Posts Tagged ‘Sky’

A few brief observations on Marina Hyde’s dislike of the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Award

December 8, 2011

1. Writing in the Guardian, Marina Hyde says women shouldn’t care too much that there are no female athletes on the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year because it’s always been a naff, unmeritocratic irrelevancy. Well, you could argue that all big, glitzy televised awards ceremonies have an aura of naffness and feature some nominees who don’t deserve to be shortlisted, but I don’t think anyone would argue on that basis that it would be OK to have no female nominees at, say, the Oscars or the BRIT Awards. I’m not sure why SPOTY should be any different.

2. Nigel Mansell won it twice and – ha ha! – he doesn’t even have a personality – right, ladies!? So a reasonable conclusion might be that the award’s name is simply a misnomer: it’s a recognition of achievement rather than a celebration of personality. Which brings us to…

3. Mark Cavendish. Marina is not a fan of the manner British Cycling has chosen to drum up support for one of this country’s few world champions, which she calls “Oscars-style campaigning”. So is BC running a slick campaign worthy of Hollywood’s arch machinators? Because it seems to me that it’s nothing more than a modest social media wheeze to get fans voting. I wrote a while ago about how British newspapers covered Cav’s move to Sky: the popular press gave it barely a mention, while the broadsheets provided prominent coverage, which may have been because of the half-page adverts for Sky which accompanied their reports. So overall, the approach of sports editors was to more or less ignore the event because they thought no one would be interested (the red-tops) or print, perhaps, what advertisers wanted to see (the broadsheets). In this context, SPOTY is an opportunity for cycling fans to provide a truer representation of Cav’s popularity, just by picking up the phone or pressing their red button on the night. So not unmeritocratic, or naff: just a small, good way of redressing the balance.

4. Marina Hyde admits that she churned out a piece three years ago praising SPOTY, so she could well be talking bollocks for the sake of it this time as well.

5. The hashtag for that there Twitter, should you choose to use it, is #CAV4SPOTY.

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Let’s all have a look at how much coverage Cav’s move to Sky got in this morning’s papers.

October 12, 2011

Yesterday on Twitter, The Inner Ring mused thusly:

“Whilst we’re all going, ‘Yeah, so what’, millions of ordinary TV viewers and newspaper readers will get the Cav to Sky story today/tomorrow. It’s these people whom most team sponsors count on in order to justify their investment in a team, reaching households across Europe and beyond.”

This got me thinking. Yes, the papers will all run the story, but would the British newspaper readers of tomorrow (i.e. literally tomorrow, not some undefined point in the future – d’ya get me, yeh?) even notice it? Because it’s not as if he won a race or anything, and the move was widely reported in various sports pages months before yesterday’s official announcement. They might not give it any prominence, which would be a shame for the team’s sponsors, because as Mr Ring points out, they require the exposure. Then tomorrow (i.e. today) came along and I was able to find out for myself, via my eyes and – let’s not forget – my hands, which helped turn the correct pages. I really couldn’t have done it without these guys, and they did an incredible job.

Anyhoo, the good news is that (clockwise from top left) The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and The Independent all gave the story half a page. Perhaps not coincidentally, all of them also had a half-page ad for Team Sky and British Cycling underneath.

Which raises two questions: would all four broadsheets have given as much prominence to the story if Sky hadn’t paid for a large-ish ad which complements the editorial? And, less importantly, don’t you think the layout of the pages – Cav on top, Wiggins below – unwittingly suggests what may be the billing of the two Sky men next year?

The redtops all buried the story to varying extents at the back of their sports pages. The Sun, owned by Cavendish’s new paymasters, had the largest of the smaller stories, giving it seven paragraphs plus a pic at the top of page 67. The Mirror has four pars and a headshot of Cav at the bottom of page 56, while the Daily Star, masters of economy, managed to convey the news in a mere 65 words on page 49.

You could say that the prominence each paper gave to the story reflects its readership’s interest in cycling. But look at the Daily Mail – next to the paper’s brief, 80-word story on page 76 is a ragout of its June exclusive, “GB DREAM TEAM, Cavendish in shock move to join Wiggins.”

It was a page lead – perhaps the strongest indication that Cav’s move would’ve got bigger coverage this time round had the story not dragged on for four months.

