infront will involve their subsidiaries Host Broadcast Services (HBS) and Omnigon, enabling bikes to carry the necessary technology to live stream performance data and video feed into race coverage.
Due to the long-term nature of the agreement, Velon believe the deal will enable them to help build a more sustainable economic model for cycling, the team and riders.
BMC Racing Team, Etixx–Quick-Step, Lampre - Merida, Lotto Soudal, Orica GreenEdge, Cannondale - Garmin, Team Giant-Alpecin, Team Lotto NL–Jumbo, Team Sky, Tinkoff– Saxo and Trek Factory Racing currently make up the organisation’s members.
“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,” said Graham Bartlett, chief executive of Velon.
“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.
“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.”
In turn, Infront will now act as Velon’s partner across all of their business opportunities, with the hope that they will be able to help grow revenue streams.
The international sports marketing company will also work with Velon and key partners, including the International Cycling Union (UCI) and event organisers.
Infront are owned by Chinese company Dalian Wanda Group, which is led by billionaire Wang Jianlin, reportedly the 26th richest man in the world.
The group, which bought the World Triathlon Corporation and a 20 per cent stake in Spanish football giants Atletico Madrid last April, were rumoured to be interested in buying the rights to the Tour de France from its owners the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) in December.
“Cycling is a key sport in Infront’s long-term strategy and also an important pillar of the wider Wanda Sports Holding business,” said Stephan Herth, executive director of Infront.
“We are therefore proud to partner with Velon in revolutionising 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.”