At CES last week, I was on hand to see Bill Gates give his final keynote speech as Microsoft CEO. Before introducing guitar legend Slash to the audience, he mentioned interactive technology that would allow a TV audience to choose, per his example, a race car to follow in the Daytona 500. You could then see the that team’s pit crew and the car’s POV camera rather than just watching what the broadcasters select. I say, screw NASCAR, let’s get that technology for the Tour de France.
Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could choose to follow your favourite racer among the 180 athletes on the road? Half the technology is already there since many of the races kit the participants’ bikes out with transponders. The next step would be current speed and maybe HRM data that would be cool. You’re watching tv, use a remote to find Racer A among all the others, and then you see his place, how fast he’s going, and his position in the field. Maybe have an alternate screen with the course profile showing where Racer A is within the field of riders.
A more complex version could be a computer rendering of a 3D map with topography. If anything, something like that could finally make cross country MTB racing a viable television event.
I think baseball is popular partially because of the plethora of statistics involved. Interactive technology would certainly aid in television viewership of bike racing by letting the audience really get into that world.