Forum home Road cycling forum Pro race

World Tour & salary caps.

rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,040 Lives Here
edited December 2018 in Pro race
This year I have been following NFL closely, and as such have come around to the idea of salary caps.

Furthermore, I think, if we take the practical challenges of implementing it aside, it is quite positive.

I shall explain.

What the nfl had done well is its structure and rules around drafting and pay is create a league whereby no team can really afford to have more than 3 top level players (at market rate).

QAs a result, the top players tend to be spread out between the teams rather than being concentrated in a handful of top teams.

This structure is ideal for cycling, as most teams operate around a star or two per team. In an ideal world, we want all the top riders on different teams, competing against each other.

Furthermore, because it is a closed shop, the draft system, along with locking their contract in for 3 years at the picking team, their is a real emphasis on finding young talent: a top level young draft is essentially an extra free top player as you don’t have to pay them market rate, so you free up money in the cap for other players.

Essentially you end up with a lot of teams with similar talent purchasing power, and so you level the playing field somewhat, and create more opportunities for the top riders to go for each other.

Getting this closed shop structure in is obviously not easy, though you wonder if the WT could be a foundation.


Anyway, I thought it was an interesting discussion point.
«1

Posts

  • Not so much a point, but something to add (or not?) to the discussion is the impact of salary caps in Rugby and how it impacts the international game. Whereas the UK have caps and are generally a better international team than, say France, who don't. And in football, the premier league pays the most, but the international team is pretty woeful.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,040 Lives Here
    Yes - there is an obvious challenge if you can’t make it a closed shop.
  • I don't know what that means as I only really follow cycling and with a passing interest but it did make me think how that would work with team rankings (WT, Pro Conti, whatever). Could you still get demoted, promoted?

    [edit: I think I now know what you mean - cyclists can't go elsewhere to be paid more]
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,040 Lives Here
    I don't know what that means as I only really follow cycling and with a passing interest but it did make me think how that would work with team rankings (WT, Pro Conti, whatever). Could you still get demoted, promoted?

    So, in the NFL model, no. They’d have fixed teams.

    The obvious challenge is currently cycling teams are owned by sponsors and come and go a lot.

    The NFL has the franchises - raiders, chargers, giants ETC, which are fixed and occasionally move around the US. But they always have that number of teams.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,900
    With all the efforts to balance things out, the Patriots have made the AFC final 12 times in the last 17 years - including the last seven in a row. Led by the 199th draft pick.

    The major difference between the too sports is that the NFL teams bring in money primarily from TV contracts which are collectively negotiated with the salary cap adjusted according to how much is earned. Success in attracting money is rewarded. In cycling however the teams get their money by individual negotiation, so a cap would punish success in attracting money.

    And that's before we get into where the young players come from, how that is funded and the whole nationality difference issue.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,040 Lives Here
    Sure, but what’s fun about the Pats doing so well is it’s clearly not a monetary advantage, but a sporting advantage.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,900
    Another problem is that the salary cap can be circumvented via personal sponsorship deals. For example, Specialized already contribute a lot to Sagan's salary at Bora, but if that now splits off into a personal contract a team can get a £5m rider for maybe £2m.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,040 Lives Here
    RichN95 wrote:
    Another problem is that the salary cap can be circumvented via personal sponsorship deals. For example, Specialized already contribute a lot to Sagan's salary at Bora, but if that now splits off into a personal contract a team can get a £5m rider for maybe £2m.

    Sure, you could regulate that out.

    It’s more an aspiration. Wouldn’t it be fun?
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,784
    I have thought rather than a salary cap overall, you could have a salary cap based on UCI points. So get above a certain number of points and you can earn whatever the market will pay you. At the same time, implement a system where the team composition for races cannot exceed a certain number of points.

    So you can avoid the situation of very highly paid helpers and even things out a bit.
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • I agree rick that something like this would be a good thing for cycling. However, the NFL model is certainly not as clear as it seems on the surface. It was my favourite sport for atleast 10 years until I pretty much stopped following it in the last few. I won’t go into it in too much detail but there is plenty of reading about it that can be done.

    To name a few things wrong with it:
    - players contracts are front or back loaded to avoid cap hits (not quite that simple but you get the idea). This is very common practice and sounds like it would be an easy thing to fix, but teams always find ways around it.
    - a maximum spend cap is accompanied by a minimum (89% I think) of the max. I won’t go into all the reasons for this now, but this clearly wouldn’t be so easy to apply to cycling in its current structure of sponsorship etc.

    The playing field is somewhat levelled in the NFL but there are a lot more factors at play than the salary cap to achieve this.

    If the NFL can’t get it to work perfectly being the US’s favourite sport and with all the money going around I don’t think the UCI stand a chance unfortunately.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 24,102
    Isn't a salary cap basically Communism, and therefore the unquestionable, direct cause of 100 million deaths?

    #CakeStop
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • joelsimjoelsim Posts: 7,552
    I quite like the idea of a salary cap, I think it’d promote more exciting racing.

    Although the practicalities are pretty much impossible in a sport where sponsorship is pretty much the only revenue stream for the teams.
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,784
    Joelsim wrote:
    I quite like the idea of a salary cap, I think it’d promote more exciting racing.

