France Télévisions and Eurosport audiences hold up for September Tour de France

Domestic viewing figures for the Tour de France remained strong on both France Télévisions, the public-service broadcaster, and Eurosport, the Discovery-owned sports broadcaster, despite the shifting of road cycling’s blue-riband event from its traditional calendar slot.

This year’s Tour de France was rescheduled from its original slot of June 27 to July 19 and held between August 29 and September 20 because of the coronavirus crisis.

Nevertheless, France Télévisions has announced that 40 million viewers watched at least one minute of action on its France 2 or France 3 channels, an improvement of 7 million viewers compared to last year’s race.

An average of 3.5 million viewers watched France 2’s live coverage from 3pm (CET) onwards, with an average of 2.2 million viewers following the coverage on France 3 from 1pm. This was equal to viewing shares of 37.3 per cent and 20.3 per cent, respectively, down by 1.2 per cent and 1.6 per cent on last year’s figures, according to French newspaper Les Echos.

France Télévisions’ highest average audience was 4.3 million (a 45.7-per-cent share) for the mountain stage from Grenoble to Méribel on September 16.

Sunday’s final stage, which crowned Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar as champion, was watched by an average of 3.5 million viewers (a 27.8-per-cent share) on the public broadcaster. The peak audience reached 5.9 million.

Meanwhile, Eurosport’s total audience in France for the 2020 Tour reached 3.4 million viewers, up 73 per cent on the 2019 edition.

The Tour’s first stage attracted an average of a record 182,000 viewers on Eurosport 1 in France, with the peak hitting 362,000 viewers.

France Télévisions attracted 122 advertisers for its Tour de France coverage, a 39-per-cent year-on-year uplift. The broadcaster’s total net advertising revenue for the race rose by 5 per cent to close to €10m ($11.7m), according to Les Echos.

The European Broadcasting Union, the umbrella body of mainly public-service broadcasters, announced last week that total viewing hours for this year’s Tour de France had risen by 10.5 per cent in 13 leading European markets. Across the first nine stages, the number of hours viewed rose to 174.14 million, up from 157.63 million in 2019.

The 13 markets covered included 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 were particularly strong given the performance of Primož Roglič and Pogačar. A total of 2.66 million hours had been viewed on RTV Slovenija, equal to a 106-per-cent rise.