Zelnickmedia Picks Pro Cycling As “The Next NASCAR”: Investment Unites Media Firm With Nation’s Leading Bicycle Race Organizer
June, 18 2003
New York - June 18, 2002 – In an aggressive move to add a new sports property to its media and entertainment holdings, ZelnickMedia has joined forces with Threshold Sports LLC to grow the sport of bicycling in America, it was announced today by the principals of both companies.
“Cycling is one of the few truly international sports not yet fully developed in the United States,” said Strauss Zelnick, ZelnickMedia, a company that invests in media and entertainment companies. “The sport has the demographic base, broad public appeal and exciting spectator potential to become the sport of choice of health conscious Americans.”
ZelnickMedia’s research led the firm to Threshold Sports LLC, a Pennsylvania company that produces America’s top international cycling events including the First Union Cycling Series in Philadelphia, the San Francisco Grand Prix, the Miami Cycling Classic and the New York City Cycling Championship, set to debut in lower Manhattan on August 4. Threshold Sports principals have produced over 160 cycling races since 1985, including staging the cycling events at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Their newly created Pro Cycling Tour links the top U.S. races and is intended to provide the sport with the organization, definition, and promotion it has so far lacked in this country.
“We are extremely pleased to be associated with ZelnickMedia,” said David Chauner, a two-time Olympic cyclist and President & CEO of Threshold Sports. “Their ability to package and market entertainment for the American public will help us take cycling to a new level.” According to Chauner, the sport has been gaining steadily in popularity, thanks in large part to the recent awareness of Lance Armstrong, three-time winner of the world’s biggest cycling road race, the Tour de France. Recent research from Bicycling Magazine indicates that interest in road cycling has experienced a fourfold increase in the last ten years.
Under the terms of the agreement, ZelnickMedia will purchase a minority stake in Threshold Sports, LLC and actively assist Threshold Sports and the Pro Cycling Tour with media relationships, high-level sponsorship sales, and strategic alliances. Strauss Zelnick will join Threshold’s Board of Directors.
The Zelnick/Threshold relationship will initially focus on building the Pro Cycling Tour into bicycling’s equivalent of NASCAR or the PGA Tour, recognized brands that define their sports for participants, sponsors, and the media. ZelnickMedia’s ties with major media companies and corporations are sure to attract new sponsors, currently the most important revenue source for the sport. According to Zelnick, “Sponsorship of cycling events is an excellent and underutilized opportunity for companies to advertise to an important and growing demographic. Plus the potential to franchise local teams and events is enormous and largely untapped.”
ZelnickMedia is a partnership of experienced media executives lead by Strauss Zelnick, former CEO of the BMG Entertainment and President/COO of 20th Century Fox. The partnership includes Scott Siegler, former President of Sony Tri-Star and Warner Brothers Television, Jim Friedlich, most recently a senior publishing executive with The Wall Street Journal, Ben Feder, who served as an Executive Vice President of News Corporation, and Karl Slatoff, most recently Vice President of New Media at BMG. The partnership owns interests in an array of media enterprises in recorded music, publishing, CD manufacturing, on-line games, and media-related software, both in the U.S. and Asia.