    Although the practicalities are pretty much impossible in a sport where sponsorship is pretty much the only revenue stream for the teams.

    Why?

    Actually, can we define “exciting racing”?
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,040 Lives Here
    iainf72 wrote:
    Joelsim wrote:
    I quite like the idea of a salary cap, I think it’d promote more exciting racing.

    Although the practicalities are pretty much impossible in a sport where sponsorship is pretty much the only revenue stream for the teams.

    Why?

    Actually, can we define “exciting racing”?

    The best riders riding against each other not with each other more often.
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,784
    iainf72 wrote:
    Joelsim wrote:
    I quite like the idea of a salary cap, I think it’d promote more exciting racing.

    Although the practicalities are pretty much impossible in a sport where sponsorship is pretty much the only revenue stream for the teams.

    Why?

    Actually, can we define “exciting racing”?

    The best riders riding against each other not with each other more often.

    Expand..

    Cycling by it’s nature if a cooperative sport, no?
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,040 Lives Here
    iainf72 wrote:
    iainf72 wrote:
    Joelsim wrote:
    I quite like the idea of a salary cap, I think it’d promote more exciting racing.

    Although the practicalities are pretty much impossible in a sport where sponsorship is pretty much the only revenue stream for the teams.

    Why?

    Actually, can we define “exciting racing”?

    The best riders riding against each other not with each other more often.

    Expand..

    Cycling by it’s nature if a cooperative sport, no?

    Sure, but if you're in the same jersey you ain't riding against each other. Riders who do on the biggest stage are rare enough that people write books about it. Co-operating with mutual interest is fine because, at some point, your interests will diverge. Not so in the same jersey.

    Also, having people like Kwiatkowski riding as a domestique in the biggest race in the calendar is a monumental waste of talent, from an entertainment perspective.
  • Vino'sGhostVino'sGhost Posts: 4,129
    iainf72 wrote:
    iainf72 wrote:
    Joelsim wrote:
    I quite like the idea of a salary cap, I think it’d promote more exciting racing.

    Although the practicalities are pretty much impossible in a sport where sponsorship is pretty much the only revenue stream for the teams.

    Why?

    Actually, can we define “exciting racing”?

    The best riders riding against each other not with each other more often.

    Expand..

    Cycling by it’s nature if a cooperative sport, no?

    Sure, but if you're in the same jersey you ain't riding against each other. Riders who do on the biggest stage are rare enough that people write books about it. Co-operating with mutual interest is fine because, at some point, your interests will diverge. Not so in the same jersey.

    Also, having people like Kwiatkowski riding as a domestique in the biggest race in the calendar is a monumental waste of talent, from an entertainment perspective.

    The thing with that though is Kwiatkowski doesn’t have much opportunity to ride other classic races when the GT are on, San Sebastián falls nicely. If he went stage hunting in the GT’s then we’d call him Jens so even though i agree with the sentiment and the tours are made better for breakaways and hard stages they’re more of a side show and Kwia is not a GT contender. (Which is a good thing since i find riders like him and Valverde and Fabian, Boonen et al far more interesting to watch than froome.)
  • salsiccia1salsiccia1 Posts: 3,723
    Great idea in principal but almost impossible to implement properly in cycling due to where the teams' revenue comes from.

    How about a World Tour points cap? Just a thought.
    It's only a bit of sport, Mun. Relax and enjoy the racing.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,040 Lives Here
    Salsiccia1 wrote:
    How about a World Tour points cap? Just a thought.

    You'd get weird results - riders like Valverde would be overly punished ,whereas your Gilberts, who do nothing then win a monument every 3 years, would be over-valued.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 61,040 Lives Here
    iainf72 wrote:
    iainf72 wrote:
    Joelsim wrote:
    I quite like the idea of a salary cap, I think it’d promote more exciting racing.

    Although the practicalities are pretty much impossible in a sport where sponsorship is pretty much the only revenue stream for the teams.

    Why?

    Actually, can we define “exciting racing”?

    The best riders riding against each other not with each other more often.

    Expand..

    Cycling by it’s nature if a cooperative sport, no?

    Sure, but if you're in the same jersey you ain't riding against each other. Riders who do on the biggest stage are rare enough that people write books about it. Co-operating with mutual interest is fine because, at some point, your interests will diverge. Not so in the same jersey.

    Also, having people like Kwiatkowski riding as a domestique in the biggest race in the calendar is a monumental waste of talent, from an entertainment perspective.

    The thing with that though is Kwiatkowski doesn’t have much opportunity to ride other classic races when the GT are on, San Sebastián falls nicely. If he went stage hunting in the GT’s then we’d call him Jens so even though i agree with the sentiment and the tours are made better for breakaways and hard stages they’re more of a side show and Kwia is not a GT contender. (Which is a good thing since i find riders like him and Valverde and Fabian, Boonen et al far more interesting to watch than froome.)

    Kiwat was pretty good value when he rode for QS. He's like a cross between Sagan and Gilbert - who are both good value in GTs.
  • ddraver wrote:
    Isn't a salary cap basically Communism...

