The National Cycling League (NCL) has announced their two teams’ rosters today. There’s been a lot of talk about this new cycling venture in the US. They claim to have heavy hitting financial backing and hope to bring cycling (specifically crits) to the forefront of sports in the US. I’ve searched the forum and haven’t found much chatter about it.
The NCL - will it sink or float? Will it change the game for cycling in the US? How will this impact USAC?
I want to be optimistic about this venture, but have guarded enthusiasm.
I wonder how many teams there will be? I’ll do my best to be a fan, but The Disruptors is a horrible name for a team, imo, and Miami is the opposite corner of the country from where I live. I’m hoping there’s a Portland or Seattle team. I think they’ll need at least a 8 teams to make it a meaningful league.
edit: just went on their website and saw that there will only be the two teams for 2023. I wish 'em the best but that doesn’t make any sense to me. What you need is enough to make a compelling story, and two teams isn’t enough, imo.
My impression is that these are the in-house teams but other pro teams will be competing as well, right? The rollout hasn’t been great and the format seems extremely confusing. Agreed that the Disruptors is an absolutely terrible name. I can only imagine how much they paid a consultant to come up with it.
The first race is on GCN+ right now. I hope to see this grow. It could definitely do with some more production like live speed and power data. The drone cam is nice but weird how the camera is a weird color tone.
I watched the race - interesting timing to place it adjacent to Paris-Roubaix.
A few takeaway thoughts:
The two NCL formed teams absolutely dominated the race in both the women’s and men’s races. This makes me wonder about the NCL payouts and their respective “salaries” as NCL sponsored teams. I’m particularly interested to see how their Triple and Quadruple Crown bonuses will play out (as seen below)
I hate to say it, but the sprint every lap made this race possibly the most boring bike racing I’ve ever seen. Team tactics were non-existent, and the men’s field was decimated, leaving less than 20 riders to finish. The women raced hard, albeit the same breakaway situation where all the points were gobbled up.
I wonder about the long-term viability of this format and also what GCN+ was thinking, inking a multi-year tv deal. The lawyer side of me has so many questions about compensation, funding, contracts, etc.
Criterium racing has become a quintessential hallmark of American bike racing. However, I don’t think this is “it.” Waiting to see how the 3 additional races go and to see if the NCL survives its inaugural year.
Welp…things not looking good for the upstart cycling league.
In return for signing non-disclosure agreements and returning all of their team-issued equipment, laid-off riders were reportedly offered the opportunity to buy equity in the company.
LOL…yeah, we are laying you guys off because our revenue stream doesn’t support the contracts we made with you. But if you give us back all that equipment, we’ll then let you invest your own money in the failing business you just got laid off from because it wasn’t working. Trust us, this is a sound investment opportunity.
I’d tell them to pound sand and keep the equipment to sell it and help pay my bills.
Yea, if it’s not in the contract I’d absolutely keep everything.
I actually hope the NCL can make it. It had a boring first race but the second and third races were actually pretty good. The Atlanta race was one of the most exciting US races all year. I’d rather watch that than something like Tulsa Tough where it’s pretty much the same race over every year where you can skip to the last 5-10 laps. I think the courses make 90% of the action so that helped, but the points still make the majority of the race more engaging than normal crits.
I predicted this debacle back at the top of the thread….I’ve seen this movie way too many times over the years. Some group gets a wild idea to starts a city-based “league”….they get a bunch of big-name investors….go for one season……fold.
This development doesn’t surprise me in the slightest unfortunately.