11 June 2014
Fans of marathon mountain bike racing worldwide will be now able to follow the UCI MTB Marathon World Championships live, thanks to a new live streaming television collaboration.
The event takes place at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on 29 June.
While recent major events in Pietermaritzburg, such as the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup and the 2013 UCI MTB and Trials World Championships, brought with them major global live streaming TV infrastructure, the 2014 Marathon World title decider did not, which left the door open for local event organisers and the national federation to step in.
Cycling South Africa’s General Manager Mike Bradley said that their new collaboration with local live streaming company StreamIt360 had been tested during the South African National MTB Marathon Championships at the Cascades venue on Sunday, 8 June, with the event serving as a dress rehearsal for the World Championships.
Without any advanced marketing, over 2 200 people watched the national marathon champs live streaming telecast, many of them from Europe.
‘An on-going demand’
“This proves that there is an on-going demand to watch our cycling events live,” Bradley said in a statement on Monday.
“This new partnership to bring live streaming to all of our major events will give the events more visibility and more spectators, and thereby add more media value to each event and to the sport as a whole.”
A major challenge
Bradley admitted that taking on an event that is 74km long for women and 95km in distance for the men is a major challenge. “A Marathon World Champs is pretty much the ultimate test, given the distances and logistical challenges, but I am confident that we will deliver top class production to the global audience at the end of the month,” he said.
“As far as we know, no-one has ever provided full live coverage of a marathon world championships before.”
Bradley said with word of the live coverage already emerging on social media, interest was being expressed by TV channels worldwide to carry the live coverage.
12 cameras and a helicopter
The live streaming telecast will be anchored by a panel of presenters, with the use of 12 cameras and a helicopter to provide coverage of the races.
The technical demands of covering the event live included dealing with weak cellphone signals and communications facilities in the remote parts of the route.
Numerous camera sites will be serviced by fibre-optic cables and satellite uplinks, with the helicopter providing coverage in the most remote areas.
The production will include profiles and interviews with the key marathon personalities, and will be screened on televisions at the start/finish venue, in addition to the worldwide live internet streaming platform.