Cycling on TV – 2021 report
I often write on Twitter that if a race, today, is not live on TV it’s like it doesn’t exist. And it’s true. It’s extremely frustrating and difficult watching a race once you know the result and/or avoiding spoilers before watching it. Having a race live it’s extremely important to grow the race itself and we saw it specifically in the women’s cycling field.
I so decided to do a small recap of the 2021 cycling races starting from the fact that we collected all (or most) TV schedules in 2021 collecting the data in the following table. For each race we collected the day of race, if it was live or delay/highlights (it’s considered delay if you broadcast exactly the race, highlights if you cut it short) and the length of the race production.
I decide so to divide the live tv coverage according to the follow categories:
- Short: the broadcast was shorter or equal to 90′ (podium included),
- Normal: the broadcast was above 90′ but less than 2h30′
- Long: the broadcast was more than 2’30”
- Full: race is broadcasted live from start to finish.
Just a side note and as every cycling fan is probably subscribed to Eurosport/GCN, we took also track of the races they broadcasted this year. And this is what I get.
One Day Races
All the Women World Tour classics got live tv coverage. Two of them from start to finish – and were the Amstel Gold Race Ladies and La Course By Tour de France. Apart from them, Gent-Wevelgem is the only one getting a live coverage with more than 2h30′ while Strade Bianche and the two Ardennaise races (Fleche and Liege) goes below 1h30′. Eurosport here brought almost everything that was on international feed – only the full Amstel was missed (and broadcasted only in Netherlands).
Here is where things get tricky: there are only 5 stages races in the WWT. Vuelta a Burgos, Ladies Tour of Norway, Simac Ladies Tour, Ceratizit Challenge by Vuelta, Women’s Tour. We already know that one of them didn’t committ to the live TV production (Women’s Tour) – the rest was able to do it but two of them (Ceratizit and Burgos) gets a coverage classified in the short category. Ladies tour of Norway and Simac Tour got instead a “normal” TV coverage.
One Day Races
There were three ProSeries classics in the Women’s 2021 calendar. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was the only one that got a live broadcast falling into our “normal” category. Nokere Koerse was broadcasted as delay live after the men’s race, the same for Giro dell’Emilia women that was also the only one not picked by Eurosport.
Also here there were three races, all three on Eurosport. Ceratizit Festival Elsy and Giro d’Italia women got a live broadcast with the first falling in normal category while the Giro in short one. Lotto Thuringen Ladies Tour instead went broadcasted in a delay mode.
One Day Races
Eurosport covered 9 of the 17 class 1 races of the Women International Calendar: six in Belgium, three in Spain. Of the other 8 races – 7 were broadcasted live freely on Youtube, Dailymotion, Facebook and only one had to be watch after the race is finished. For 15 races production was normal and for four of them (two of the Flandersclassics race) even longer than 2h30′.
Six stage races on the Women International Calendar were classified as class 1. Five of them get live broadcast, even a short one and only Ardeche Tour failed in doing so. Tour de Suisse Women, Vuelta Valenciana Feminas and Baloise Ladies Tour went even above 1h30′ of live coverage.
Days in which you can’t see women’s race on TV are over as 84/106 race of .1 category got a live broadcast. Now the target is to increase length and quality. Of these 84 days, Eurosport picked 69 of them with 13 in catch-up mode. In this context the situation of Women’s Tour should be evaluated as it’s part of the 22 race days not broadcasted for the 27% of the days being a Women World Tour race.
Notable aspect here is having 51 of these 84 race days having a live coverage longer than 90′. It’s still less than 50% of the race days and Giro Rosa out with its 10 race days with short coverage (and we don’t mention quality in this report, that’s another stuff) is the main race needing to improve. Eurosport commitment in women’s cycling broadcasting surely is helping increasing the interest in the sport.
Please note that Worlds, Olympics and ECs are excluded from this. They are 6 more days (ITT included) from start to finish broadcast, also on Eurosport.