    This. I think that the NFL model would breach EU competition law. It would distort competition (in a way that visiting NFL teams/ football fair play rules do not) and so trying to implement it now wouldn't be lawful.

    I don’t think that the “but sponsorship” argument holds water – if the big teams (and, most importantly of all, ASO) wanted this, the sponsorship revenue streams could be restructured to work in the new model. Money in, exposure out, nothing is insurmountable.
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,784
    [url][/url]
    Salsiccia1 wrote:
    How about a World Tour points cap? Just a thought.

    You'd get weird results - riders like Valverde would be overly punished ,whereas your Gilberts, who do nothing then win a monument every 3 years, would be over-valued.

    This is what I’m suggesting.

    A points cap per squad. So if you’re at the Tour your squad can have a maximum of 2000 points. But a minimum of 1200. And to be select a rider must hit a certain bar.

    (Points random and not reflective of real structure)

    Then if you said if you only have 200 points, you can;t earn more than 150K you can stop people sitting up.
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • Does this then not cause people sprinting for 15th place and causing crashes?
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,900
    iainf72 wrote:

    This is what I’m suggesting.

    A points cap per squad. So if you’re at the Tour your squad can have a maximum of 2000 points. But a minimum of 1200. And to be select a rider must hit a certain bar.

    (Points random and not reflective of real structure)

    Then if you said if you only have 200 points, you can;t earn more than 150K you can stop people sitting up.
    What happens to injured riders? And how do riders get the points which allows them to get into the races which award the points?
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • ShutupJensShutupJens Posts: 1,373
    RichN95 wrote:
    iainf72 wrote:

    This is what I’m suggesting.

    A points cap per squad. So if you’re at the Tour your squad can have a maximum of 2000 points. But a minimum of 1200. And to be select a rider must hit a certain bar.

    (Points random and not reflective of real structure)

    Then if you said if you only have 200 points, you can;t earn more than 150K you can stop people sitting up.
    What happens to injured riders? And how do riders get the points which allows them to get into the races which award the points?

    Surely it means smaller races will be robbed of big name talents who might ride well, so they can support a star rider at the tour.
  • Vino'sGhostVino'sGhost Posts: 4,129
    iainf72 wrote:
    iainf72 wrote:
    Joelsim wrote:
    I quite like the idea of a salary cap, I think it’d promote more exciting racing.

    Although the practicalities are pretty much impossible in a sport where sponsorship is pretty much the only revenue stream for the teams.

    Why?

    Actually, can we define “exciting racing”?

    The best riders riding against each other not with each other more often.

    Expand..

    Cycling by it’s nature if a cooperative sport, no?

    Sure, but if you're in the same jersey you ain't riding against each other. Riders who do on the biggest stage are rare enough that people write books about it. Co-operating with mutual interest is fine because, at some point, your interests will diverge. Not so in the same jersey.

    Also, having people like Kwiatkowski riding as a domestique in the biggest race in the calendar is a monumental waste of talent, from an entertainment perspective.

    The thing with that though is Kwiatkowski doesn’t have much opportunity to ride other classic races when the GT are on, San Sebastián falls nicely. If he went stage hunting in the GT’s then we’d call him Jens so even though i agree with the sentiment and the tours are made better for breakaways and hard stages they’re more of a side show and Kwia is not a GT contender. (Which is a good thing since i find riders like him and Valverde and Fabian, Boonen et al far more interesting to watch than froome.)

    Kiwat was pretty good value when he rode for QS. He's like a cross between Sagan and Gilbert - who are both good value in GTs.

    true to a point i concede. but his real value lies elsewhere (from an entertainment perspective)
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,388
    RichN95 wrote:
    With all the efforts to balance things out, the Patriots have made the AFC final 12 times in the last 17 years - including the last seven in a row. Led by the 199th draft pick.

    The draft system encourages lots of interesting and economically unsound behaviour, e.g., trading loads of later round picks for one first round pick, when statistically first round picks don't do much better if at all - because the college game is totally different to the NFL.

    I would absolutely back it if you could get the kind of stable franchise system they have in the NFL.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 24,102
    Salsiccia1 wrote:
    How about a World Tour points cap? Just a thought.

    You'd get weird results - riders like Valverde would be overly punished ,whereas your Gilberts, who do nothing then win a monument every 3 years, would be over-valued.

    That's exciting racing though innit?
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • ShutupJensShutupJens Posts: 1,373
    The other interesting side of recruitment in the NFL is how well certain teams trade with one and another. Patriots trade very well, shifting early draft picks for experienced players who come cheap, having had a dry couple of years - in cycling terms I'd suggest that they would be picking up Vanmarcke or a Kittel.

    I guess the closest thing you would get to that would be Quickstep in cycling. For instance picking up Gilbert and getting a couple of decent seasons out of him.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,900
    The problem (if there is one) is not that a single team dominates the sport (they don't) but that one race dominates the sport. All of the radial 'solutions' are pointed towards Sky dominating the Tour - a race that has been consecutively dominated by the best rider since the days of Louison Bobet.
    Twitter: @RichN95
Sign In or Register to comment.