As well as being a resounding success on the road, this September’s Tour of Britain was a huge hit on television and online, recording a 17% increase in viewers to the daily ITV4 highlights.
On average over 483,000 viewers tuned in to see highlights of Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, an increase of 17% over 2010’s average reach of 401,000.
Stage three, The Stoke-on-Trent Stage on Tuesday 13th September, saw the programme’s largest audience, with 592,000 viewers tuning in to see Lars Boom take victory and pull on the race leader’s IG Markets Gold Jersey.
Online too the tour was a big hit, with the official website, tourofbritain.co.uk, seeing a massive increase of traffic, with over 2.49 million pages views during the eight days of The Tour from approaching 300,000 unique users. The Tour of Britain’s Twitter account also saw its 10,000th follower subscribe during this year’s edition.
In addition to ITV4, twelve other channels around the world screened daily highlights of The Tour of Britain, to a potential audience of over 75 million homes in 64 countries.
Channels from SBS in Australia to Sky New Zealand, via sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, plus six European channels in Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Norway and Turkey kept fans of The Tour of Britain around the world up-to-date with the daily coverage showing the unfolding story of the 2011 battle for the IG Markets Gold Jersey.
Additionally there was also further coverage of The Tour of Britain in the USA, where Cycling.TV broadcast highlights of The Tour to an online audience.
“The confirmation of our best ever viewing figures is the affirmation of what has undoubtedly been the best ever edition of The Tour,” said SweetSpot Group Chief Executive Hugh Roberts.
“Coming off the back of similarly excellent viewing figures for The Halfords Tour Series on ITV4, and the success of the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana on the same channel, it shows the increasing mass market appeal that professional cycling has in Britain.
“Work is already well underway on the 2012 Tour of Britain, which we are determined to once again take to the highest possible levels. Coming just a month after the conclusion of the Olympics, interest in The Tour will be higher once again and we are sure that the huge crowds will once again be at the roadside for Britain’s largest free-to-attend sporting event.”
Earlier in 2011 television viewing figures for the third season of the unique team based city centre Halfords Tour Series also underwent tremendous growth, with the Series holding an average reach of 244,000 viewers on ITV4.
The overall 2011 Tour of Britain was won by Rabobank’s Lars Boom, with British riders claiming both The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Jersey (Geraint Thomas) and the Skoda King of the Mountains Jersey (Jonathan Tiernan Locke), while Belgian riders took the remaining honours, with Pieter Ghyllebert winning the new-for-2011 Yodel Sprints Jersey and Jelle Wallays the UNISON Best Young Rider Award.
More details on the 2012 Tour of Britain, which will take place between Sunday 9 and Sunday 16 September, will be revealed in the New Year, with the full route announced in the Spring.