“It’s more than just a cycling event”: Behind the Tour de France broadcast

Tour de france

“This year we will be broadcasting in 1080p high definition”

One of the word’s biggest sporting events, The Tour de France returns from July 1st on SBS. From Bilbao to Paris – with 2,115 gruelling miles in between – 2023 will be the 120th anniversary of the tour.

Ahead of the starting gun, Mediaweek caught up with Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme and SBS director of media sales, Adam Sadler.

Christian Prudhomme and Adam Sadler

Christian Prudhomme and Adam Sadler

MW: There are a lot of major events on the global sporting calendar, how significant is the Tour de France?

Prudhomme: “The Tour is broadcast in 90 countries, and it’s three, four, or five hours a day during the three weeks. It’s sport of course, that’s the most important part, but its history, its geography makes people proud of their region. On a lot of the routes, you see smiles on everybody’s face – young, old, women, men, French, people from abroad. It’s it’s a social event, it’s not only a sporting event.”

Sadler: “It’s more than just a cycling event for SBS. We’ve recently adopted a French chef by the name of Guillaume Brahimi, he’s passionate about France, passionate about Australia, and he infuses that beautiful French culture into our cycling event. When we take this beautiful content out to our advertising agencies or partners, it’s more than just lycra and cycling. It’s about culture.”

MW: SBS and Tour de France have a long-standing relationship, what’s the importance of this partnership?

Prudhomme: “The longest agreement we have with a TV channel is the one held by SBS. It’s something this is very important for us.”

Sadler: “We’ve had this beautiful partnership since 1991 through until 2030, and what that means from a media perspective is that every year the broadcast, the broadcast quality, the broadcast hours, the broadcast talent, only gets better. This will no doubt be one of our best Tour de France broadcasts.”

MW: What can we expect this year from the Tour de France coverage?

Sadler: “SBS is the home of cycling in Australia, there’s the Giro, the Vuelta, and the jewel in the crown is the Tour de France. Over 3.6 million Australians tune in to the Tour de France. This year we will be broadcasting in 1080p high definition, which you would have seen during the World Cup in 2022. We’ll give it the audience it deserves on our main channel, and also the best on-demand streaming service in Australia – Apple rated SBS On Demand 4.8, the highest rating in Australia.

Prudhomme: “It’s thanks to the TV coverage, this is the only sports event you can love even if you don’t love the sport. That’s thanks to culture, thanks to geography, and to history. Last summer in France, the 15 to 24 year olds were the second largest group of viewers watching the Tour on TV, so there’s something for everyone.”

Tour de france 2

MW: The Tour de France Femmes is back this year after last year’s launch, which was incredibly significant. From your perspective, how did the event go last year?

Sadler: “We were very, very happy with the results. I think there’s a big opportunity for the Tour de Femmes to grow, especially on our digital platforms. Noting the popularity of female pelotons we’re seeing now getting around Australia, and female participation in sport, it will only continue to grow.

Prudhomme: “It was above our expectations. There were many, many people along the roads, there were more women along the roads than during the three weeks of the mens competition. What is very important for us is for a little girl alongside the route to have a dream, and maybe one day, one of them could be in, or win, the Tour.”

MW: What are you most looking forward to this season?

Sadler: “We’ve got more Australian participation during this Tour de France than ever before. I’m also looking forward to seeing our commentary continue to evolve – we’ve got a really diverse group of commentators on this year’s Tour de France with Dr. Bridie O’Donnell and Matt Keenan. Guillaume Brahimi will join us on the panel as well.

“You’re going to get the culture, you’re going to get the performance, you’re going to get the cycling. You’re going to get a real breadth and depth of the cycling event, and also the culture itself.”

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