I've used that lame dead king thing so many times now. Anyway Justin Leov just gave me the heads up that Freecaster is now FREE again! As you read on it's all thanks to Justin's and Sam Blenkinsop's manager Martin Whiteley. Full press release below.
With immediate effect all UCI Cross-Country, 4X and Downhill World Cup LIVE webcasts and replays will be accessible without need to purchase an access code, in an unprecedented move to continue the growth of mountain bike race viewership on the internet.
Freecater.tv was created in 2004, at a time when large-scale access to action sports videos did not exist on the web. In 2010, lack of sponsorship revenues forced Freecaster to go pay per view, negating our purpose and undermining the company vision of building mass awareness of our favourite sports. Pay per view was undertaken as a temporary and limited measure during a period of challenging economic circumstances.
IMTTO, the International Mountain bike Trade Team Organisation, worked hard during the interim to reach an agreement to support Freecaster's efforts to offer the rest of the 2010 UCI World Cup free-of-charge.
"International Mountain Bike Teams, Technical Support companies and Event Organisers enjoyed a steady growth in viewership in mountain bike races throughout 2008 and 2009" observes Martin Whiteley, President of IMTTO. "A key factor in this is the LIVE webcast technology Freecaster has developed, allowing race fans around the globe to watch simultaneously as one online community. Such technological development and support comes at a cost, and in most sports, such costs are borne by the viewer through subscriptions to pay-per-view services. However, our IMTTO members feel that mountain biking is more unique, and should be accessible to the widest audience, as much as possible. As such, key members of our organisation have chosen to contribute towards maintaining a free live webcast service on Freecaster."
"We would like to thank the IMTTO members and our existing advertisers for their shared vision in the future of mountain bike racing on the internet" says Raymond Dulieu, founder and CEO of Freecaster.tv "It was a tough, but necessary, decision to charge for the World Cup coverage and we welcome the return to free access. The World Championships will now be the only paying event this season. We hope viewers will acknowledge our efforts elsewhere by tuning into this season finalé in Mont Sainte Anne, Canada. With six free LIVE World Cup events still to go this season, viewers have plenty of opportunity to tune in and check their system can handle LIVE streaming prior to the World Championships."
"On a personal level, I'd also like to thank those amongst you who understood the reality that nothing is free in this World and respected our decisions" Raymond added. "We're already looking at an appropriate way to give something back to those who supported us thus far. Freecaster was created out of a respect and passion for a great sport, and our friends within it and we will continue being fair and providing the best service we can to the action sports community."
The next free World Cup will be the Cross-country in Offenburg, Germany, LIVE on Sunday 23rd May from 10:45 CET with the Women's Elite race, followed at 14:30 CET by the Men's Elite.