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HBS appointed as UCI Track Worlds set for broadcast innovation

Host Broadcast Services, a fully owned subsidiary of the Infront Sports & Media agency, has been selected by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to serve as host broadcaster of its 2015 Track World Championships, with the event set to feature onboard bike cameras for the first time.

The 2015 Track Cycling World Championships will be held in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines from February 18-22. The UCI and its exclusive media rights partner Infront have distributed the rights to more than 100 countries and territories.

HBS has previously provided broadcast consultancy and on-site support for the last two editions of the Track World Championships, in Minsk, Belarus and Cali, Colombia.

For the first time ever at a Track Cycling World Championships, miniaturised cameras installed on the bicycles’ saddle tubes will transmit live images of the race to viewers worldwide, as well as to the giant screen in the velodrome.

The live on-board cameras will be used in various events over the five days of competition. The cameras will be installed on competition bikes, feeding live images to the production truck located just outside the venue.

Following initial research and development focused on making the camera and radio frequency transmitter as safe, compact and light as possible, HBS organised a number of tests served to establish the project’s viability.

The French national team participated in the first of these tests, with a second one taking place at the UCI’s headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland. The camera and transmitter used during the first test weighed a combined 300 grams – a weight that has since been reduced to 199 grams.

After this first experience, the UCI said it aims to use onboard cameras at other events on the international track cycling calendar.

UCI president Brian Cookson added: “The UCI wishes to increase cycling’s appeal among the fans. We already introduced cameras and geo-localisation at the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, and have also carried out camera tests at the UCI Cyclocross World Cup.

“Now we will offer the public at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and television and internet viewers throughout the world the chance to experience track racing live from the inside for the first time. This is important and exciting progress for the track and also for cycling as a whole, which will benefit from these technological innovations.”