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bergaretxebe

A.S.O, All about the money?

Here is the first entry to my new blog, let me know what you think....

http://wp.me/p11vFW-b
Slapshot 3

Sounds about right all about cash hence the reason we have so many "tame" TDFs
SlowRower

I don't think charging even E100 for something like the Marmotte / Etape is excessive. This is almost an irrelevance compared to the cost of bike, kit, transport and food whilst training.

From what I've read, getting an Etape entry in the UK without going via a Tour Operator is quite hard and there's bound to be some sharing of revenue between the TOs and the promoter. This might be more of an issue, but again, for many Weekend Warriors, a few hundred quid to do such a race isn't really an issue, as you are buying convenience.

Are "tame" TDFs necessarily bad? If people want to watch tame races then maybe the sport has a duty to provide them. Purists can focus on amateur or low profile races with acceptable courses and no spectators / media interest if they want to.

Are tame TDFs even tame, though? I guess for the sprinters that more than half a dozen bunch sprints over three weeks with the attendant pushing, shoving, jousting and crashing feels anything but tame by the end of the race. There's probably more sprint contenders than GC contenders, so that's where the real competition is in my view. I'm not saying the MV is more important than the MJ, but if you want reliable committed competition, then bunch sprints are what you should be watching.
bergaretxebe

SlowRower wrote:
I don't think charging even E100 for something like the Marmotte / Etape is excessive. This is almost an irrelevance compared to the cost of bike, kit, transport and food whilst training.

From what I've read, getting an Etape entry in the UK without going via a Tour Operator is quite hard and there's bound to be some sharing of revenue between the TOs and the promoter. This might be more of an issue, but again, for many Weekend Warriors, a few hundred quid to do such a race isn't really an issue, as you are buying convenience.

Are "tame" TDFs necessarily bad? If people want to watch tame races then maybe the sport has a duty to provide them. Purists can focus on amateur or low profile races with acceptable courses and no spectators / media interest if they want to.

Are tame TDFs even tame, though? I guess for the sprinters that more than half a dozen bunch sprints over three weeks with the attendant pushing, shoving, jousting and crashing feels anything but tame by the end of the race. There's probably more sprint contenders than GC contenders, so that's where the real competition is in my view. I'm not saying the MV is more important than the MJ, but if you want reliable committed competition, then bunch sprints are what you should be watching.


I am not suggesting that is excessive, but that A.S.O is ripping their customers off.

Are they offering something new? No
Are they offering something better? I would say equal to the others

So basically, they are charging because the word TOUR is in it, and don't get me started with the Paris - Roubaix, bloody joke!  I am fuming!
SlowRower

L'Etape offers a different route each year, though. The Marmotte is the same each year.

Market forces will prevail, no doubt. The fact that there are two Etapes this year suggests the price isn't too high.

If you extend your argument to its ultimate level, you should object to paying any entry fee, and simply plan a route through the mountains and ride it. With a big saddle bag, quadruple bottle cages and the odd detour to a local shop, nutrition won't be a problem, and this way you can ride pretty much any route you want, whenever you want to.

The obvious answer is to do the Marmotte!
Fontfroide

SR,
Clearly you are market force extremist, and what you say is true, the market will speak.  So riders who have less money will avoid the Etape and ride the cyclos in France that are organised a bit for love of cycling and a particular area, and a lot less for money.  When one lets the market in, and nothing else modifies it, the way forward is simple.  Them that has the money, pays and gets the product.  Them that don't don't.  If you think this is a good way to run a society or run cyclosportives, that's it.  I find that price, in comparison to prices for any other cyclosportif to be outrageous.  There are enough rich cyclists around to pay, so it might well succeed.  If you think the cyclosportif movement in France strong and historically long has been built up by money grabbing capitalist sports organisations, you don't know much at all.  That the ASO should come along and piggyback that to make money is not a surprise, it just is open to moral and social criticism.  They did this already anyway, with the Historical Etape.  It is just what capitalists do, turn everything into a commodity, not a fun project, a social project or a community service as nearly all cyclos have been up to now.  

If they have their way, we will all be paying to post on this forum.  Why not?
SlowRower

FF - I'm not a market force extremist. I'm just a realist. If I was promoting a sportive I'd crank the price up to maximise my profit. It's not up to bike race promoters to follow social and inclusive agendas beyond existing discrimination laws.

