Tour de France 2021 witnesses spike in viewership intentions

Rishad Dsouza
June 24, 2021, 12:39 PM UTC

Following the 2020 edition, which was moved to August-September on account of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Tour de France is set to return to its regular window this year. The iconic cycling event will start on June 26, and new data suggests it might be received more widely by fans across the world as a result.

YouGov conducted a survey across three key markets – the United States, Great Britain and Australia – to examine the viewership interest in one of the marquee events on the global sporting calendar. There appears to be a much stronger appetite for watching live action from the 2021 Tour de France, either on television or streaming platforms, compared to last year’s event.

Comparing viewership interest in 2021 to viewership in 2020

In Australia, 18% of people said they watched the 2020 event, but around 30% of the adult population has expressed a strong interest in watching this year. Similarly, sharp upticks were noted in interest levels in both Great Britain and the US. And although intent won’t always translate into actual viewership, these differences are still worth noting.

The study also examines the factors driving potential viewership. In each market, more than half of those who say they are interested in watching the upcoming edition of the tour, indicate their appetite stems from a general love of cycling events.

And, how much does the long and rich history of the Tour de France, which was first organised in 1903, count for? A lot, apparently. Around two in five consumers (39% in Australia, 36% in Great Britain and 42% in the US) who are interested in viewing the 2021 event say that the legacy of Tour de France is a motivating factor.

While there are some similarities across markets, some noteworthy variances also emerge. Three in ten (30%) Australians with a high interest in watching the 2021 event say their viewership interest is influenced by the fact that it is a talking point among friends and family. Brits (18%) and Americans (12%) are far less likely to watch for that reason. Just under three in ten (28%) Aussies pick easy access to the coverage as an interest-driving factor, again beating out their British (18%) and American (17%) counterparts.

What’s keeping more consumers from tuning in

In a crowded sport events marketplace, having between 19%-30% of consumers in three distinct markets express a strong interest in viewing an event is no small feat. But there is value in knowing what keeps others from developing an interest in the product.

In every market, around a half of consumers who say they are not interested in watching the 2021 Tour de France simply don’t watch sports in general. In Australia and Britain, just under one in five consumers indicate they’ll be occupied watching other sporting events (19%). A less common, but significant deterrent, is lack of access to channels. In the US and Australia, one in fourteen consumers say that lack of access to the broadcast and streaming channels is a reason for their diminished interest in watching (7%).

Overall, however, the organisers and athletes involved in Tour de France have reason to rejoice about the preliminary consumer interest in the 2021 edition.

Methodology: YouGov polled 1,200 UK adults online between June 18, 2021 at 7:42 p.m. BST and June 19, 2021 at 7:01 a.m. BST. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Results are nationally representative of adults in the UK. The margin of error is 4.5% for the overall sample.

YouGov polled 1,200 US adults online on June 18, 2021 between 2:41 p.m. Eastern Time and 5:18 p.m. Eastern Time. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Results are nationally representative of adults in the US. The margin of error is 3.8% for the overall sample.

YouGov polled 1,200 Australian adults online between June 18, 2021 at 4:42 a.m. ACT to June 19, 2021 and 4:42 a.m. ACT. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Results are nationally representative of adults in Australia. The margin of error is 5.3% for the overall sample.

Learn more about YouGov Direct.