Two bids for 2027 Cycling Words, UCI and organisers unite on 2023 sponsorship sales

PRUSZKOW, POLAND (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The UCI, cycling’s international federation, said today that two candidate cities are vying to stage the 2027 Cycling World Championships.

David Lappartient, the UCI president, revealed the interest while speaking at the Host City conference here in Glasgow, the Scottish city that will stage the first edition of the multi-discipline event in 2023.

Asked by SportBusiness about the geographical spread of the candidate cities, Lappartient said that one city is in Europe and that the second is “in another continent”.

The UCI intends to award the hosting rights in September 2020, when it will also allocate a string of other events in Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines to be staged between 2021 and 2027.

The 2023 event will take place over two weeks, featuring 2,600 athletes across 13 different cycling disciplines, including road, track, BMX, mountain biking and para-cycling. Glasgow will not need to build new venues in order to stage the championships, although events will be spread across Scotland, with Dundee, Edinburgh, Fort William and the Borders also playing host.

The UCI engaged in talks with EventScotland, Glasgow Life, UK Sport and British Cycling before awarding the 2023 hosting rights. In doing so, the first World Cycling Championships will be “co-designed” by the international federation, the local organisers and stakeholders, and also the European Broadcasting Union, the UCI’s World Championships media rights-holder in Europe from 2017 to 2024.

Commenting on the restricted number of cities in a position to stage the World Cycling Championships given the breadth of disciplines, the UCI president observed: “Of course, it has narrowed down the number of cities because if you want to have mountain bike or downhill you need to not be in a flat country. You need to have a velodrome [for track cycling]. Of course, for road cycling it’s not really a problem, but for some disciplines it can be.

“The event is also a big size. You need to have accommodation, hotels and the financial capacity, to face an event like this.

“For us we know that we don’t have so many cities in the world able to do this. But we have enough to hold this event every four years.”

The two 2027 candidates are single city bids but with the possibility of events such as mountain biking being held elsewhere in the respective country.

Discussing the overall Cycling World Championships concept, Lappartient said he was open to joint bids from two cities but depending on how close they are to each other. He also insisted that the new event very much remains a quadrennial proposal, given there would be “only a few” cities that could host the championships if they were staged every year.

Joint 2023 sponsorship sales strategy

Lappartient was also in Glasgow to sign the long-form hosting agreement with EventScotland and local authorities for the 2023 iteration. Within that agreement, it has been decided that around half of the sponsorship inventory will be sold jointly by the UCI and local organisers in a departure from the model for standalone UCI World Championships.

The UCI president remarked: “We have our own world partners, like [UCI World Cycling Partner] Tissot or [UCI Official Partner] Shimano. We’ll keep one part of the visibility for our sponsors. Glasgow or Scotland will keep one part of the visibility for Glasgow City Council, the government and so on.

“Afterwards we have around 50 per cent to sell together. [This is] instead of having 25 per cent belonging to the UCI and 25 per cent to the organising committee and to be maybe [then] discussing with the same potential partners.

“So we will sell this together. This is also innovative to have the local organising committee and the UCI completely on board with the same goal.

“This is not something that has been done [before] but this is maybe something that we can do [across other championships] in the future. It avoids clashes between organising committees and the UCI.”

Further details of the actual sponsorship sales process, including the use of an agency or in-house model, have yet to be defined, according to Lappartient.