What does a sports network broadcast when there are no sports to be broadcasted? Luckily for ESPN, highly anticipated documentaries on those who play the sports (see The Last Dance and Lance) have been one source of filling the time slots. But there are only so many well timed documentaries you can release before viewers get hungry for new content.
That’s where weird athlete crossover events come in. The global lockdown has created an interesting situation in which pro athletes’ normally busy schedules have suddenly freed up significantly and they can spend their time participating in other sports and promoting luxury athletic products. Last week Tom Brady played golf against Tiger Woods and 5.8 million viewers tuned in. Next up, on Saturday, 16 pro athletes (none of whom are cyclists) will race each other on Peloton bikes.
The Peloton All-Star Ride
Sixteen riders—eight men and eight women—will compete across two divisions in the Peloton All-Star Ride. If the athletes collectively reach an output of 3,000 points or ‘watts’ (the company uses a rudimentary equation to calculate watts using cadence and resistance), Peloton will donate one million meals to the Food Bank for New York City.
Get ready for our first-ever Peloton All-Star Ride!
Golfers, Olympians, NCAA champions and more will battle it out on Saturday at 12 PM ET 💪 pic.twitter.com/AqaGLyrMYY
— ESPN (@espn) May 26, 2020
Peloton bikes have become increasingly popular with athletes stuck at home and unable to train in their sport. Besides the obvious cardiovascular benefits, the other major draw of the bikes are the class leaderboards. Each virtual class shows you your ranking compared to others who are also riding, providing the sense of competition that pro athletes are currently missing in their lives.
Golfers such as Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson (competing in the men’s division this Saturday) have been challenging each other on the platform for months. NFL and NBA players such as the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, the Browns’ Baker Mayfield, the Raptor’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and the Dolphins’ Adrian Colbert have also spoken about using the bikes to train. The Celtics’ Gordon Hayward and retired NFL player Booger McFarland will be ‘racing’ on Saturday.
The events, 20 minutes each, will be instructed by Alex Toussaint and Robin Arzon, two of Peloton’s most popular instructors. Ally Love—described as a Peloton instructor, model, dancer, certified health coach, host of the Brooklyn Nets, runner, and the founder of fitness lifestyle brand Love Squad—will be hosting the competition.
Who will produce the most Peloton points?
While the men’s squad has a number of highly paid pro athletes (see Golf, NBA and NFL), the women’s competition might prove to be a bit more interesting. Allyson Felix, a six-time Olympic track and field gold medalist and Colleen Quigley, a NCAA national champion and Olympic cross country runner, are both positioned to finish well above the others if Mike Woods’ transition from running to cycling has taught us anything.
In the men’s division, Matt Grevers, an Olympic swimmer, will likely have a strong cardiovascular base to go off of. The event is only 20 minutes long, so Hayward, a small forward for the Boston Celtics, may be able to keep up with Grevers if he harvests some explosive energy.
Mike Golic Jr.: Radio host and former Notre Dame offensive lineman, riding out of Avon, Connecticut.
Matt Grevers: Olympic swimmer, riding out of Tucson, Arizona.
Gordon Hayward: Small forward for the Boston Celtics, riding out of Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Booger McFarland: NFL analyst and two-time Super Bowl winner, riding out of Odessa, Florida.
Rory McIlroy: Professional golfer, riding out of Jupiter, Florida.
Kyle Rudolph: Tight end for the Minnesota Vikings, riding out of Wayzata, Minnesota.
Justin Thomas: Professional golfer, riding out of Jupiter, Florida.
Bubba Watson: Professional golfer, riding out of Pensacola, Florida.
Victoria Azarenka: Professional tennis player, riding out of Boca Raton, Florida.
Allyson Felix: Six-time Olympic track and field gold medalist, riding out of Santa Clarita, California.
Morgan Pressel: Professional golfer, riding out of Boca Raton, Florida.
Monica Puig: Professional tennis player, riding out of Doral, Florida.
Colleen Quigley: NCAA national champion and Olympic cross country runner, riding out of Portland, Oregon.
Kyla Ross: Gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast, riding out of Dana Point, California.
Michele Smith: Two-time gold-medal-winning Olympic softball player, riding out of Treasure Island, Florida.
Dawn Staley: Coach of the South Carolina women’s basketball team, riding out of Columbia, South Carolina.
The Peloton All-Star Ride will be broadcasted on ESPN at noon ET on Saturday May 30.