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #11

August 5, 2011

5 DOWN 5,000 green bottles
Cycling does funny things to colours. Yellow is generally the colour of cowardice, but in the two-wheeled world it’s the hue of a hero’s vestment. Similarly, green means young or inexperienced, which is in stark contrast to the status of elder statesmen Robbie McEwen, 39, and 38-year-old Stuart O’Grady, who are both reportedly on the verge of signing for the seemingly inappropriately-named GreenEDGE (and, by the way, if no sarky blogger has dubbed the incipient Australian team GreyEDGE yet, then The DYNAMITE! Files would like to be the first to do so). But there can be no doubt what the same colour indicates to the good people of Wiggle and Gatorade: following the traditional marketing definition, “green” means producing lots of plastic rubbish nobody really wants or needs and shamelessly attaching it to an eco-friendly endeavour, which is what the two companies did in a prominent double-page ad in Cycling Weekly. Apparently you can own one of 5,000 specially-created bottles if you buy some of the aforementioned energy drink from the online retailer, but they “support” the Sky Rainforest Rescue project so that’s OK. Slightly muddled thinking there, but what do you expect? If you read the first sentence of the blurb below the jerseys, they also seem to think that the Tour de France is still going on…

4 UP Keepcup
On the subject of green issues, Keepcup plopped into the recycling bin of The DYNAMITE! Files’ consciousness this week. “We love bikes,” boast the Australian makers of the reusable coffee receptacle, pointing to their ingeniously designed delivery bicycles. Hopefully, then, the bike-loving caffeinistas will eventually get round to designing a version of the Keepcup that actually bloody fits in a bottle cage, instead of being jammed awkwardly at the top (as pictured above). One slight bump and you might experience what accident investigators might call a latte/tarmac interface. Messy.

3 DOWN Cycling Active
It’s been a week of intriguing questions. Will Sky now have Mark Cavendish on its roster next season? Has Christian Vande Velde ever got lost while riding the Tour de France? And how many miles can you cycle in an hour? The last poser was tweeted by Cycling Active magazine on Tuesday, and – you’d never guess – the answer appears to be that the number varies according to the person, the terrain and the weather. CA’s next possible request to its readership: tell us your favourite length for a piece of string. Or vote for your top temperature.

2 UP powerBIKE
They cannot fight it. At some point, every average wannabe-pro will surrender to the distant thud of David Guetta luring them to their local gym. And it is here, among the baggy shorts, sweatbands and non-wicking fabrics, that they shall face their most daunting challenge: prove you are superior to your fellow spin class attendees by wearing the dorkiest outfit in the room. With his shades and his aero helmet, the chap pictured above is clearly the King of the Spinners – but he is also taking gym snobbishness to teeth-clenchingly unbearable levels by recreating the experience of riding a cobbled Classic. The pedalling version of the now-ubiquitous Power Plate can recreate the juddering sensations one might usually associate with the Muur or the Koppenberg, and the makers claim you get a better workout than an ordinary spin bike because the rider’s muscles are working to counteract the vibrations. Which may be true, although a shonky, second-hand aluminium Ribble and a crappy road surface would be a more cost-effective way of doing the same job as a powerBIKE (RRP: £2,995).

1 UP Bare heads
Fantastic news for the helmet-averse: a poll of 1,427 doctors in the British Medical Journal has revealed that most medics do not want to see crash lids made compulsory as they fear it would put people off cycling. Natasha Austin, 24, of Maida Vale, concurs in the vox pops at the end of the London Evening Standard‘s story: “I don’t wear a helmet and I use Boris bikes. If it were compulsory I might cycle less because then you would have to carry it around.” Now, as one of the few remaining impartial media outlets on the World Wide Whinge, The DYNAMITE! Files wishes to avoid getting into the thorny issue of compulsory helmet usage. But Natasha, sweetheart, a helmet weighs less than the keys in your pocket, and you could always strap it to your bag. You also have to walk to get to your Boris bike, and you may be unable to park it at your destination, which means you are experiencing more hassle on a regular basis than most cyclists do. So don’t think of it is a helmet – treat it as your own personal Crown of Indifference, a proud symbol of how nonplussed you are by minor inconveniences, and wear/carry it with pride.