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EBU Members shrug off COVID effect to record top Tour de France TV viewing figures

11 September 2020
EBU Members shrug off COVID effect to record top Tour de France TV viewing figures
Picture: A.S.O. Alex Broadway

EBU Members are posting impressive live free-to-air viewing figures across Europe for their coverage of this year’s Tour de France, which entered its second week on Tuesday 8 September after Monday’s rest day.

Any fears that viewing might be adversely affected by the race’s enforced postponement in the international sporting calendar from its usual dates in July because of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis have been quashed by the encouraging figures.

In total, for the first nine stages of this year’s Tour across 13 selected markets* up to Sunday 6 September, the number of hours viewed increased to 174,136,568 from 157,629,039 in 2019, a more than 10% rise.

TV viewing highlights have included:

Total hours viewed

  • In Slovenia, viewing figures for RTV Slovenia’s live coverage of the first nine days reflected the breathtaking performances of the country’s two star riders Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogacar, with a total of 2,656,000 hours viewed, an amazing 106% increase on 2019’s figure of 1,291,000 hours viewed;

  • In the Netherlands, EBU Member NPO1 recorded its best audience measured by total hours viewed for the first nine stages since 2014 (39,420,250, a 27% increase on the 2019 figure of 30,908,200).

Average live audiences

  • NPO1 scored an average live audience of 763,939 for the first nine stages. This represents a 21% increase on its 2019 figure of 633,368. Meanwhile, among individual stage ratings, NPO1 attracted a top average live figure of 1,119,000 viewers for Stage 2, Nice – Nice;

  • In Spain, an average of 1,375,000 viewers watched EBU Member La Una’s live coverage of Stage 8, Cazères-sur-Garonne – Loudenvielle, with a peak viewing figure of 1,533,000.

Viewing share

  • In Denmark, EBU Member TV2 won an average 51.5% viewing share for its coverage of the first nine stages of this year’s Tour;

  • In Flemish-speaking Belgium, EBU Member Een recorded a huge 68% viewing share for its live coverage of Stage 8, Cazères-sur-Garonne – Loudenvielle.

Exciting and unpredictable

The interim figures follow an exciting and unpredictable first nine stages of this year’s 21-stage Tour, with the top seven riders separated by a gap of just 44 seconds by the end of Thursday’s stage, meaning that any one of this group, at least, could still take the 2020 overall win on Paris’ Champs Élysées on Sunday 20 September.

They are: Slovenia’s Roglič, the present race leader and one of the pre-race favourites (Team Jumbo-Visma), and Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates); last year’s winner Egan Bernal of Colombia (Ineos Grenadiers), plus two other Colombians, Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea-Samsic) and Rigoberto Uran (EF Pro Cycling); and France’s own Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale).

Frédéric Sanz, Head of Cycling, Eurovision Sport, said: “In this unusual cycling season (to say the least), we are thrilled by some great ratings from EBU Members for the first nine stages of the Tour de France 2020. We were concerned that the switch of the race from its traditional July dates to take place mainly in September might have some negative effects on the viewership. However, the Tour de France has continued its long-track record of popularity, with the distribution provided by EBU Members together with Eurosport proving once again its ability to reach the widest possible audience across Europe.”

Julien Goupil, Media Director, A.S.O. (rights owner of the Tour de France) said: “We first want to say thank you to the EBU, its Members and Eurosport International, whose support has been crucial to deliver a postponed Tour in September. We are grateful for the encouraging viewership figures seen across Europe over the first nine stages of the Tour, both on free linear television and digital platforms, especially as this is the first time that the event is taking place so late in the season.

“As one of the first sports events of international magnitude to be back on screens since March, and with free-to-air exposure as a key concern, these metrics reinforce the idea that the Tour is much more than just a date. We feel excited about our recently-renewed agreement with the EBU until 2025, an agreement that shows our commitment to deliver the best of cycling to the greatest number of people in Europe.”

In February this year, Eurovision Sport and A.S.O. extended their media rights agreement for the Tour de France through to 2025. In addition, Eurovision Sport extended its agreement with Unipublic, a subsidiary of A.S.O, for the Vuelta a España, again through to 2025.

(*) The 13 markets measured are: Belgium (Flemish-speaking); Belgium (French-speaking); Denmark; Germany; Italy; Netherlands; Norway; Spain; Slovenia; Switzerland (Italian-speaking); Switzerland (French-speaking); Switzerland (German-speaking); and the UK

Relevant links and documents


Claire Rainford

Head of Corporate Communications