Women's cycling.

by thebungle   July 10, 2013  

Women's (Pro) Cycling.

Does it matter? Should there be a campaign to have it of the same stature as mens racing?

What should the ultimate goal of equality be?

=====

I posted that comment on a news thread but I thought it would be interesting to give it a slightly wider audience for debate.

23 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Matters massively, I think the Olympics showed that. I would love to see women's pro cycling treated with the same respect as the men's sport, i.e women competing in the same grand tours.

Track cycling, downhill, XC, BMX etc seem to have largely embraced equality, would like to see the same for the road.

posted by Threeh [8 posts]
10th July 2013 - 13:01

2 Likes

Agreed. I would have loved to see the Women's Giro on TV, but Broadcasters assure us there is no audience for Women's Road Racing. The figures from the Olympics (which the UCI chose not to publicise) would suggest otherwise.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
10th July 2013 - 13:56

2 Likes

I think you are all forgetting something....

Take the TdF for instance. WHO supplies the video to the broadcasters??

Its the ASO who sort all that out. So to get woman's racing live, Its NOT upto the broadcaster, its the race organisers who need to put on some sort of coverage. Its themselves who are holding back woman's cycling.

As for the question "What should the ultimate goal of equality be?"

I don't think you can have full equality. People are all screaming for equal prize money. This is fine on one day races, I'm all for that. But to look at the Giro and Giro Rosa, you can't have it being equal until the number of stages and distances are equal in my view.

I'm going to say it, SOME woman have less endurance than men when it comes to LONG tours. I could think off hand of maybe 10 Pro female cyclists who could finish the mens Giro, but they wouldn't be competitive, So how can people scream for equality when things can never be equal Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8996 posts]
10th July 2013 - 15:35

0 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
I think you are all forgetting something....

Take the TdF for instance. WHO supplies the video to the broadcasters??

Its the ASO who sort all that out. So to get woman's racing live, Its NOT upto the broadcaster, its the race organisers who need to put on some sort of coverage. Its themselves who are holding back woman's cycling.

As for the question "What should the ultimate goal of equality be?"

I don't think you can have full equality. People are all screaming for equal prize money. This is fine on one day races, I'm all for that. But to look at the Giro and Giro Rosa, you can't have it being equal until the number of stages and distances are equal in my view.

I'm going to say it, SOME woman have less endurance than men when it comes to LONG tours. I could think off hand of maybe 10 Pro female cyclists who could finish the mens Giro, but they wouldn't be competitive, So how can people scream for equality when things can never be equal Wink


Raisport had limited coverage of the Giro Rosa. Why couldn't another channel pick up the footage that already exists? And as to stages and distances, well we don't measure racing solely by the yard. The Women's Olympic Road Race was shorter than the Men's, but it got a larger TV audience.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
10th July 2013 - 15:50

4 Likes

I've noticed you mention the Olympic RR on quite a number of occasions now, I would argue that those viewing figures are not representative of viewing demand, how many of us tuned in to sports that ordinarily we would not give a second glance to?

Viewing figures for mens racing are low enough and that's with a higher quality field, why would a TV company or advertiser choose to invest in womens cycling if the return for them isn't nearly as great?

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
11th July 2013 - 8:58

2 Likes

I think the Olympic Road Race figures are worthy of mention in that it gives a direct comparison between a Men's and a Women's event over the same course (although a shorter distance for the Women). I'm not saying these figures would be duplicated for all events, but the fact that the peak audience for the Women's Race was larger than that for the Men's BY A THIRD would seem to indicate that Women racers can attract a substantial number of viewers. Yet when the same Women are racing in the Giro Rosa, we are told that no one would want to watch it.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
11th July 2013 - 10:24

1 Like

Gkam84 wrote:

I don't think you can have full equality. People are all screaming for equal prize money. This is fine on one day races, I'm all for that. But to look at the Giro and Giro Rosa, you can't have it being equal until the number of stages and distances are equal in my view.

Why? Do you want to pay them by the kilometre?

Gkam84 wrote:

I'm going to say it, SOME woman have less endurance than men when it comes to LONG tours. I could think off hand of maybe 10 Pro female cyclists who could finish the mens Giro, but they wouldn't be competitive, So how can people scream for equality when things can never be equal Wink

Even if the racing was slower/shorter, that shouldn't be a barrier to equality in terms of reputation and stature.

Look at Wimbledon. Women play 3 sets, and generally have a slower serve, but equal prize money and coverage (at least on the BBC). I think this is what should be aimed for.

posted by jstreetley [61 posts]
11th July 2013 - 10:33

0 Likes

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
I think the Olympic Road Race figures are worthy of mention in that it gives a direct comparison between a Men's and a Women's event over the same course (although a shorter distance for the Women). I'm not saying these figures would be duplicated for all events, but the fact that the peak audience for the Women's Race was larger than that for the Men's BY A THIRD would seem to indicate that Women racers can attract a substantial number of viewers. Yet when the same Women are racing in the Giro Rosa, we are told that no one would want to watch it.

