Everything Changes Eventually
Gate revenue could be just what professional cycling needs.
maybe one or two other races (not to mention that you need to subscribe to that cable network), there are not many viewing opportunities for North American cycling fans. You pop onto Twitter any race weekend and you'll see numerous requests from people asking who has a link to a bootleg streaming video of that day's race.
With the gate fees an internet option could be subsidized on the race's site and even running the occasional ad on the bottom of the screen, much like they do now during television shows. Heck, even utilize "GetGlue" to mobilize the social media aspect and viewers will start "checking in" from around the globe. If, for example, a multinational conglomerate sees viewers from around the world engaging with the race they're sponsoring via the web, coupled with quantifiable viewership numbers, that could be the motivation for them to commit to long term sponsorship. Dare to dream professional cycling...
This is the kind of revenue stream that could elevate cycling into the modern era of sports entertainment. Like Vandenhaute said, cycling is a sport of the people, but there needs to be some economic concessions made for the greater good. With a few exceptions, if you want to watch a professional sport in person, you have to pay. Why should cycling be any different?
Other than offending the fans, my only concern would be the UCI involvement in this new revenue idea. Like a mafia boss, would Pat McQuaid demand a cut of the pie? Could he withhold professional necessities, like referees or doping control, if the UCI wasn't paid a cut of the action? This is where it can get tricky and I'm sure several Swiss lawyers would quickly become involved. Regardless, even if the UCI demands a piece of the action, I think this idea, or portions of this concept, is the new reality professional cycling needs. Teams and events are facing tough times. Gate revenue could be one method to raise money.