Virtual-cycling platform Zwift is garnering attention for its “fitness entertainment” approach to indoor training, but the program’s co-founder and chief executive Eric Min has hinted that there may be more at stake for participants than bragging rights. The company is planning a tournament-style competition rumored to help top-tiered professional racing teams find promising riding talent, according to The Telegraph.
Min told The Telegraph that even though the platform is still undergoing beta testing, six top world teams” have promised to grant contracts to the tournament winners. The company is modeling the competition on The X Factor, a sing-off elimination show similar to American Idol.
“We’ve been in talks with several UCI World Tour teams, and what excites them are the number of ways that they can use Zwift to engage with their fan base in ways that were never before possible,” Min told Bicycling. He wouldn’t specify which teams are interested.
The tournament would start with several online rounds to trim the ranks then move to live, side-by-side elimination rounds. According to The Telegraph, Zwift hopes to hold the tournament in 2015 and is engaged in talks with potential production companies to get it televised.
“That format exists; it’s proven,” Min told The Telegraph. “People care about these Cinderella stories. There are lots of cyclists out there who think, ‘I’m pretty good.’ Well, guess what? Now’s their chance.”