• The Cycling News forum is looking to add some volunteer moderators with Red Rick's recent retirement. If you're interested in helping keep our discussions on track, send a direct message to @SHaines here on the forum, or use the Contact Us form to message the Community Team.

    In the meanwhile, please use the Report option if you see a post that doesn't fit within the forum rules.


Versus coverage/ratings


Lance isn't Tour only TV draw:

Versus likes what it sees from the Tour de France, citing TV ratings (percentage of TV homes) that are 25% above last year's and website growth up 15% from 2009's. Of course, the presence of seven-time winner Lance Armstrong helps, but the American superstar has company in the French countryside.

"It's our job to give those viewers Lance, but also convert them to understand the sport," says Marc Fein, the network's executive vice president of programming, production and business operations. "To know about Alberto Contador— if he wins this year, it'll be his third (consecutive title) and people are going to start talking about him."

But why does it seem the Tour stands above other cycling events? Again, Armstrong helps. But there's also history, the length of the race (three weeks), a varied course and the travelogue element in which viewers see the colorful French countryside.

For many, the real Tour starts Sunday with the first mountain stage (7:30 a.m. ET, Versus). While it has been Armstrong's strong suit, Contador has become the man of the mountains as he drives for a three-peat."

Let's do it by the script, ok?
Oct 6, 2009
Visit site
Media Week -
Versus Earns Big Tour de France Numbers

While an early exit by Lance Armstrong took some of the air out of Versus’ tires, the network’s coverage of the 2010 Tour de France still drew one of the largest aggregate audiences since the lanky Texan won his last yellow jersey in 2005.

Per Nielsen ratings data, Versus averaged 456,000 viewers over the course of its 21 live Tour telecasts, down 14 percent from the 530,000 it averaged during Armstrong’s comeback run a year ago. Viewership peaked during Versus’ July 11 coverage of stage 8, as 724,000 viewers tuned in between 8:30 a.m. and 12:04 p.m. After getting snarled up in three separate crashes and taking a nasty spill during the mountain stage, Armstrong told the press that, for all intents and purposes, his Tour was finished.

This year’s Tour is believed to have brought in a good deal more ad sales revenue for the Comcast-owned Versus, which for the first time since it began covering the event a decade ago began offering clients integrated branding opportunities. Racing bike manufacturers Trek, Specialized and Cervelo signed on for integrations in this year’s race, and all three sponsors invested in standard :30s as well.

Versus also expanded its endemic base to present opportunities for purveyors of cycling accessories. These include saddle manufacturer Fizik, Easton Wheels, water bottle designer Clean Bottles, the Camelbak hydration system and Headsweats, the maker of the official Tour headgear.

Heavy hitters like Nissan, General Motors and Anheuser-Busch InBev also bought up time in the 2010 Tour. Comcast does not disclose its ad sales figures for the Tour, but Kantar Media estimates that last year’s race brought Versus some $9.5 million in sponsor dollars.