One Day Races
There are 16 classics on the World Tour calendar and of course all of them are produced on TV and broadcasted on Eurosport during 2021. Six of them got a full broadcast from start to finish: Milano-Sanremo, Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, Il Lombardia, Eschborn-Frankfurt and the Amstel Gold Race (this one only in Netherlands). The rest got anyway a long broadcast (more than 2h30′) except two: the De Panne Classic and San Sebastian.
133 days of World Tour racing are spread across 13 races. Here the live broadcasting is going to be less than the classics – first of all the Grand Tours. Two of them got full broadcast from start to finish, one even when it rains. Vuelta, instead, had six full stages and 15 with anyway more than 2h30′ broadcast.
The only other stage races with such a long broadcast are Tour de Suisse (with last stage always being live start to finish and 7 stages with more than 2h30′), Tirreno-Adriatico, UAE Tour that is all from start to finish but only on local channels and the same for Tour de Pologne that was the only World Tour race that Eurosport missed this year.
One Day Races
There are 28 ProSeries one day races in the men’s calendar – Eurosport here offered a good service having 21 of them. The 7 missing are four Italians (Laigueglia, GP Larciano, Giro dell’Emilia, Tre Valli Varesine), two French (Drome and Ardeche classic) and the Dwaars door Het Hageland. Every race got live broadcasted anyway and only four of them (Primus, Bernocchi, GP Morbihan and Hageland) shorter than 90′ of broadcast.
For the Italian races the main reason of them being missed is the new deal between GS Emilia and Rai – these races are not under PMG anymore that is where Eurosport acquired licenses of Italian races that didn’t previously broadcast. It’s unclear if Rai decided to keep exclusive rights for itself (these races are viewable on Rai channels using a satellite TV) or Eurosport tried to acquire them but demand was too high.
There are 85 days of racing over 17 ProSeries stage races in the men’s calendar. Eurosport here did better than the one day races offering them all except Boucles de la Mayenne and Vuelta a Burgos. All these races got at least 1h30′ of broadcast except Tour of the Alps, Vuelta Valenciana and Boucles de la Mayenne.
Longest broadcast are the ones of Tour de la Provence, Tour of Turkey and Tour of Denmark (longer than 2h30′) alongside Tour of Britain offered from start to finish on local soil.
One Day Races
Welcome to the wild west of races because everything not above it’s here. There are 53 class 1 races and 18 of them getting a live broadcast of some sort on Eurosport + the 4 Mallorca Challenge races getting highlights treatment. These races are all in Belgium, Italy, Suisse, Netherlands, Spain and France with Belgium broadcasting every single one of them live and usually with good quality.
France was then able to get 15/19 one day races produced while in Italy and Spain only 4/8 are live (50%). Netherlands didn’t broadcast this year the Ronde Van Drenthe men (usually it was last years) while Suisse got broadcasted live both their .1 races.
It’s unclear if we’ll ever see Mallorca races live (Spain is increasing broadcasting local races) or Italian TV will finally make the same effort of covering all the .1 races that are often missing in the calendar.
98 days of racing across 21 races. Only 5 of them here are not broadcasted live and three are Italians (Adriatica Ionica, Coppi & Bartali, Settimana Ciclistica), the rest are Rwanda and Vuelta a Asturias – so on 18 .1 races not getting live broadcasted, Italy has 7 of them. Eurosport broadcasted six of them.
Also there the biggest miss are so the Italian ones, with Coppi & Bartali / Adriatica Ionica proved in the last year to be the best .1 Stage Races missing a TV broadcast. Adriatica Ionica wants to get live coverage soon, so hoping something will change in the future.
383 on 420 race days are currently live broadcasted on men’s side covering 91% of the races including all the World Tour and the ProSeries races. 17 of the 37 not-live-broadcasted days are in Italy hoping that something will change in the future but at the moment broadcasting schema seems fixed in the stone and it’s a pity considering that they are the most important races not getting broadcasted.
Eurosport offered a good service but unlike the women’s side here they missed some important races like Pologne, Emilia, Laigueglia, Larciano, Tre Valli Varesine, Burgos and Drome/Ardeche classics that would indeed complete their offer – and these were all races that they broadcasted in the past.
Co-Founder of LFR account. Cycling lover since early 2000s. Say no to short stages.
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