I personally think those figures are a false indication of interest, more telling IMo would be how many Google searches are there for the Giro Rosa, how many threads are appearing on the various cycling websites.

Do you feel the Giro Rosa should have the same level of coverage as the mens race? Is it as exciting to watch? Is there the same depth of talent which made the mens race so exciting this year? Are they descending better than BW?

Sport, unlike business is all about who & what provides the most entertainment and therefore exposure for advertisers, if the women aren't providing the product, and my perosnal opinion is that womens racing isn't as good as mens then quite simply they won't have equal money.

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
11th July 2013 - 12:06

1 Like

If viewing figures showed more people were watching Men's Football than Women's, would you still consider them to be a "false indication of interest"?
I can't comment on how exciting the Women's Giro was to watch, for the simple reason it wasn't on television (and that in itself will mean less people talking about it online). I did however, watch the Olympic Women's Road Race, and found it more exciting than the Men's. What did You think?
For reasons best Known to itself, the UCI (who clearly think that viewing figures ARE an indication of interest), chose not to publicise the figures from the Women's Road Race. I think they should tell us why.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
11th July 2013 - 15:36

2 Likes

thebungle wrote:
Do you feel the Giro Rosa should have the same level of coverage as the mens race? Is it as exciting to watch? Is there the same depth of talent which made the mens race so exciting this year? Are they descending better than BW?

Ignoring the Giro Rosa for the time being (I have download each 1 hour highlights package of each to watch post TdF).

Lets talk about womens racing in general and does it deserve the same level as coverage as a mens race?

Is it exciting to watch? Obviously you have not watched a womens race. Smaller teams, shorter distance leads to more aggressive racing. I prefer to watch womens racing because it is far more action packed than mens.

Is mens racing exciting? after stage 12 of the TdF not so sure Wink

Talent, Marianne Vos, the highly talented Specialized-Lululemon squad, the upstart Wiggle team packed full of gold medal winning olympians, definitely.

Better than watching BW descending in the rain, watching Hanah Barnes leading with her chin http://www.tourseries.co.uk/4725.php

Katie Compton in the mud (CX) crash in the lead, drop to 2nd spot, get back in the lead, and repeat more than once. It is in flemish, but worth the effort to find the footage

posted by nickobec [261 posts]
12th July 2013 - 9:01

1 Like

Don't forget that sport is a form of entertainment. It is a business.

If female sport does not entertain people as much as the male equivalent, then it will never get the same level of recognition, and people will not hold it in quite the same esteem. Prizes, awards, celebrity etc will be less, so it will never be 'equal' in that respect, whilst it's popularity is lower.

However, I do believe that UCI, and others, have a duty to invest in, and promote Womens cycling, as a fledgling sport, and give it the platform it deserves to try to get it noticed and raise it's profile.

posted by 700c [587 posts]
13th July 2013 - 21:27

0 Likes

(At the risk of repeating myself...)
Peak viewing figures for the Olympic Road Race:
Men: 5.7 million
Women: 7.6 million

While I can't guarantee that such a disparity would be repeated across the board, these figures seem to suggest that viewers find Women's racing just as entertaining as Men's, and that it is just as capable of attracting a TV audience, with all the revenue that follows. Yet the UCI chose not to publish the figures from the Women's Road Race. Why?
The only explanation I can think of is that they imagine increased sponsorship for the Women would in some way be at the expense of the Men's side of the sport.
Women's racing doesn't need positive discrimination or political correctness, just a governing body that publicises its successes.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
13th July 2013 - 22:30

1 Like

The Rumpo Kid - could be an increase in viewers due to the images on display ?

Personally i would like to see more womens racing on TV and its got nothing to do with who is racing. I've been watching the womens euro football and the skill level on display would embarass some current English premiership players its been that good.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2821 posts]
13th July 2013 - 22:39

2 Likes

stumps wrote:
The Rumpo Kid - could be an increase in viewers due to the images on display ?

Personally i would like to see more womens racing on TV and its got nothing to do with who is racing. I've been watching the womens euro football and the skill level on display would embarass some current English premiership players its been that good.

Whatever the reason for a TV audience, it is the audience that itself attracts the money. Let's face it, TV Companies would show Pro-am turd juggling if they thought they could sell advertising time. So why isn't more being done to challenge the fallacy that there is no audience for Women's cycling?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
13th July 2013 - 22:49

1 Like

Not sure how much we can conclude from UK viewing figures from one, unique (London Olympic) event -would these same people tune in to watch a Womens TDF? Not sure..

That said, Womens cycling is certainly getting noticed and indeed more popular. The UK now has several female household names who have become known through their cycling success.

