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July 21, 2006

Tour viewership down in Germany, France, U.S.

IHT.com | Tour de France takes a hard spill on TV

Turns out the decline in Tour TV ratings this year isn't localized to the United States.

For the first 16 days of the Tour, 23 percent fewer French viewers watched each stage, while in Germany, viewing fell by 43 percent. France in particular has had an outstanding Tour, with 3 stage winners, 2 riders in the top 10, and a remarkable race by French team AG2R. Of course, both countries had teams that went deep into the World Cup, compounding whatever fall-off may have resulted from Operación Puerto.

In the US, as previously reported, viewership has been down by 52 percent, but OLN was expecting a decrease with Lance Armstrong's retirement. Whether the amazing return of Floyd Landis and the crucial time trial tomorrow can turn things around remains to be seen.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 21, 2006 in Television, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink


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Funny. I couldn't possibly be *more* glued to OLN and the TdF blogs. The US viewers who are dropping out have no idea what they're missing.

Posted by: Sean Gillies at Jul 21, 2006 2:10:56 PM

'no idea what they are missing' indeed. I think it's been worth being glued to the TV for. Nothing has ever been sure (not that it ever is) but it seems that there's always a surprise. Perhaps ratings will pop up next year.

Posted by: Miriam at Jul 21, 2006 2:36:18 PM

Agreed -- sure, watching Lance dominate was amazing, but this TdF has had more drama over the last ten stages than the last seven years combined.

Posted by: Dave at Jul 21, 2006 2:38:52 PM

mmmmmmmmmmm I just wonder if there were no team support how the tour would do.......wait a minute there wasn't any! Now thats what I call a tour.

Posted by: Elton at Jul 21, 2006 6:21:17 PM

I've been following the Tour since 1967. This is the most exciting one I've seen in many years. Landis' ride yesterday had me weeping in front of the set. Watching Lance was great, but this one surpasses any of the last 7 for drama.

Posted by: Jim Morehouse at Jul 21, 2006 6:44:20 PM

I've been following (in the US), but not as much as the last five years. The reason wasn't so much as Lance, because I was really pulling for Basso, Alexander, Ulrich, or Landis. When three of four was out, it was harder to watch as much. But the last couple of days have been exciting, and tomorrow's ITT will be awesome, maybe as good as 2003's or last year's.

Posted by: Shawn Mansfield at Jul 21, 2006 9:45:59 PM

Last year was the first I really watched TdF. This year I'm totally into it. I get it now! Not a big Lance fan anyways. Love how it's still anyone's race. I'm getting my son hooked on it now too. I think if any of the main stream media picked up more on the Tour, viewership would increase. But now that there's no Golden Boy, the US media has lost interest. Too bad really...

Posted by: nona at Jul 21, 2006 11:50:44 PM

I also grew up watching Le Tour in the 80's and 90's but kinda lost appetite for it after the 1998 affair :(
This year I'm fully back into it, waking up early to follow live and spending the day reading reactions, reports and stuff. This is an amazing Tour, attacks are always entertaining. Floyd elevated himself in one day to high levels, his ride alone on such a sharp terrain reminded me a lot of Richard Virenque's similar escapades.
At last we get Tour winners that are less boring to watch (and support) than Indurain and Armstrong ! At last there's risk taken, there's attacks ... I was getting fed up of watching the big leaders neutralizing each other or just waiting for the last slope to accelerate.
Go Floyd.

Posted by: Peter at Jul 22, 2006 1:57:22 AM

I'm studying for the bar this summer, which takes up almost all of my waking hours. I'm still taking time every night to watch some of the 2-hour OLN replay (and I certainly only started watching back in '99 because of Lance).

Posted by: Jared at Jul 22, 2006 8:07:06 AM

I've gotten back into the sport after 28 years out, and this is the first TdF I've followed since the days of Eddie Merckx. Damn, what a show. Was rooting for Floyd since the Tour of California, and he pulls off a stage 17 that is so unbelievable that . . . . well, if you had written a movie script with the same plot, no producer would have touched it. It would have been too far-fetched for the audience to manage suspension of disbelief.

And now he's got the yellow back. Looking forward to tomorrow's parade into Paris.

Deranged Few M/C

Posted by: Syke at Jul 22, 2006 11:58:34 AM

Sad, but predictable. Despite LeBlanc's rants, MOST sports fans enjoy seeing dominating performances by dominating athletes. When there is no domination, viewrship falls off...

Lance, Tiger, MJ, Celtics, Yankees, Lakers, Brazil, etc...

Posted by: out4blood at Jul 23, 2006 1:29:59 AM