Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC Sports Group signed a new 10-year agreement for coverage of the Tour de France race and will air live stages of cycling’s premier event on its NBC network for the first time, beginning next weekend.
The agreement with the Amaury Sport Organisation, the race’s owner, begins with the 2014 race and runs through 2023. It includes all U.S. television, digital and mobile rights. Financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed by NBC. France Television pays 24 million euros ($30 million) a year to show the Tour de France and other sports events managed by Amaury Sport Organisation, according to a statement by the French public broadcaster.
In addition to cable coverage on NBC Sports Network, two complete live stages of the race will air on U.S. network television for the first time, beginning this year. On July 7 and July 8, the race’s 7th and 8th stages will be carried from 8 a.m. New York time to noon on NBC, Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network, said in a telephone interview.
“We’ve noticed a continuing interest in cycling in the U.S. and the ratings for this event have been strong,” Miller said. “Our sponsors like it. We’re finding a real strong audience for this race and this sport.”
Broadcast advertising for the race is 85 percent sold out, Adam Freifeld, a spokesman for NBC Sports Group said in a telephone interview. Advertisers include Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) NV, Radio Shack Corp. (RSH), Nissan Motor Co. (7201), General Motor Co. (GM)’s Cadillac brand, and McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), Freifeld said.
All 21 stages of the race, which will be held this year from June 30 through July 22, will be carried live on the NBC Sports Network. The race’s final stage on July 22 will be shown during a condensed two-hour special on NBC after airing in its entirety on NBC Sports Network in the morning, Miller said.
As part of the agreement, NBC Sports Group will continue coverage of Amaury Sport Organisation’s other events, including the Paris Marathon, and cycling events such as Paris-Nice, Criterium du Dauphine and Paris-Roubaix.
“We are very happy to see the Tour de France exposure growing in the United States,” Yann le Moenner, managing director of Paris-based Amaury Sport, which runs the Tour, said in an statement. Amaury Sport’s other events “will benefit from a large exposure” on NBC Sports Group platforms, Moenner said.
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