After more than 10 years of broadcasting World Cup XCO and downhill races on Red Bull TV, it appears the partnership is coming to an end. According to a press release from the UCI, the organization will move forward with exclusive partnerships with Discovery Sports.
“At its recent meeting in Montreux (Switzerland) from 10 to 12 February, the Management Committee of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) decided to enter into exclusive negotiations with Discovery Sports for the organization and promotion of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for eight seasons, from 2023 to 2030.”
The press release notes that the Discovery Sports partnership was a proposal by the company and more information will be available when the two sign the contract.
The UCI goes on to “thank Red Bull Media House, the producer and main broadcaster of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, who has used all its expertise to satisfy the passion of mountain bike fans around the world for more than 10 years, while significantly increasing the series’ audience during this period.”
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz UCI World Cup will still be available for viewing on Red Bull TV and on UCI MTB World Cup broadcasters’ channels.
Last year, the Enduro World Series also announced a partnership with Discovery to “revolutionize the coverage of the sport.” The release didn’t provide any more details on what that may mean, but it looks like the Discovery Channel is doubling down on mountain bike content. The World Cup has been free to watch on Red Bull TV, and it’s unclear if it will remain free with the Discovery partnership.
We reached out to representatives for Red Bull in order to understand what the end of the partnership may mean for the energy drink and media brand. A spokesperson replied with this statement:
“While our coverage of the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will remain unchanged and live on Red Bull TV, we will no longer be the exclusive media partner for the 2023-2030 seasons. Mountain biking will remain an important playground for Red Bull, and we are exploring other opportunities that will ensure the progression of the sport. We are now focused on delivering an action-packed 2022 calendar and cannot wait to kick things off at the UCI MTB World Cup in Lourdes.”
Red Bull says they did attempt to renew their partnership and they are trying to determine what that will mean for the brand’s mountain bike content in the future, though it should free up resources for other projects, and “the door is still open for us to work with the UCI on World Cups moving forward but outside of the live broadcast rights/space.”