New pro cycling race Hammer Sportzone Limburg will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube so fans everywhere can watch many of the world’s top professional cycling teams go head to head in Holland. The race, running from Friday 2 June to Sunday 4 June, will see 16 teams do battle over the Hammer Climb, Hammer Sprint and Hammer Chase to be crowned the best team in the world.
The Hammer Series was created by Infront Sports & Media in partnership with Velon, which produces live rider data, videos and social media content designed to increase engagement with professional cycling.
Graham Bartlett, Chief Executive of Velon, said the decision to put Hammer Sportzone Limburg live on social media would help to broaden the appeal of the sport. “We want as many people as possible to be part of the excitement and to find out more about the teams and riders who make it so thrilling. Fans are hugely passionate about sport and there’s some great banter on social media so we’re looking forward to the debates about who is the best team in the world.”
According to Infront Sports & Media and Velon, the decision to throw the doors open to fans on social media underlines the ambition to make the event a truly digital one – ‘where people can watch free of charge and see the action as it unfolds over the three days, whether they’re at home or on the move.’
The coverage will be fronted by 12-time Tour de France stage winner Robbie McEwen, whose knowledge of pro cycling combined, with Velon’s real-time rider data and ground-breaking graphics, will create an event that aims to thrill casual and hard-core cycling viewers around the world. Joining him as commentator will be Declan Quigley.
Robbie McEwan said “Delivering the broadcast via Facebook Live is a fantastic way of making the Hammer Series accessible to millions more people across the world wherever they may be. They can watch at home or on mobile devices live or watch a replay any time they like. I think social media platforms like Facebook Live are a big part of the future of sports broadcasting.”
Riders are reportedly enthusiastic at the prospect of their sport being seen by a bigger audience. Team Sky’s Danny Van Poppel said “It’s great to see the sport growing and the fact that millions of fans around the world will be able to watch us live on Facebook is really exciting. I’m sure we will put on a good show.”
BMC Racing Team’s Stefan Küng said “Of course the greatest place to watch a cycling race is from the sidelines but with cycling being a truly global sport, this isn’t possible for the majority of fans. As a result, the ability to watch a cycling race from anywhere in the world is so important.”
He continued, “Broadcasting the entire three days of the Hammer Series on Facebook Live is a huge step forward. To think that any fan will be able to log into Facebook and watch the race, for free, no matter where they are, will put cycling fans at the forefront of the action. I think the reaction will be huge.”
The live stream will be available on the Hammer Series Facebook page and will be shared by the 12 competing WorldTour teams plus the four Pro-Continental teams on their pages. Together, they have more than four million Facebook likes.
In addition, Facebook will be joining in the action by promoting the live stream on its Sports on Facebook page, which has 15.5m likes. In total, there are more than 660 million sports fans on Facebook so the potential audience for Hammer Sportzone Limburg is significant.
The races take place in the afternoons of 2,3 and 4 June; and fans can set up prompts on the Hammer Series Facebook page by using the ‘Request Reminder’ feature.
On YouTube, the live stream will be available on the GCN channel, the largest cycling channel in the world which has more than one million subscribers, and the GCN Facebook Page.
As well as being on social media, the coverage will be shown on networks in the following countries:
Denmark – TV2
Germany – Sport 1
Greece – Action 24
Italy – Bike Channel
Netherlands – NOS, L1
Turkey – NTV Spor
UK – Bike Channel
Pan-Europe – Eurosport 2 (highlights) and Eurosport Player (live)
China – Various internet portals
Hong Kong – i-Cable/TVB/PCCW
Japan – J Sports
Malaysia/Brunei – Astro
Singapore – Starhub
Taiwan – Sportcast/Eleven
Thailand – Truevision
Viewers should check local programming schedules for broadcast times. More networks will be added to the list nearer the race.
Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
BMC Racing Team
Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
Team Lotto NL-Jumbo
UAE Team Emirates
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
Israel Cycling Academy