GoPro in Talks to Fit Cameras to Tour de France Bikes

Corrected

GoPro Inc. may hit the road through a partnership with Tour de France teams.

The San Mateo, California-based company is in talks with some of the cycling squads with a view to showing race footage from cameras mounted on bikes, said Isabel Pakowski, a spokeswoman for GoPro in Munich. She declined to identify the teams or discuss possible terms.

A move into road cycling, based around the Tour, Italy’s Giro de Italia and Spain’s Vuelta a Espana, would be a change for GoPro, which has focused marketing on extreme sports such as downhill mountain biking.

In a pilot project at July’s Tour, several squads fixed 86-gram Shimano Inc. cameras to their bikes during a few stages and posted the images on the Internet. Such footage could become a commercial opportunity to bolster the “fragile” financial situation of some teams, according to Brian Cookson, president of cycling ruling body Union Cycliste Internationale.

“The economics of cycling are very challenging at the moment,” Cookson said in an interview. “Everyone sees the commercial opportunities” of video cameras.

Unlike sports such as soccer and Formula One auto racing, cycling teams don’t get a share of television rights from event organizers including Amaury Sport Organisation, which runs the Tour de France. The teams rely on sponsorship and could eventually receive some of the income from the rights to video footage.

On Nov. 25, 11 teams said they were forming a joint venture called Velon to push for the use of technology and create a “better economic future” for cycling. Two of the teams are sponsored by Shimano and Garmin Ltd., which also makes on-board video cameras.

Rob Ashwell, a spokesman for Velon, said he couldn’t comment on any talks with potential partners.