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July 16, 2008

Vs. seeing lower ratings for '08 Tour

OregonLive.com | Tour de France ratings down so far on Versus

Viewership of the live Versus broadcast each morning is down by around one-third so far this year, from 343,000 to 230,000.

Over the multiple daily broadcasts and rebroadcasts, the average Vs. viewership is down from 171,000 to 143,000, about 16 percent.

The article doesn't speculate on reasons for the fall-off, but presumably the absence of many top U.S. riders must hurt, as well as the continuing doping circus. On the other hand, should Christian Vande Velde continue to ride among the leaders, U.S. ratings may pick up.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 16, 2008 in 2008 Tour de France, Television | Permalink


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I hate the non stop ads for Red, white, black, and blue - I do not watch any sport to see people hurt. No cyclists I know like the cage fighting and its ilk. VS, please advertise that crap outside the tour. I do not ever watch VS other than the Tour de France because of what they constantly advertise and show.

Posted by: George at Jul 17, 2008 1:15:42 PM

Speak for yourself George. I've been an avid fan of cycling since the Greg LeMond era in the 80's and an MMA fan since the early 90's. They are both some of the greatest athletes in the world. Just because it isn't your cup of tea doesn't qualify those who like MMA as "ilk". Don't be a biker snob. Shaving your legs and wearing spandex makes you no better than anyone else.


Posted by: Brian at Jul 17, 2008 4:18:53 PM

I really enjoy the live tour show with Phil & Paul. The evening show with Hummer & Bobke seems like they are so busy trying to entertain that they never get into the race.

Posted by: steve at Jul 18, 2008 12:42:17 PM

I have always admired the guts power and tenacity of LE TOUR riders and alwayys will. I am not shocked at the continued drug problems. I enjoyed the sports of Canoeing and Rugby and am proud of my and others achievments without DRUGS other than a beer the night before a race. BAN them all for life. How many men and womens dreams have been stolen by their kind.

Posted by: matt petre at Jul 18, 2008 8:15:45 PM

Updated Audience Figures (care of MediaWeek)

Through the first 10 days of the Tour de France coverage on Versus, 20.8 million viewers have tuned in to some portion of the race, according to Nielsen Media Research data, making it the most-watched Tour telecast in the cable network’s history.

For the live morning race telecasts during the first 10 days, the network has averaged a household rating of 0.3, flat from last year.

Versus shows the competition live in the morning, televises an encore of the morning race in the afternoon, a fringe encore telecast at 5 p.m., a prime time encore at 8 p.m. And a late night encore at midnight.

Total viewership for the late night telecast is up 45 percent, Versus said, although it did not release specific numbers. The network is seeing solid growth among men 18-34, with ratings up 91 percent for the live morning telecasts, up 108 percent for the afternoon telecasts, up 56 for the 5 p.m. Telecasts, up 22 percent for the prime time telecasts, and up 99 percent for the late night telecasts. Those numbers are off smaller bases which the network did not release.

More than 3.4 million Tour de France videos have been downloaded on Versus.com, surpassing the 2007 total over a 23 day span. The network is averaging 341,000 videos per day, compared to 170,000 per day last year.

Posted by: Keith York at Jul 18, 2008 8:44:18 PM

Hate the Red, white black and blue ads? Then don't watch the 9pm edition...it's nothing but male enhancement ads!!

But, I do prefer the evening version - I know it'll only be 3 hours and everything important is covered (even less time when I TiVo).

Posted by: Not George at Jul 20, 2008 12:36:49 AM

I hate the Take Back the Tour ads.....Why put more focus on drugs & doping.....having Riccio kicked out already points out the obvious....but to make it the basis for an advertising campaign annoys the &*#%#$ out of me...

Posted by: JoeOxfordCT at Jul 22, 2008 6:39:22 AM

For me the reason for not watching Versus broadcast is simple. I got rid of cable. If they were smart enough to stream their feed through their website. I think they would find a sharp increase in their viewer numbers.

Posted by: nikromatt at Jul 22, 2008 10:23:27 AM

At least VS covers the TdF, even if 2 1/2 hrs after the riders line up for the start. Sometimes only an 1hr after the start if it is a mountain stage. ESPN only mentions it if an American did something special. Or maybe they'll show some odd highlight if it's a slow day. I think the VS primetime show is a waste of 3 hrs. Show the taped final 3hrs of the stages, not including an hour of crappy filler of rider/team profiles. Wish I lived in Europe during July---they get all kinds of live streaming and TV...

Posted by: Murphious at Jul 24, 2008 8:07:39 AM

The coverage is great - DVR the live broadcast and speed through it in 2 hours that night (skipping the highly repetitive commercials of course). My biggest issue is the SAAB contest - I have been playing this stupid game for 3 years with nothing to show for it - has anyone in the history of the world actually won something on "fly to the finish"?

Posted by: Glenn at Jul 24, 2008 11:54:49 AM

Here is my take on this as a viewer.

I want to watch it LIVE while I am at work. Which leaves me the option of Eurosport, or some other European feed.

If I see the results, or a recap story telling me what happened on some website during the day, I am not going to bother spending hours watching a rebroadcast later that evening.

This is the internet age. Lose the delayed rebroadcast crap, and the bad commentators. Watch how Eurosport does it, and follow their example. Better yet why don't you just pay to have Eurosport put their feed on your website, and run your national ads when they run theirs?

The rebroadcasts are usless, and have been done since CBS and John Tesch did it in the 80's. That was back when a cell phone weighed almost 10 pounds by the way.

In all seriousness, I would watch the tour if it was streamed on Vs. regardless if an American was at the front or not. It truly is an amazing race, and it is a shame that it isn't being represented properly in the US.

Posted by: Jeff at Jul 24, 2008 12:10:28 PM

If Astana were in, I think ratings would be up some. I really prefer Phil and Paul to the primetime broadcast, and I'd be more likely to tune in weeknights if Phil and Paul were on, maybe half Phil/Paul, half Craig/Bob like they used to do with Al Munster.

Posted by: Jeff at Jul 26, 2008 4:07:25 PM