In analyzing of Tour de France’s average audience viewership figures, it is evident that viewership fell in key markets like Italy, Spain and the UK in 2015. Especially the development in Spain stuck out as the public-service provider TVE made changes to fragment its reporting and programming across leading channel La 1 and sports channel Teledeporte. In 2014, TVE covered all stages of the race on La 1.
Table 1: Tour de France average audience viewership figures (000s)
*Source: SportBusiness Intelligence, BARB, Attentional
Italy experienced that Tour de France viewership figures fell mainly due to the fact that 2014 winner Vincenzo Nibali did not reach the same performance level. Broadcasting rights holder Rai faced a 12% decrease in 2015 compared to the year before. In the UK, there was a similar decrease compared to 2014 even though Chris Froome ended up winning the race in 2015. The UK development has to do with an extremely high (for the UK) audience in 2014, which was boosted by the opening stages in Yorkshire and London and due to some coverage on ITV’s leading channel whereas the 2015 coverage was constrained to the lower-tier ITV4 channel.
Photo: Chris Froome (source: Team Sky)
Despite some negative numbers in these key markets, other vital markets, e.g. the Netherlands, France and Belgium, showed progress. The Netherlands accounted for the biggest increase of approximately 50% compared to 2014. This development is associated with holding the race’s first two stages in the Netherlands and successful performances by Dutch riders like Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema.