22 December 2023 Tweet
The world-class roster, technology-driven live show, global broadcast strategy and immersive fan experience ensured the third season of the UCI Track Champions League went from strength to strength and continued to elevate track cycling to new levels.
Friday 22nd December: Last month Ellesse Andrews (New Zealand), Katie Archibald (Great Britain), Dylan Bibic (Canada) and Harrie Lavreysen (Netherlands) were the latest riders to see their names etched onto the UCI Track Champions League trophy after another season of incredible racing.
Having completed the third year of this ambitious project presented by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, the UCI Track Champions League is succeeding in its mission of elevating track cycling to new levels and reaching new audiences.
Its short, sharp racing format is easy to understand and its elaborate stage show, innovative official app and all-new metaverse experience continue to provide a truly immersive fan experience.
The 2023 season saw five rounds take place over four back-to-back weekends. The league kicked off with Round 1, the Super Launch, in Mallorca, Spain, then moved on to the Berlin Velodrom in Germany before heading to the Vélodrome National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France – the same venue that will host the track cycling events at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The season concluded with London’s Lee Valley Velodrome, in Great Britain, hosting a double-header on two consecutive sold-out nights for Rounds 4 and 5 (the Grand Finale).
Short-format, high-performance racing: the sporting highlights
72 world-class riders (36 male and 36 female) from 28 nations took part – with 35 (15 male and 20 female) of them making their debuts. They each competed for equal prize money.
Overall, the riders had amassed 36 UCI Track World Championships titles and 14 Olympic medals between them, making this one of the highest-level competitions in track cycling.
A total of 150 races took place across the five rounds, with 19 different riders emerging triumphant at least once, showcasing just how competitive the 2023 field was. Throughout the series, a total of 824 laps were completed, reaching a combined distance of 206 km.
Utilising unparalleled rider data courtesy of Official Artificial Intelligence Cloud Provider partner AWS, the UCI Track Champions League continued to enhance fans’ understanding of the sport.
Metrics such as heart rate, cadence and power were tracked during each round, all captured to highlight to the incredible performances needed to emerge at the top of the standings.
Key rider data from the four winners of the 2023 season can be accessed HERE.
A worldwide audience
The 2023 UCI Track Champions League was broadcast live across the globe on Warner Bros. Discovery’s Sports’ entertainment platforms (discovery+, GCN, Eurosport), with the main events of every round also being shown live on Eurosport 1 International and Eurosport World, in multiple language options.
In addition to that, 18 international broadcast partners also screened the series, with a total of 12 free-to-air channels, bringing the sport to many new screens.
The live broadcasts utilised a vast production set up which included spidercams, on-board rider cameras and multiple behind-the-scenes and trackside cameras, allowing viewers to watch the racing from multiple angles and visit areas they wouldn’t usually have access to.
The coverage featured expert analysis from series ambassadors Sir Chris Hoy and Kristina Vogel, as well as five-time UCI World Champion Joanna Rowsell, with live rider data also being beamed to TV viewers courtesy of AWS.
Crowds en masse and engagement on the rise
Along with the millions of viewers watching at home, a record 19,600 spectators filled the velodromes to witness the racing live (up 7% on 2022), including two sold-out nights in London for the final rounds.
The continued success of the league has also brought new audiences to its social channels that feature interactive and behind-the-scenes content to tell the story of the rounds.
Over 25 million video views were achieved across the third season, with over 1.2 million engagements and 54 million impressions across both the UCI Track Champions League and Eurosport social media platforms.
Riders also contributed to the increased engagement across the series by sharing their own content to their fan bases, whilst the Eurosport digital channels brought the excitement of the racing to the mainstream audience.
The 2023 season continued to attract the world’s media: 128 journalists from 10 countries witnessed the action in person with many more reporters covering the action remotely, resulting in over 3,700 articles being published.
Groundbreaking metaverse launch
One of the most exciting aspects of the 2023 campaign was the launch of the UCI Track Champions League metaverse, a first-of-its-kind mobile experience bringing fans even closer to the action and riders.
