CLIENT STORY – SIX DAY SERIES

One could be forgiven for thinking that the Six Day Series had been conceived in recent years as a 21st century crowd-pleasing version of event cycling; designed to cater for modern audiences demanding thrills, spills and spectacle. The “bikes, beats and beers” formula that make up a Six Day event deliver a perfect mix of sport and entertainment. The biggest names from the world of cycling, dazzling light shows and superstar DJs laying down a killer soundtrack in packed velodromes around the world.

Astonishing to discover then that Six Day eventing started way back in 1878 at the Islington Agricultural Hall where cyclists would attempt to ride for six consecutive days without sleeping. Victorian gentleman David Stanton proposed a £100 wager that he could cycle 1,000 miles over six consecutive nights. Watching him and others attempt such a feat was compelling entertainment in the Victorian era. Over a hundred years later, spectacle and entertainment value is still a key feature of the sport today.

The sport also became popular in the United States towards the end of the 19th Century where the competition became a feat of endurance with riders limited only by their ability to stay awake. The first such race was at Madison Square Garden and so two-man tag racing has since become known as the Madison – a major component of the modern Six Day event.

A six-day race at Madison Square Garden II in December 1908. Picture from George Grantham Bain collection at the Library of Congress.

Six Day Today

The format has changed considerably over the years and is now a showcase for the very best in track cycling. The spectacular events cater for cycling fans in between the Olympics and World Championships and include a variety of race types including the Madison, Elimination, Derny and Women’s Omnium.

Six Day is now run by Madison Sports Group, which staged its first event in London just five years ago and launched a connected series for the first time in 2016-17. The Six Day Series for 2019 takes the tour on the road to London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Melbourne, Manchester with the final taking place in Brisbane.

When Six Day was resurrected five years ago after investment by the Madison Sports Group, they quickly realised that they would outgrow the local file storage they used to host the many terabytes of high value content each event would generate. It became clear that without a dedicated content management solution, it would prove extremely difficult to retrieve, reuse and realise the full value of their imagery. Producing the show within the velodrome, setting up live broadcast feeds and capturing content would all take significant investment – and that needed to be offset by leveraging the full commercial value of their media.

Imagen and Six Day

Imagen was first used last year at the 2018 London Edition, where over 1,600 media assets were uploaded during the Six Day Event. Event days generate huge volumes of media, including high resolution promotional images for PR, plus highlights, interviews and explainer videos to introduce the different events. One of the most important aspects of Six Day’s Imagen system is the ability to store and navigate the full raw broadcast feed from each event – which are often 5 hours long and stored alongside the clean edited version. Locating highlights within 5 hour blocks of video, can be challenging, but Six Day have begun to log their content using Imagen’s powerful shot-listing tool so that key moments are easy to find from any simple search.

The Six Day central archive provided by Imagen allows broadcast and media partners, fast easy access to a huge range of logged sporting content – for use alongside live feeds, in magazine shows and other programming. The Madison Group know their video is safe for the future, but more importantly it helps speed up distribution to internal and external stakeholders as well as sponsors that include Sony, Heineken, Singapore Airlines, Addison Lee and Phynova.

The Madison Group now have a central repository to manage and professionally distribute all the media from their high-profile cycling events. Although 140 years old, the sport now has a 21st Century approach to video management that is as slick, forward looking and exciting as the sport itself.

“We knew that the event would produce great looking content, and there would be a lot of it – so it was important to find a video management system that would handle all types of media and offer self-serve distribution to our partners. Imagen has helped us to scale up and professionalise our media distribution and gives us the scalability we need to handle all our content way into the future,”

James Durbin, CEO Madison Sports Group

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