The European Broadcasting Union, the umbrella body of mainly public-service broadcasters, has announced that total viewing hours for this year’s Tour de France have risen by 10.5 per cent in 13 leading European markets.
Across the first nine stages of this year’s Tour, the number of hours viewed has risen to 174.14 million, up from 157.63 million in 2019.
The 13 markets covered include Flemish- and French-speaking Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, the French-, German- and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland and the UK.
Audiences on Slovenian public broadcaster RTV Slovenija have been particularly strong given the performance of current race leader Primož Roglič and UAE Team Emirates’ Tadej Pogacar. A total of 2.66 million hours have been viewed on RTV Slovenija, equal to a 106-per-cent rise.
Dutch public-service broadcaster NOS registered a total of 39.42 million hours viewed across the first nine stages, its highest figure since 2014. The broadcaster’s NPO1 channel scored an average live audience of 763,939 viewers for the first nine stages of the rescheduled 2020 Tour, a 21-per-cent uplift on its 2019 figure of 633,368.
Spanish public-service broadcaster TVE pulled in an average of 1.38 million viewers for the eighth stage (and a peak of 1.53 million).
Meanwhile, Danish EBU member TV2 attracted an average viewing share of 51.5 per cent for its coverage of the first nine stages. In Belgium, Dutch-language public-service broadcaster VRT recorded a 68-per-cent share for its live coverage of stage eight from Cazères-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle.
At the start of this year, the EBU extended its Tour de France rights until 2025 in a new deal with rights-holder Amaury Sport Organisation.
This year’s Tour de France was rescheduled from its original slot of June 27 to July 19 because of the coronavirus crisis.
Frédéric Sanz, head of cycling at the EBU’s Eurovision Sport, said: “In this unusual cycling season (to say the least), we are thrilled by some great ratings from EBU Members for the first nine stages of the Tour de France 2020.
“We were concerned that the switch of the race from its traditional July dates to take place mainly in September might have some negative effects on the viewership. However, the Tour de France has continued its long-track record of popularity, with the distribution provided by EBU Members together with Eurosport proving once again its ability to reach the widest possible audience across Europe.”
Julien Goupil, media director at ASO, added: “As one of the first sports events of international magnitude to be back on screens since March, and with free-to-air exposure as a key concern, these metrics reinforce the idea that the Tour is much more than just a date.”