A New Cycling League is Coming and I'm Resorting to Prayer
Not sure how prayer works so I'm just trying everything.
I hope to someday be a pro cycling commentator. It’s like saying I’m a hedgehog who wants to play jazz oboe: powerfully cute but not likely. That said, I do have a plan. I pray every night to the gods of cycling commentary: Jens Voigt, Sean Kelly, and Paul Sherwin. Of course, two of those men are still alive so… I’m not really sure how prayer works.
One of the other things I’ve been praying to those gods of cycling about lately is that the new cycling league, known as the NCL, will not add a social media component that affects the racing.
I BESEECH YOU PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS NCL.1
Some Sportsball Context
Imagine if the NFL added a Dancing with the Stars component where players, at halftime, competed with celebrities to win points that affected the game’s outcome. I’m not really a football fan but I think we can all agree that would be dumb.
Imagine if Major League Soccer added a second goal above the first one that was worth 2 points. Why the farting butt would they mess with the most popular sport in the world like that?
Or imagine if someone added a component to car racing where some cars are more powerful thanks to social media activity.
Here’s the part that’s gonna blow your mind so hard you’ll forget how to pee: someone already did the last one and it was a total feces party held in a burning cave of vomit.
Let me explain. But first, isn’t this
rant discussion going well? Why not share it with some friends? They’ll thank you!
Vox Populi Inanis Est
Way back in 2011 a couple of guys in the international racing business said to themselves, “Hey, this electric vehicle idea is pretty popular, and our motorsports events are pretty popular, why not put them together?” This was, generally, a good idea. FormulaE was born.
But then, FormulaE decided to add a component where fans could help their favorite drivers get more power in their cars by interacting with social media. It would have been a better idea to add catapults to the cars which launched venomous snakes into the crowd.
The idea was known as Fan Boost and it is supposedly finally dead for 2023. But you can imagine what a feces fandango it was when drivers got more powerful cars thanks to social media hashtags.
Nobody should ever have given a squirt about social media and I’m sorry I bought into the idea that it would somehow help me as an artist to use it. I think the whole thing was a farce that served to make a few villains so rich that they’ve transcended any notion of oversight. It didn’t do diddly ballbags for me.
Now we arrive, at last, at the NCL.
Please Don’t Add A Dumb Fan Component
This one is tough because I get how juicy it looks to investors and to sponsors. The series absolutely has to make money or it will disappear. Advertisers will absolutely want to know how much engagement they got out of their investment.
That’s why it will be so deliciously tinglingly tempting to add a component to the racing where racers get some kind of advantage for views on social media.
PLEASE NO. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. PLEASE GREG LEMOND TELL THEM NOT TO DO THIS. PLEASE JENS VOIGT. PLEASE DEAR DEPARTED BETTY WHITE. HELP US.
I have no reason to think that they might do something like this. But there’s also been no clear indication so far that they won’t.
Social media is like crack for business people because it puts numbers on ROI and no one seems to care that those numbers are often — if not always — fake. You and I, normal schlubs on the street, can feel the fakeness. But business doofuses apparently can’t.
Cycling is already good. It does need a few things, like better streaming coverage and more athletes who are not white males. It appears so far that the NCL understands this and intends to address those things. That would be huge and I’m excited to see what happens.
I just hope they don’t do those good things and then bolt on a lark turd of an idea like some ass-brain fan engagement. Mind you, if they do, and they’re hiring commentators, I still want the gig.
I do apologize for the all-caps but it’s the only way I know how to beseech.