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June 25, 2004

OLN can't wait

Ocala Star-Banner | Outdoor Life Network looks for big Tour de France splash

According to this story by John Lindsay at Scripps Howard News Service, Outdoor Life Network got nearly the same ratings with last year's Tour as this year's NHL Stanley Cup broadcasts on ESPN.

This year, spurred by a multimillion dollar ad campaign ("Cyclysm") and weekly shows following Lance Armstrong and his Tour preparation, OLN wants to draw numbers 50 percent higher, or around 2 million viewers.

OLN's president, Gavin Harvey, says the network will take a new approach to this year's broadcast:

"We think with our new approach, which is an Olympic-style delivery, that we can show the live event (stages or races) to the hardcore fans while also delivering the personal stories to the rest of America," Harvey said. ". . . We want to communicate the things that folks don't understand about cycling - the strategy, teamwork and more - that makes this such an epic event."

I've grown to hate Olympics coverage, but I'm cautiously optimistic here. The main problem with network Olympics coverage is the constant switching between sports, and the way the networks fill up every little down second with bios, cutaways, and promotions. Since OLN is covering a single event, and stages cover a fairly long time, I think this approach could work, and draw new viewers into the sport.

Oh, and CBS will continue to provide their crappy weekly coverage every Sunday, pre-empting live coverage on OLN.

"Our mandates are different," said Rob Correa, CBS senior vice president of programming, comparing his network to OLN. "We're just not set up technically to do what they do. We're very pleased with our partnership (with OLN) and believe we complement each other well."

Correa said the CBS coverage will be similar to "a weekly movie" about the tour, mostly focusing on Armstrong's quest.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 25, 2004 in Television, Tour news | Permalink


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Get ready. If you are living in the U.S. and don't have Outdoor Life Network, find a way to get it before Saturday. They are promoting this as "The Cyclysm," which just sounds stupid. Let's hope that the marketing team... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 1, 2004 2:32:54 AM


As a Westchester resident, and Cablevision subscriber, I am locked out from watching the Tour. Over the past 3 years I've emailed both Cablevision and OLN several times each about getting OLV onto Cablevision for us Westchester TdF fanatics. To no avail. Surprisingly, even OLN doesn't respond to my emails. And, before anyone suggests I ditch Cablevision for satellite, I've tried to get both DirectTv and DISH. Apparently the trees in my backyard block the path to both companies' satellites.

Posted by: Harvey M Lederman at Jun 25, 2004 6:49:18 PM

The CBS coverage is for the sadly large American viewing population who still refers to the riders' bikes as "10 speeds" and are still trying to wrap their minds around the fact that you can make a million dollars a year riding one.

If Lance starts out strong (which he undoubtedly will), I think OLN has a good shot at achieving their viewership goals. If the "quest for six" storyline won't bring in new eyeballs, nothing will...

Posted by: Eric at Jun 25, 2004 10:12:32 PM

Start out strong? I don't really think thats likely... he can't win the prologue this year (I like McGee) and there really isnt any real stages till the last week... thats when it all happens.

Posted by: izibo at Jun 28, 2004 8:37:26 PM

for those of you with cablevision dying to watch the tour, you can stream the video from Danish television for something around 17 dollars US. The quality is excellent, although you won't understand what theyre saying. OLN streams audio from their website, so I just play both simultaneously and find it quite enjoyable. The link is:

you might need to play around to figure out where to click, but they took my mastercard.

best of luck

Posted by: scott at Jul 7, 2004 11:56:19 AM

I hate the Cutter segements on the OLN coverage of the Tour DE France 2004- they are not funny, it takes away from the cycling, is is degrading, insulting!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Kleintje at Jul 7, 2004 7:53:19 PM

This is the closest I've come to sending an email to OLN,(couldn't find the darn address). Will someone PLEASE tell that British commentator for the Tour that 'mano a mano' referes to hand to hand combat, NOT TWO GUYS GOING HEAD TO HEAD ON A BIKE...........Thank you.....

Posted by: Jo at Jul 17, 2004 2:40:49 PM

OLN is now on Cablevision. It costs $4.95 a month to get it as part of their new 10 channel sports tier.

Posted by: Rob at Apr 6, 2005 5:25:12 PM

the 4 commentators on oln make the tour--I wish some of our NFL commentators would watch and learn. they make it fun, entertaining & imformantive to watch-keep up the good work and don't split this team up in the future

Posted by: buddy at Jul 20, 2005 11:29:30 AM

Have watched le tour since day one. How about some side-lights? Team cars: all BMW? Motorcycles: all Kawasaki? When pictureing the winners of the stage, etc, why not a close-up of the French girls kissing the winners? SUV's along the way: Few? Cost of the gasoline at present in France. Cars used by Americans: Rentals or what? Great pics of bikes, le tour, etc in fields: Why not an interview with the folk that did such great pictures? etc, etc, etc. Bike riding coverage great. Overall coverage not so great.

Posted by: Roland Houser at Jul 22, 2005 9:37:59 AM

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