Sharing television rights between race organisers and cycling’s elite teams could be within touching distance. Cyclingnews understands that a deal between Italy’s RCS and the sport’s major teams is close to agreement.
RCS Sport organises a portfolio of Italy’s grandest races, including the Giro d’Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Giro di Lombardia. A deal would be a historic moment in cycling, as traditionally race organisers pocket all television rights, selling their broadcast rights on potentially global scales.
Last year a number of team managers openly discussed revenue sharing opportunities with organisers in a bid to stabilise their sponsor’s investments and the teams in general. The possible deal would see teams earn a percentage of RCS Sport’s television revenue, a move that contrasts to ASO, the organisers of the Tour de France, who retain all rights.
Such a move from RCS Sport would enable them attract teams’ most high profile riders in the knowledge that teams would be only too happy to supply their stars in order to gain financial rewards. The higher the profile of the riders, the higher the potential would be for advertising rates and television revenues.
Cyclingnews contacted Jonathan Vaughters from Slipstream Sports, the president of the AIGCP. Vaughters has been a keen advocate for sharing television revenues in the past and has been a key stakeholder in the potential partnership with RC Sport. While keen to stress that a deal was not signed, Vaughters did disclose that RCS Sport had been positive and forward thinking in their desire to create a stronger platform for teams and race organisers.
"I’m very pleased with the negotiations with RCS and hope to have a deal that’s mutually beneficial at some time in the near future. I’ve been really happy with how RCS and Michele Acquarone has treated the teams. We’re really excited about the possibility of this partnership."