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July 28, 2004

That finish line story? Puh-leeze....

ESPN.com | Tour de France boosts little-known network, but must explain blunder on final day

The entire US press seems to be piling on to this story, suggesting that OLN blundered on the last day by not showing Armstrong cross the finish line during its live broadcast.

I've seen several comments that fall into the "typical French anti-Americanism" mold, but I think it's a lot simpler than that: There was a race going on, and Armstrong wasn't in it.

For the live coverage, OLN was given a TdF feed provided by French TV, which was focused on the action in the day's stage (and there was a surprising amount of that). In the tape-delayed broadcasts, OLN was able to supplement that footage with its own, and showed Armstrong's finish.

The sting of OLN's delayed finish was lessened somewhat when OLN executives learned Tuesday that Sunday's conclusion provided the nine-year-old network with its highest ratings ever. Three times during the race, OLN broke viewership records, according to Nielsen Media Research.

OLN was watched by 1.37 million viewers during the race's final stage, Nielsen said. On a typical day this year, the Outdoor Life Network is watched by an average of 56,580 viewers -- barely enough to fill a baseball stadium. The network is available in 60 million homes, a little more than half the country.

What will OLN do if Armstrong skips the 2005 Tour, or when he eventually retires?

Harvey says he doesn't necessarily wake up in a cold sweat thinking of future tours with Armstrong on the sidelines.

"We are the home of professional cycling on television," he said. "We love the fact that Lance has brought so many eyeballs and attention to the sport of cycling. But it's not just Lance."

OLN made a conscious effort this year to highlight some of the other American riders and explain the sport to viewers, he said.

"We're prepared" for a tour without Armstrong, he said. "We know the day is going to come."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 28, 2004 in About the Tour, Lance Armstrong 2004, Television | Permalink

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» Poor OLN can't catch a break from Not What I Expected...
From the Tour de France blog--OLN was roasted for not showing Armstrong's finish in the final stage of the Tour. The joys of a shared feed, guys--you show what's being uplinked. And there was more going on with the last stage than Armstrong's finish fo... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 28, 2004 3:56:38 PM

» Le tour de France from Aventuras de un webmaster
Confieso no ser un fanático de los grandes eventos deportivos, pero la cercanía a París tenía muy emocionado a Pablo de ir a Campos Eliseos a ver la llegada de un montón de deportistas usando pantaloncillos cortos, cascos curiosos... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 30, 2004 8:48:58 AM

» Le tour de France from Aventuras de un webmaster
Confieso no ser un fanático de los grandes eventos deportivos, pero la cercanía a París tenía muy emocionado a Pablo de ir a Campos Eliseos a ver la llegada de un montón de deportistas usando pantaloncillos cortos, cascos curiosos... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 30, 2004 8:51:04 AM

Comments

Al and Bob had Tyler Hamilton in the booth with them for a little while on the final stage. Al spent most of that time talking to Tyler about Lance Armstrong.

Al: "Boy, Lance sure is amazing this year, huh, Tyler?"
Al: "The USPS team is unbelievable, huh, Tyler?"
Al: "What was it like working with Lance, Tyler?"
Tyler: "Why am I here?" [actually, he was very polite; I'm putting words into his mouth]

Way to highlight other Americans, OLN.

Posted by: ben at Jul 28, 2004 9:20:10 AM

I understand that OLN had to take what they were given (i.e. the French TV feed) as far as LA crossing the finish line was concerned.

However, I do take issue with the way they edited the final stage for the evening rebroadcast. They cut out all the footage of the other awardees (KOM, Young Rider, Best Team) on the podium, including the nice gesture of the entire T-mobile team making a point to shake Armstrong's hand and congratulate him on their way to the podium to accept the Best Team award. They could've cut 2 minutes elsewhere to be able to show all the awards. They made it seem as if it was only about Lance, and to them it seems to be just that. Let's see how many hours they devote to the first post-Lance TdF - I doubt it'll be anywhere close to this year's 300+ hours of airtime.

Posted by: Eric the Red at Jul 28, 2004 11:39:37 AM

OLN currently is planning on showing ONLY a one-hour recap of the 2004 Vuelta, no live coverage.

Posted by: Lou at Jul 29, 2004 5:24:38 PM

who was awarded the red, yellow, green, and white jersey in 2005

Posted by: bell at Oct 16, 2005 2:41:26 AM