Team manager Richard Plugge has revealed fresh details of the goals of the projected ONE Cycling ‘super-league’, which Plugge and other backers want to see launched when the next WorldTour cycle gets underway in 2026.
The ‘super-league’ is said to be aiming to create a new company within the sport that brings together teams, race organisers and the UCI to create new revenue streams. These streams are reported to include the packaging of broadcast rights of smaller races and the marketing of athlete image rights.
However, in an interview with the Belgian De Tijd website published last week, Plugge provided a raft of fresh details about ONE Cycling’s goals, claiming that the “better defined” race calendar format of sports like Formula 1 offered an example to follow.
Plugge also claimed races containing circuits, such as the Tour of Flanders, offered greater profitability and a more secure environment.
Plugge’s starting point for such a major reform of cycling, he told De Tijd, was that since taking charge of his team when it was sponsored by Rabobank back in 2012, he had managed to find new revenue streams in the form of documentaries, a platform for a business community around the team, fan club memberships and a webshop.
However, in cycling in general in these areas of financial growth, Plugge argued that “far too little has happened in this regard in the last ten years” and “We don’t capitalize on our potential enough.”
Regarding One Cycling, Plugge said that the project was aimed at looking at where the sport could be in ten years’ time and that the sport “did not realise clearly enough that our rivals are not the other teams or organizers but all other forms of [sporting] entertainment.”
After naming a multiplicity of sports, including soccer, golf, basketball (in the US) and martial arts as cycling’s real competition, Plugge said that the contrast was most noticeable when comparing fan reactions to the stars of their sport with youthful supporters of professional boxer Jake Paul.
“He gets surrounded by screaming young fans, those young people do not rush towards Jonas Vingegaard or other top riders. I want to change that,” he told De Tijd.
With that change in mind, Plugge pointed to the importance of what he called “recognizability and formats.”
“Everyone now congratulates us as team of the year, even the…