Specialized, Lance Armstrong & VeloNews

by editors on July 21, 2020

While doing a little web cruising this morning, wondering whatever happened to some old media friends, we stumbled onto a press release from June 30, 2020 suggesting that Specialized and The Biggest Liar of All Time (aka Lance Armstrong) have joined forces to possibly control the cycling narrative through media ownership.

Here’s how it goes: VeloNews (and Bicycle Retailer) owner Pocket Outdoor Media just purchased a boat load of “media” titles from another media/events company called Active Interest Media. Not that cyclists should care, but the titles Pocket purchased include: Warren Miller Entertainment, Ski Magazine, Backpacker, Climbing, Yoga Journal, Vegetarian Times, and more.

This got more interesting when Pocket Outdoor Media listed where they got the money to grab the titles. It came from a “Series A” round of funding from three different venture capital groups, namely JAZZ Venture Partners, NEXT VENTŪRES, and Zone 5 Ventures.

Who are these venture firms? Well, JAZZ is a bunch of neuroscience medical start-up brainiacs based in San Francisco, Next Ventures is the BLOAT and friends (yes, he still has some), and Zone 5 Ventures is Specialized’s early-stage investment arm which is run by former and current employees at Specialized.

We haven’t had reason to follow anyone from JAZZ, but before starting Next with the BLOAT managing partner Lionel Conacher was a senior advisor and operating partner at Altamont Capital Partners, LLC which has large stakes in the Billabong, Brixton, Fox (head), HUF, and Dakine brands. Lance’s other partner at Next is Melanie Strong, the former Nike vice president and general manager of Nike Skateboarding.

So why are all these corporate jocks suddenly interested in the action sports media world in general and cycling in particular? Is it because in these COVID times the only thing any of us can do is spend time outside? Is it because distressed action media brands are currently a bargain? Or is it because (as we suspect) The BLOAT and Specialized want to own the cycling narrative from beginning to end?

How do you feel about getting all your cycling news from Specialized and The BLOAT? It doesn’t feel all that good to us. Makes it even more difficult to know what to believe, doesn’t it? For instance, how long will this story on Specialized’s silly trademark lawsuit stay up on the VeloNews website? Click the link to see if it’s still there. 

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