ITV4 signs new deal to show Tour de France until 2015
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Monday, January 9, 2012

ITV4 signs new deal to show Tour de France until 2015

by Shane Stokes at 8:07 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Yearly growth in viewing figures likely to continue

Mark CavendishWith Britain heading towards what could potentially be its best Tour de France ever in July 2012, broadcaster ITV has announced that it has extended its deal to provide live coverage and highlights of the race for the next four years.

The company first broadcast the race in 2002 and has covered it since. It has now signed a new contract with Tour de France organisers ASO and will continue its broadcast of the race until at least 2015.

The new arrangement sees the company undertake to extend its digital and online coverage from this point on, while also continuing the live and highlight programmes as seen in recent editions.

The channel has reported that its 2011 figures showed a 33% percent rise. This occurred despite overall contender Bradley Wiggins crashing out at an early point.

Vuelta a España third place finisher Wiggins is aiming for the yellow jersey in the 2012 race, while Mark Cavendish is targeting a repeat victory in the green jersey competition.

In addition to his points classification success, the latter clocked up five stage wins in last year’s Tour. He has since won the world road race championships and also moved to Sky Procycling, Wiggins’ team.

The team has the ambitious goal of chasing both the Maillot Jaune and Maillot Vert next July. It’s a tough task, last achieved by the Telekom team in 1997, and is certain to generate a lot of interest.

The company is seeking to capitalise on that, and knows that the ongoing surge in cycling’s popularity in Britain should also boost the prospects of new viewing records in six months’ time.

“It’s been a great period of success for British cycling, both on the track and on the road,” ITV Controller of Sport Niall Sloane told VeloNation today. “The achievements of Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and others have made them household names and contributed towards the growing interest in television coverage of cycling on television.

“We’re delighted to be covering an increasing range of cycling events on ITV4, which over the last year have included the Tour de France, Tour of Britain, and La Vuelta Tour of Spain.”

A company spokesman expanded on the details giving in today’s brief announcement, giving precise figures of the amount of viewers. It shows the growth across the board in terms of the coverage.

“The TdF highlights on ITV4 averaged 530 thousand in 2011, compared to 400 thousand in 2010…up 33% year on year,” he stated. “For live coverage, shown earlier in the day, the average was up 13% to 263 thousand. These are very strong numbers for multi-channel viewing and compare very well to live football shown on specialist sports channels.”

He added that the final stage of the race, won by Mark Cavendish and capping off his green jersey victory, had almost one million viewers.



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