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July 27, 2005

Sunday Tour coverage sets OLN ratings record

TV Week | OLN Sets Ratings Mark with Tour de France Coverage

Once again, OLN set viewership records during its coverage of the 2005 Tour.

Sunday's coverage of Lance Armstrong's final stage got a 2.08 rating, which equates to 1.7 million viewers.

Makes you wonder what might happen if they broadcast other races.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 27, 2005 in Television | Permalink


Unfortunately, when OLN has provided more extensive coverage of the Giro and the Vuelta in the past, the viewership has measured only in the 10's of thousands. It seems that much of the American interest in cycling is restricted to the TdF and more specifically, Lance's participation in it. It will be interesting, perhaps disappointing, to see OLN ratings next July.

Posted by: Chip at Jul 27, 2005 11:09:10 AM

i think that was great for oln, but i think they missed the boat. even though most of us would agree that they are too lance-centric, where were the interviews with other riders talking about his legacy? how hard would it have been to grab them previously during the race and then had a montage of ullrich, basso, vino, hincapie, leipheimer, landis, horner, mancebo, heras, etc. talking about racing the texan. i'm sure axel merckx would have an interesting perspective too. bernard hinault? tyler hamilton?

i don't know, it just seems like they blew the opportunity -- they kept talking about the last ride and the emotion and the end of an era, but in the end it was just another day at the tour: liggett and sherwin followed by trautwig and roll. no value added. even the retrospectives were flat -- simple recaps.

i don't want to look the gift horse in the mouth, but am i the only one disappointed?

Posted by: rob at Jul 27, 2005 11:59:39 AM

Rob, I also noticed the missed opportunity to capitalize on Lance's departure. On the other hand, OLN certainly didn't fail to capitalize on the opportunity to cram in lots of commercials during the last few days. Plus, they continued to waste valuable airtime explaining basic race/cycling fundamentals, right up to the bitter end. Bob Roll (and he's an awesome commentator) even threw in a few inane explanations. He must utterly dread doing that, and somebody probably had a gun pointed at his head off-camera.

All in all, OLN did a fantastic job. They could cut down on the extensive graphics and incessant "educationing", and spend more time on rider thoughts and insights. All those Americans in the tour would have loved to get their face on camera.

Maybe some sort of followup broadcast is in the works? It's not too late, OLN.

Posted by: Slow Freddie at Jul 27, 2005 1:14:01 PM

Unless OLN can find another american cyclists with some of the attributes of lance then iam afraid viewership will drop off abruptly...Unless of course OLN gets the rights to televise NASCAR drivers making laps around indie on their TREK bikes, points will be awarded of course relating to their overall standings, extra points to be awarded on rainy days also, loose gravel should be applied on all corners...We all can relate to exteme crashes from gravel applied to freshly tared roads............

Posted by: richard at Jul 27, 2005 1:41:02 PM

Good for OLN. I guess they aimed higher with the Tiger and Gretzky tributes, I hope we get to see some riders' perspectives when they do the annual fireside chat with Lance next week.

I also appreciated the decreased hand-holding this year, as well as the more robust (that is, less repetitive) mix of sponsors. I can always do without Al Trautwig, but then again I'm in the cents-on-the-dollar minority that misses Kristen Gum in the studio (more specifically, the blonde version). Meow.

Posted by: Peloton Pete at Jul 27, 2005 11:48:50 PM

I watched the tour via bittorrent downloads (I cancelled cable TV about six months ago). All the commercials and studio commentary were removed. The six hour coverage days were reduced to around 2.5-3 hours.

Other than having to wait half a day and a bit of graininess, it was the perfect way to watch the Tour. All the action narrated by Paul and Phil, with a minimum of Roll, Trautwig, Andreu or Gum. I suppose I got to experience what everyone with a Tivo loves - all the good stuff with none of the annoyances.

Posted by: Dusty at Jul 28, 2005 12:25:30 PM

I agree with Rob and Slow Freddie, I couldn't help but notice all of the commercials and the fact that they did not entrust their normal team with leading the show. Other rider interviews? Would have been nice. I didn't need to see Sheryl Crow every other minute and listen to them put lance on a pedestal every two seconds. Seemed to me like the broadcasts were all about the money. Hats off to OLN for having wall-to-wall coverage, but they have their work cut out for them. All I can say is, Tivo.

Posted by: Jason at Jul 28, 2005 9:50:44 PM