After the shock closure of GCN+ and the GCN App, where does that leave MTB race coverage?

 GCN logo.
GCN logo.

The GCN+ streaming service and GCN app are set to close down on the 19th of December. In a shock announcement made to subscribers today, GCN announced "with great sadness" that due to the brand's parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery reducing its number of streaming services, the GCN+ service and app would be closing.

Launched in 2021, GCN+ was aimed to be a brand-new service that would bring race coverage, cycling films, a weekly show, and crucially to subscribers advertisement-free live racing. Coverage that included all the best mountain bike racing including all the MTB World Cup coverage in XC, Downhill along with a level of never before seen World Cup cyclocross coverage, and of course the Tour de France and the other Grand Tours.

The announcement was also accompanied by a YouTube video with presenters Simon Richardson and Dan Lloyd apologizing for the closure and their sadness at the announcement.

"This decision comes from our parent company Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) and is driven by its global strategy to consolidate its streaming services, and to offer content in fewer places, making it easier for customers to access and discover more content."

They also went on to thank everyone who had supported and subscribed to GCN+, adding, "We also want to say thank you to the talented and hard-working people at GCN+ and on the GCN App who have poured their hearts and souls into creating such amazing content. We’re also disappointed that we will no longer be able to bring you these services. We’re proud of everything we have achieved with GCN+ and the GCN App over the last four years, from all of the live race coverage to the 200+ films that we made."

So what's next for race coverage?

As yet we can only speculate on how this announcement will affect mountain bike coverage, but it seems that in Europe, GCN+ subscribers will have the option to subscribe to access Discovery+, Eurosport or Eurosport Extra, where live mountain bike racing will be covered. We can only assume that watching the Discovery+ coverage will remain exactly the same as watching on GCN+ with the same commentary team and panel of experts that includes Kate Mason and Ric McLaughlin.

The 2024 UCI MTB World Cup calendar was recently announced with six brand new venues and 10 countries on the series, making it the biggest World Cup year to date, that surely Discovery+ will continue to support with live coverage. With mountain bike racing in its winter hibernation we can only hope that more subscription details and coverage announcements will follow soon.

In the US and other markets outside of Europe, WBD has said they are "reviewing how content is delivered to its fans." With the announcement just being made it's unclear how this will pan out and pro-rata refunds will be given to subscribers from December 19 onwards.

Loic Bruni in action
Loic Bruni in action

Have GCN and GMBN gone completely?

In short, no. GCN and GMBN will continue as normal, except for GCN+ and the GCN App which will close to be on December 19th. With the GCN website and YouTube channel, they say they will continue to make the best cycling content for the GCN community. Again, it's currently unclear if the pay-walled content, like the vast range of films, will now be available to watch for free.

GCN film titles
GCN film titles

It's a real shame to see GCN+ and the GCN app close and we hope where ever the racing coverage now appears that its as good as ever. For anyone seeking more information there is an explainer on the GCN website.