Tour de France Ratings, Sponsorships Stay Strong

Despite its recent problems with drug-related scandals, professional road cycling’s corporate sponsorship and total number of TV hours continue to be strong. The sport’s major event, the three-week-long Tour de France, starts this weekend.

Some $2.1 billion was spent on total sponsorship by 375 leading sponsors for road cycling in 2012, according to a recent study commissioned by Cycling News for sports sponsorship/marketing evaluation company Repucom. About 65% of this comes from team sponsors with the remaining 35% from race/event sponsors.

The report said major sponsors of a WorldTour cycling team now get 5.4 times the media value for every dollar invested in a team, with the average pulling in $88.4 million a year in media value -- $65.8 million coming from TV, $13.4 million in media value coming from online, and $9.2 million coming from print.

Top-flight teams are in a different category. British-based unit Team Sky, which won the Tour de France a year ago, with Bradley Wiggins winning the overall race, pulled in over six times the average media value of a WorldTour team, landing at $556 million: $407 million coming from TV, $86 million from online media, and $63 million from print.

Looking at cycling in general, there are now some 68,000 hours of TV time devoted to the sport -- a 54% increase versus a year ago.

The Tour de France itself delivers a huge bulk of the worldwide TV viewership and media value when it comes to all cycling. For any WorldTeam and its sponsors, the media value during the Tour de France can account for up to four-fifths of its yearly media value.

During the big 3-week race, France accounts for a dominating 29.2% share of TV viewership, with second place a virtual tie between three countries -- the U.K. (11.7%), the U.S. (11.1%) and Italy (11.1%)
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