If I was a council officer promoting healthy lifestyles, I'd promote a subsidised sportive. I'd prefer to ride the Marmotte for free. Things cost what they cost, though.

The only alternative is state regulation of entry fees, which seems a tad excessive as a measure.

We might just as well complain that skiing holidays are too expensive.
Biosphere

SlowRower wrote:
. . .  If I was promoting a sportive I'd crank the price up to maximise my profit. It's not up to bike race promoters to follow social and inclusive agendas beyond existing discrimination laws.


But many sportives are promoted by bike enthusiasts and are not interested in ripping off customers (or maximising profits if you prefer less harsh sounding words that disguise what's going on). The quoted fees are a rip off for what you get, and a blog calling it so is on the money IMO. In the case of the RVV sportive, the most expensive fee was €20 last year and something like 20,000 entrants can be expected next year. That makes it about the biggest one out there and more than 3 Etape's worth, so it can hardly be called under-subscribed, yet the price remains reasonable with no sign of profiteering. I've done it 3 times and it's superbly organised.

Dan Martin has ridden Midlands sportives in the past and depressed one of my mates with the rate he could climb at. A few quid to enter. A mate of his lives in Berne and got to cycle with Cancellara at his local sportive this summer. Again a few quid to enter. There's more to these events than the cash Very Happy
SlowRower

Bio,

I hardly think that the entry fees for L'Etape represent "ripping off" of anyone. You get what you pay for - a stage of that year's TDF with several thousand fellow nutters, with feed stations, timing chips, medical support and a broomwagon. (Closed roads as well possibly.)

There are no hidden charges and you won't get to the bottom of the Tourmalet and find it's closed, moved or 1000m less climbing than advertised.

If you don't want to pay that then you don't have to. As you point out, there are plenty of cheaper sportives to go for and as I've pointed out, it's hardly a great feat of planning to ride the route you want outside of any third party organisation.

However, particular for L'Etape, there's big demand from the UK "MAMIL"s and Weekend Warriors, some of whom cycle solely for such a big name event. Whether that's good or bad for them is another debate, but it results in a lot of dosh being shelled out in bike shops for an "Etape Bike", which is presumably a good thing, as it keeps bike shops and manufacturers in business.

I'm not sure a Blog criticising Etape entry fees is going to achieve anything. (Actually, that's not true - I am sure it won't.) The organisers don't care, as they don't seem constrained by the price of entry.

A meaningful protest would be to organise a "Budget Etape". I'd have a lot of respect for anyone who did that, rather than just complain!

A running mate of mine does precisely that for road races. He vehemently objects to paying £25 for a 10k road race entry and organises races of his own for a £5 entry fee. (£7 if you want a t-shirt!).
Shamefully one might say, as he only ever seems to pick hilly routes, I've never done one of his events and end up paying through the nose for flat, fast courses, 'cos I want a PB!

As an aside, do you work in the Pharmaceuticals sector?
MAILLOT JAUNE

Regarding ASO's charges, they are certainly putting the squeeze on Tour Operators. One of the guys from Sporting Tours International says that ASO used to include extras such as VIP passes in their packages, but don't do that anymore and the deals that ASO do offer don't allow the Tour Operators to make much profit.
SlowRower

MAILLOT JAUNE wrote:
Regarding ASO's charges, they are certainly putting the squeeze on Tour Operators. One of the guys from Sporting Tours International says that ASO used to include extras such as VIP passes in their packages, but don't do that anymore and the deals that ASO do offer don't allow the Tour Operators to make much profit.


I think this is a much bigger issue than entry fees tbh. I also steer clear of the major charity road races - e.g. Great North Run - as the guaranteed charity entry places come at a very high price and the first £300 or so of what you raise for the charity gets paid to the organisers to cover their chosen charities (not so bad, I suppose) and "management fees" (Brendan Foster's lunches - of which there appear to have been plenty!)
bergaretxebe

SlowRower wrote:
Bio,

I hardly think that the entry fees for L'Etape represent "ripping off" of anyone. You get what you pay for - a stage of that year's TDF with several thousand fellow nutters, with feed stations, timing chips, medical support and a broomwagon. (Closed roads as well possibly.)


To be honest, a minimum well organized sportive has the same thing to offer.

