This year, the Tour de France starts… in Spain. The riders will set off from Bilbao on July 1, 2023. A departure abroad has become a habit over the course of the 110 editions of the most famous cycling race in the world: since 1954 in Amsterdam – the land of cycling – the Tour has started twenty-four times outside France. An essential visibility, for him as for the host cities. “The game is clearly worth the candle,” said the mayor of Bilbao, Juan Maria Aburto, last July. “The whole world will think that he must come to the Basque Country.”
Foreign countries and cities are very demanding, up to the highest local authorities. In July 2017, at the arrival of a stage in the Hautes-Alpes, the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Rasmussen, accompanied Emmanuel Macron. “It was not trivial. Five years later, in 2022, the Tour left Copenhagen”, reveals Pierre-Yves Thouault, deputy director of cycling at Amaury sport organization (ASO), the organizing company of the Grande Boucle.
A record audience
To be exported, the Tour also benefits from mondiovision. The race is broadcast in 190 countries on five continents and more than 600 international media flock each year to follow the exploits of the runners. The organizers claim an audience of 3.5 billion people, on television and on social networks, by adding up the cumulative viewings over three weeks. If we only take TV audiences into account, 15 to 20 million viewers around the world watch each stage, or around 350 million people* for the entire race.
Basically, the leaders of ASO are benefiting from the shift in the center of gravity of the cycling world. Since the 1990s, cycling has expanded beyond its European cradle. Champions of Anglo-Saxon or Latin American countries are emerging and market shares are created indirectly for the Tour.
From now on, the secret weapon of the Tour is called Netflix. Since June 8, the American giant has been offering At the heart of the peloton, an immersion of eight episodes filmed during the 2022 edition. In terms of exposure, the Tour de France has it under the pedal.