Powered by Infinite Reality, the metaverse utilises Web3 technology to bring a wealth of on-demand content to fans across the globe, providing an innovative and interactive way for audiences to deepen their understanding of track cycling and its athletes.
25% of users who visited the metaverse over the final two rounds were doing so for the very first time, and those users spent an average of one hour and 45 minutes in the metaverse, connecting with an average of five friends.
The most used areas of this virtual world were:
- The Public and Private Lounges where fans were able to meet and interact with each other during races.
- The Customisable Camera Streams which allowed fans to be their own director, going both trackside or behind the scenes with eight live camera feeds, including a dedicated one which connected them with an exclusive metaverse reporter who provided exclusive interviews and content.
- The On-Demand Content which granted users access to race highlights and exclusive content.
- The Live Biometric Rider Race Data Centre where heart rate, cadence and power figures were all displayed to demonstrate the intense physical output of the athletes.
Warner Bros. Discovery Sports and Infinite Reality will continue to develop the metaverse product and improve the interactive fan experience ahead of the 2024 UCI Track Champions League season.
As well as the metaverse, a new-and-improved version of the official UCI Track Champions League app was also introduced ahead of the season.
Powered by Official Cloud Infrastructure Provider AWS, the app delivers an elevated race experience with access to exclusive live data and onboard cameras which provide a whole host of unique insights.
The 2023 season saw more than 23,000 downloads of the official UCI Track Champions League app (+100%), with a total of 36,861 users taking advantage of the interactive features to experience the action at new levels. New features included an expanded Fan Zone where supporters could make predictions and compete head-to-head in special quests and challenges. The more success they had, the more points they accrued, and the higher they sat on the app’s global leaderboard. Prizes were awarded to a host of stand-out performers.
The Cheer a Rider feature allowed fans to get behind their favourite athletes, with further prizes awarded for the amount of support they achieved.
If that wasn't enough, the app provided access to a host of live onboard camera feeds, while the Race Live Mode delivered live power, speed, heart rate and cadence data at the push of a button. Side-by-side comparisons between two competing athletes were also available.
Pushing the Feel Heartbeat button, users could feel the live heartbeat of any athlete in the palm of their hand using their smartphone’s vibrate function. Be it a nervous 130 beats per minute on the start line or a rapid 200bpm with one lap to go, this unique feature gave viewers unprecedented insight into world-class athletes’ performances.
The app’s game-changing features did not stop there; it also acted as a central information hub for the series. Users could view riders’ profiles with key physiological information, league results, standings, palmares and latest league news all present.
Reflecting on the success of the third season, UCI President David Lappartient said: “The UCI Track Champions League continues to challenge the riders, delight the fans, and open up new opportunities for the discipline. With new and established winners sharing the podiums, innovative digital options for fans to follow the action and a spectacular show for spectators in the velodrome, the third edition of the UCI Track Champions League again surpassed expectations.”
Chris Ball, VP – Cycling Events at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe, said: "The ability of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Europe in managing and promoting all aspects of sporting events is truly unmatched. With the 2023 UCI Track Champions League we – as a trusted global partner of the UCI, that we thank again for the great collaboration – have continued to make track cycling more accessible and exciting than ever before, elevating it to new levels and reaching new audiences in the process.
“The launch of the UCI Track Champions League metaverse is a testament to that and has enabled cycling fans to engage with each other, the riders and the sport like never before, while the new-and-improved app has also provided a game-changing experience.
“Of course, our market-leading race coverage has also continued to innovate, telling the stories of the series that excite and engage broad, global audiences. Far from resting on our laurels, we are excited to continue delivering the best track cycling and can't wait to return with even bigger and bolder plans for 2024."
ISO certified promoter
As the global promoter of the UCI Track Champions League, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports has been recognised for its commitment to sustainable event management and been granted ISO20121 certification.
The certification approves the structured framework that integrates sustainability into event management practices. Along with enhancing social inclusion and ensuring economic viability for all stakeholders, the framework includes setting long-term goals, implementing sustainable practices, measuring performance, and continually improving the internal and external processes and policies - all to reduce the environmental and social impact of the large-scale international events promoted while maintaining their economic viability.