Quote:
I'm not sure a Blog criticising Etape entry fees is going to achieve anything. (Actually, that's not true - I am sure it won't.) The organisers don't care, as they don't seem constrained by the price of entry.

As for me, I have achieved more than you can imagine, but that is only my opinion.

Quote:
A meaningful protest would be to organise a "Budget Etape". I'd have a lot of respect for anyone who did that, rather than just complain!

Well, much to your surprise, I've tried too organize different cyclos, when I was living in Stortford, I tried to organize the Stortford 100, riding through Essex, Herts and Cambridge, but it was impossible, as the authorities at that time didn't grant me any permission. I had the sponsors, feeding stations provided by a local shop, free photos guaranteed (I was doing a Photo course at the time, and all the colleagues signed up to help, it was a good way of practicing), road marshals, mechanic service, and a "pasta party" with a local blues band in a pub for the after race. But all this was before the MAMIL fever, perhaps today it would be easier...
BTW the price was going to £30 (Pasta party aside) including a water bottle and a inner tube, as well as all the free photos as you wish.

So don't tell me I just complain
Biosphere

SlowRower wrote:
I hardly think that the entry fees for L'Etape represent "ripping off" of anyone. You get what you pay for - a stage of that year's TDF with several thousand fellow nutters, with feed stations, timing chips, medical support and a broomwagon. (Closed roads as well possibly.)


Well the Belgians manage all that for a 5th of the price (sans timing chip to be truthful). You get to ride the entire RVV and all the helligen. I don't anway understand the "get what you pay for argument". If I charge you a grand for a bottle of water and you pay and I deliver, then you get what you paid for. I'm clearly ripping you off though.

SlowRower wrote:
There are no hidden charges and you won't get to the bottom of the Tourmalet and find it's closed, moved or 1000m less climbing than advertised.

It's a sportive not a Ryanair flight. Are you seriously telling me that at some cycling event people were held back at the start line until the paid more cash than the entry fee? What other sportive has the mountain been moved for? I think you may be overreaching on the argument just a little?

To be honest I'm not sure what we're arguing about. In the free market you're free to pay the price and say it's good. I'm free to say it's a rip off and take my 20 euors to someone who gives me value for money (as I've done). I don't need to organise a sportif for my views to be any more valid than yours surely?

SlowRower wrote:
As an aside, do you work in the Pharmaceuticals sector?
Not clever enough.
SlowRower

Biosphere wrote:
To be honest I'm not sure what we're arguing about.


I think this particular quote could be applied to many threads seen on this here Forum!

Seriously though, we were arguing about the definition of a rip-off. If I bought your hypothetical £1000 bottle of water, you might consider that you'd ripped me off whereas I'd consider myself to be a fool who'd wasted his money. (Unless I was on the brink of death by dehydration, in which case I'd think it a good investment!)
Fontfroide

I think my point is that the movement of cyclosportives began with volunteers and people doing it for love, at low cost.  It continues to be exactly like that in France.  Check the prices of the Ardechoise and Arieges, two well known cyclosportives I know about.  Ardechoise is way bigger than the Etape.  Perfectly run, totally excellent routes and costing no more than 25 euros or so.  When you realise this and you look at the ASO money-grubbing profit making (also well organised) event you realise they are doing it for the money.  And they are doing to exclude anyone who can't pay or won't pay.  Hell you can do a randonnee in France very weekend and never pay more than five euros.  So if we are discussing anything it is the role of volunteers, and of capitalists, in our sport at the amateur level.  That is, the most important level, where the real cyclists are.

The question is then what do you think of people who are making way more than anyone else off the same kind of event.  And that question is deeply conditioned by whether you have a lot of money or not very much.  If you reckon they are smart capitalists just taking advantage of a market, then everything is cool.  There is and always well be, think goodness, people who organise rides for the love of the velo.

Check out the huge number of events and check out some prices and then tell me the ASO is not a business, out to make as much money as they can.  Then tell me if you think this is the future of the sport, without poor people.
http://www.cyclosport.com/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=7
Bartali

I think SR's point is being lost here.  I think he is simply saying the ASO are not ripping anyone off - simply charging a price and leaving it to the punters to decide whether to pay or not.  Fortunately there is plenty of choice so we don't have to pay inflated prices if we don't want to.

That said, the ASO must be doing something right because there 'overpriced' events are over subscribed so clearly there is room for everyone.

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