International Journal of Sport Finance vol:8 issue:1 pages:39-60
International Journal of Sport Finance
This paper analyzes TV demand for cycling in Flanders. Using data for 338 Tour de France broadcasts, average and peak TV audience per stage is estimated by an OLS regression model. A first set of independent variables measures the importance of stage scheduling and includes variables that define the stage type and date, as determined by the race organiser. A second set of variables consists of stage features out of control of the race organiser. These variables measure the importance of outcome uncertainty, patriotism, doping and substitute activities. Our findings suggest that TV viewership of cycling is largely determined by stage characteristics. On a much smaller scale are viewing habits driven by race developments. We also find evidence of a negative impact of the release of doping news on viewership. The study supports the idea that a well-chosen race profile is crucial to maximize Tour de France TV viewership.