UCI Track Champions League
Crowds look on at the men's scratch race in UCI Track Champions' event in Mallorca, Spain, in June 2021; (photo/Alex Broadway)

Track Bicycle Racing to Enter the Metaverse

Those traveling to London for the UCI Track Champions League Grand Finale will get a ‘special preview’ of cycling in the metaverse.

It’s pretty expensive to get front-row seats to major sporting events — cycling included.

But things work differently in the metaverse. Imagine a future where you put on a mixed-reality headset and enter a virtual arena that mirrors the real one.

You watch the action close-up, cheering on your favorite team while hanging out with friends from around the world — all from the comfort of your living room.

It sounds like a scene from “Ready Player One,” but that future might be just a cycling lap away.

A new partnership between Warner Bros. Discovery Sports and Infinite Reality will bring an immersive metaverse experience to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Track Champions event in London on Dec. 2-3, 2022. Visitors get the opportunity to preview “an immersive experience to engage fans,” a press release said.

It’s the first time Warner Bros. Discovery Sports has attempted a WEB3 experience for European sports properties. Long-term, the company aims to bring international events like this to the metaverse for fans to experience from anywhere.

“We see the preview during the UCI Track Champions League as an outstanding opportunity to open new avenues for storytelling and fan engagement,” said François Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events.

“Over the coming years, by breaking new ground in metaverse experiences around live sports events, we will empower fans to engage with sport in new and exciting ways.”

‘Unique Virtual Environments’

What exactly will the upcoming preview at UCI Track Champions look like? What will fans be able to see and experience at the event?

At the moment, Warner Bros. and Infinite Reality have decided not to disclose those details. However, the two organizations said they plan on creating “unique virtual environments” for sports communities in the metaverse.

They want to bring together athletes, brands, and fans to virtual locations developed around events like UCI’s Grand Finale. While virtual reality in at-home cycling is likely just around the corner, combining VR with live events is a bit more complicated.

But organizers see UCI Track Champions as the perfect avenue to experiment.

The UCI Track Champions League launched last year to “reinvent track cycling” with a new format, the website said. Qualifying riders from the UCI Track World Championships will compete in sprint and endurance events in six point-based rounds.

“Every race matters in the UCI Track Champions League as riders will have to fight for every point to ensure they are at the top of the league table at the end of the season,” the group said.

You can buy tickets for the London event right now. Tickets will also soon be available for the follow-up event in Berlin.

Nigerian team's members Tawakalt Yekeen, Mary Samuel and Ese Ukpeseraye compete in the women's Team Sprint first round during the UCI Track Cycling World Championships at Jean-Stablinski velodrome in Roubaix, northern France, on October 20, 2021.
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Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.