Infront and Velon transforming the sport of cycling


Stavanger, Norway as second Hammer Series event announced for 2018

Zug, Switzerland – The Hammer Series, the revolutionary new professional cycling series, is to have its inaugural race in Limburg, Netherlands, this weekend (2-4 June). Infront Sports & Media, a Wanda Sports company, in partnership with Velon, the business venture aiming at bringing cycling closer to the fans, has announced the growth of the series in 2018 with a second event location in Stavanger, Norway.

Infront is responsible for media and sponsorship sales on an international basis. Furthermore, it is handling together with Velon the event - as well as the brand management for the entire event series. An integral part of this joint collaboration was also the strategic concept and development of the Hammer Series with its new and attractive race format.

Sixteen of the best cycling teams from around the world are competing in Limburg. Spanning three race days, the teams will compete in the Hammer Climb, Hammer Sprint and conclude with the Hammer Chase race. For further information about the format, please visit www.hammerseries.com/about/the-hammer-format

Market-orientated race format

The series features an innovative race format, which is designed to deliver cycling action that is fast, exciting, accessible and easy to follow for spectators and fans. A market-orientated format encourages engagement with the local community at each race destination through various levels of activities that will be beneficial for the host cities, the media, the fans and the cyclists competing.

To deliver maximum excitement, the professional race in Limburg is complemented by a cycling festival, which will provide fans on site with a variety of activities including mass participation races, a youth race, a fan village, a cycling expo, team bus parades and further entertainment features.

Split between traditional and digital media distribution

In a “digital first” approach, all the action from the event will be streamed live to reach as many people worldwide as possible to introduce them to the format and to excite them about professional cycling. On Facebook, a live stream will be available on the Hammer Series’ Facebook page - www.facebook.com/hammerseries and the Sports on Facebook page – www.facebook.com/sportsonfb. In addition, the live stream on YouTube will be available on the GCN channel - www.youtube.com/GCN.

The 12-time Tour de France stage winner Robbie McEwen, will be fronting the coverage incorporating his knowledge of pro cycling combined with Velon’s real-time rider data to provide the must-see viewing for fans. This approach underlines the ambition to make the events accessible to everyone and connect fans worldwide.

In addition, Infront has distributed media rights across traditional media platforms. Key agreements secured in well-established cycling markets include Belgium (Eleven Sports Network), Denmark (TV2), UK and Italy (Bike Channel), the Netherlands (NOS and L1) and Pan-Europe through its popular sports channels Eurosport 2 and Player. This is complemented by broadcast agreements for growing cycling markets in China, Hong Kong and Japan.

State-of-the art digital coverage connects fans

Media production for the event in Limburg is being handled by Infront subsidiary HBS. Live on-board and in-car cameras and real-time performance data transmission produced by Velon will be made available to international TV broadcasters with live on-screen race data included in the main feed (speed, power, cadence and heart rate).

Brand exposure for well-known sponsor brands

Leading brands believe in the new competition and are committed to the event in Limburg. Sponsors include Heineken through its brand Amstel (beer), MINI (car manufacturer), DSM (life and materials science company) and Boels (equipment rental company). Each of the brands will benefit from prominent branding on advertising boards and inflatables along the course and a comprehensive hospitality contingent at each of the race days.

Stephan Herth, Executive Director Summer Sports at Infront: “We are continuously investing in the development of sport – by developing new event formats or enhancing existing properties. We fully believe in this revolutionary new event format and are beyond excited for the launch this weekend. We are confident that we will see a successful event that encourages engagement across the board from the cyclists to the fans. Add to that the digital coverage and we really are bringing the international cycling community as close to the event as possible. The confirmation to stage a second event in Stavanger next year is another recognition that we are on the right track with the format and concept of the Hammer Series.”

Graham Bartlett, CEO of Velon: “We want as many people as possible to be part of the excitement and to find out more about the teams and riders who make it so thrilling. Fans are hugely passionate about sport and there is some great banter on social media so we are looking forward to the debates about who is the best in the world. In addition, we are delighted to welcome Stavanger to the Hammer Series. Everything about the area, the excellent race organisation and the strong interest people in Norway have for cycling, makes it a perfect fit for us.”

About Hammer Series

Hammer is a team-vs.-team race where only one team can win. Each day focuses on a specific cycling discipline where the riders will collect points for their teams: Day 1 features the Hammer Sprint race, on day 2 the riders face the Hammer Climb, and the final day is the decisive Hammer Chase. In Hammer Chase, the leading team after the first two days starts first, the other teams are chasing and the first team over the line will be crowned event champions. Each day will feature multiple laps of 8 to 10 km on a circuit, ensuring that fans always get the ultimate view of the action. Teams will bring a squad of seven riders with five competing each day.

Alongside the professional teams’ races, the Hammer Stavanger will feature a festival of cycling including family mass participation activities, sportive races open to the public, a fan village, cycling expo and entertainment.

About Velon

Velon creates innovative content including live video, real-time rider data and on-board GoPro videos which take fans right to the heart of professional cycling action.

The company works closely with WorldTour and Pro Continental Teams, race organisers, broadcasters, online sport destinations and the international cycling media to increase engagement with the world’s biggest and best-known professional cycling races.

Velon was founded by 10 WorldTour teams, Team Lotto-NL Jumbo, Team Sunweb, UAE Team Emirates, Team Sky, BMC Racing Team, Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team, Lotto Soudal, ORICA-SCOTT, Quick-Step Floors Pro Cycling Team and Trek-Segafredo.

Visit the Velon website for more information.

About Infront Sports & Media

Infront Sports & Media, a Wanda Sports company, is one of the most respected sports marketing companies in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production, event operation and digital solutions – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football, summer and endurance sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with close to 170 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of more than 900 experienced staff working from over 35 offices across more than 15 countries, delivering 4,100 event days of top class sport around the world every year. In November 2015, Infront was integrated into Wanda Sports Holding, part of the Chinese conglomerate the Dalian Wanda Group.

About Wanda Sports

Wanda Sports is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media & marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Led by President & Vice Chairman Philippe Blatter, Wanda Sports incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.