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Is there a boycott or at least a downprioritization of sports events where television rights are bought by the likes of Discovery and NENT, international nedia companies not very likely to share their monopoly with others?`

Over the past ten years we have seen more and more sports events media rights rolled into the hands of media empires which pay a lot of money (A LOT) for the rights. The price is so high it is preventing homely mainstream media organizations to compete for the rights and broadast the events. Basically, what used to be high-profile public events and considered part of the culture in many countries are being privatized.

From country to country in Europe, the strategic pieces of the puzzle are different. Here in Norway, commercial TV started late and there are quite strict rules for what kind of commercials are allowed. Alcohol and tobacco for example, are not allowed. More relevant to the current debate is gambling, which is strictly regulated in Norway, while Eurosport and NENT are overflowing with ads for online gambling services. They are usually privately owned enterprises in some British-protected tax avoidance services mini-state setup. Most are based in Malta, but I believe you can also find tax exemptions for corporations with such noble objectives in other protectorates worldwide.

Basically online gambling is a wast stream of tax-protetected revenue that Discovery and other similar companies can tap into, which isn't available for national broadcasting corporations be they publicly owned or privately owned companies that depend on selling commercials to companies which run other types of business. When this is allowed to dominate sports media coverage, I think in the longer run, sports will loose.

The kind of sports events when everyone knows a little bit about what is going on is bridge building material between neighbors and nations which is to valuable to give up for private enterprise revenue alone. (Mind you I am not at all against private ownership, I just find it wise to set some limits for everything.)

In cycling, in Norway, right now - the difference between Tour de France (broadcast on public TV2) and Giro de Italia (hidden in the depths of the Disvoery/Eurosport for cycling fans) highlights that. Every year, the press follows riders like Edvald Boasson Hagen and Aleksander Kristoff around France. Not just the TV2. It is on national radio, every day with a live broadcast. It is in the papers. You cannot miss it, and one question pops up time and time again: "When will we have a Norwegian GC rider?" Well, today #jumbo Tobias Foss (even riding on a team co-sponsored by Norwegian company Visma)  is in 2nd position in the Giro GC (albeit, after 3 stages only) and he will be wearing the white jersey as a certain Italian has so many others to choose from. There is absolutely 0 mention of this in national media. I have checked all the major papers, the TV channels main news show. Not one word. No one that doesn't self-identify as a die-hard cycling fan knows about it.

This shows that the work that publicly available  TV channels like TV2 are very important for the sport. Eurosport would never ever bring several hundred thousand people into the streets of Bergen for a bike race which for me personally was the greatest sport event I have witnessed live. Those days, that experience (and the disastrous economy of it) will never happen again if the likes of RCS and Eurosport gets to dominate the cycling coverage - but it may be a good outcome for their Maltese companions.

If #jumbo Foss is able to pick the #pink off Ganna's shoulders today, I wonder if there will be a notice in the mainstream media here. If it happened on TV2 during tour de France, everyone would know.  Isn't that an RCS public relations fail?

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  • LukasCPH

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    Only saw this now for some reason ...

    If #jumbo Foss is able to pick the #pink off Ganna's shoulders today, I wonder if there will be a notice in the mainstream media here. If it happened on TV2 during tour de France, everyone would know.  Isn't that an RCS public relations fail?
    In the end, that didn't happen. But yes, I would agree that it is a failure on the part of RCS.

    The Giro has come a long way from where it was ~15-20 years ago when it was almost purely an Italian race. Now you have riders and teams from all over the world targeting it.
    However, that hasn't translated into mainstream coverage in many of those countries (with obvious exceptions like Belgium[1], Colombia[2], the Netherlands[3] etc.).

    Why is that so? Well, that is the question.
    Back in the Acquarone era, RCS (and by extension the Giro) was making conscious steps to internationalise. After he was ousted, that changed.
    They are not saying no to extra worldwide exposure (they'd be stupid to do that), but they aren't actively seeking it out and facilitating anymore - because they feel comfortable in their current position, with the cake the size it currently is.

    They can't be bothered to invest in making their race even bigger and better-known all around the world.
    Which fits in well with today's queen princess stage non-broadcast. It was possible to broadcast live from the top of the Passo Giau, some guy on Instagram just did it - but RAI simply threw their hands in the air and shouted "non è possibile!" instead of trying to do something, anything, to deliver what they're supposed to.
     1. because they're crazy about cycling anyway
     2. also crazy about cycling, plus they're actually contesting the GC
     3. at least in the year Dumoulin won
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