But the thread was about equality, and on this point, just as in other sports such as tennis and football, it probably will never have the same status, interest or following as the mens version

posted by 700c [587 posts]
13th July 2013 - 23:20

1 Like

PS IM not always certain, but I'm pretty sure most enthusiasts on this very forum are male, most members of cycling clubs are male, most grass roots racing competitors are male, as are most sportive riders.

Ultimately this demographic is going to be reflected in participation gender make up at the pro level, and in the balance of interest between male vs female sports series

posted by 700c [587 posts]
13th July 2013 - 23:27

2 Likes

700c wrote:
Not sure how much we can conclude from UK viewing figures from one, unique (London Olympic) event -would these same people tune in to watch a Womens TDF? Not sure..

Nor am I. But I would suggest the people who enjoyed seeing Marianne Vos in the Olympics would have tuned in to see her in the Giro Rosa. Perhaps not in the same numbers, but certainly in numbers that would warrant the rescheduling of thirty odd year old episodes of "The Professionals". As I've said before, Raisport already has the footage of the Giro Rosa. How much would they want for it? (Bearing in mind current opinion is that no one wants to see it).

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
14th July 2013 - 9:19

0 Likes

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
700c wrote:
Not sure how much we can conclude from UK viewing figures from one, unique (London Olympic) event -would these same people tune in to watch a Womens TDF? Not sure..

Nor am I. But I would suggest the people who enjoyed seeing Marianne Vos in the Olympics would have tuned in to see her in the Giro Rosa. Perhaps not in the same numbers, but certainly in numbers that would warrant the rescheduling of thirty odd year old episodes of "The Professionals". As I've said before, Raisport already has the footage of the Giro Rosa. How much would they want for it? (Bearing in mind current opinion is that no one wants to see it).

Market research suggests strongly that where women's sport is well organised and has the world's top athletes taking part in an event that is properly "packaged" for TV then there is a strong demand amongst sports fans for more - even though the majority of these fans are male. Viewing figures compare well with mens events when this happens. Women also use social media in a highly effective and discriminating manner - much more so than men. The most tweeted about sports event on the planet last year was the women's soccer world cup . Women will support companies that support their social agendas and social media gives them a strong commercial position to be able to do so by "passing the word" on "good" companies and "bad" companies - TV viewing figures are not the be all and end all. It is just that few people have the balls (pun intended:) to be the first mover to create change . Less than one per cent of commercial sports sponsorship in UK goes into women's sport which is, quite simply, appalling. This lack of sponsorship and lack of "llet's make it happen" by big organisations has a damaging effect on the wider female population. They have fewer role models in sport at a time when 80 per cent of British women are not exercising enough to benefit their health and when, within twenty years, three quarters of British women will be overweight or obese. Other than a few well documented exceptions, adolescent females in UK have few (female) role models other than X Factor participants and female pop stars who have to "get their kit off" to get on MTV. Sad isn't it.

posted by Guy E [7 posts]
14th July 2013 - 10:00

1 Like

Guy E,
I'm not suggesting that TV ratings are the beginning and end of the reasons for promoting Women's Sport. It's just that whenever one says "why isn't more Women's Cycling being shown on TV? It's exciting, shows positive role models, and is good for public health," the default response is always that TV companies would show it, but there isn't an audience.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
14th July 2013 - 10:28

0 Likes

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Guy E,
I'm not suggesting that TV ratings are the beginning and end of the reasons for promoting Women's Sport. It's just that whenever one says "why isn't more Women's Cycling being shown on TV? It's exciting, shows positive role models, and is good for public health," the default response is always that TV companies would show it, but there isn't an audience.

Yes. Sorry - there was no implied criticism in my comments. Just commenting generally:)

posted by Guy E [7 posts]
14th July 2013 - 10:31

1 Like

Guy - I read your post with interest. Quite enlightening as to what the barriers are and the issues of of the inertia that seems to prevent Womens sport from being more mainstream

I don't disagree with any of the comments made, I was just making the relatively straightforward point, in response to the OP, that equality between Mens and Womens cycling is unlikely to ever be fully realised due to the different levels of interest and following that the two have.

posted by 700c [587 posts]
14th July 2013 - 20:04

0 Likes

I made a point of watching the coverage on the BBC today of the London Grand Prix and I have to say I was distinctly underwhelmed, perhaps it was the quality of broadcast, commentary of the race itself but I felt I was watching a junior or amateur race such was the lack of 'va va voom'.

My personal opinion is that women's cycling doesn't have the power, grace or intensity that men's racing has and thus is not as attractive as a television 'product'.

Interestingly my wife, herself a keen cyclist had even stronger opinions and suggested that rather than encouraging her to race, would actually put her off!

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
4th August 2013 - 21:32

2 Likes

I didn't think much of it either. But do you not agree it would be unfair to base one's judgement of the whole sport on watching one race round and round St James's Park? I have seen Women's races that are every bit as exciting as the best of the Men's. I have also seen Men's Crit's that were every bit as underwhelming as this one.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
4th August 2013 - 22:20

1 Like