By Antonio J. Salmerón
The 2007 Tour de France has set new records in television ratings in Spain. With an average quota of 10 percent it had about double the average viewership of La 2, the second public TV channel, during the month of July. The 'golden minute' of the 2007 Tour de France was on Wednesday, July 25, when more than three million people watched live as Alberto Contador attacked on the Col d'Aubisque.
According to Sofres, in 2006 the Tour stage to L' Alpe d' Huez was watched by more than one million spectators (11.5 percent of average quota) whereas the 'queen' stage 17 of the 2007 Tour between Orthez and Gourette-Col d' Aubisque, was watched by more than two million, 2.676.000 viewers, to be exact. This equals an average quota of 24.1 percent.
At 17:00, when the riders were close to the finish, the highest number of spectators was reached with 3.138.000 (29 percent of average quota). The last weekend of competition of Tour 2007, with a long time trial stage between Cognac and Angoulême and the arrival to Paris also reached high numbers. As Contador crossed the line on Saturday, at 17:25, 2.949.000 spectators watched the time trial live. The next day at 17:52, 2.570.000 spectators or an average quota of 26.2% saw the 2007 Tour winner cross the line on the Champs Elysées.
On the other hand SAT 1, the German cable channel that took over after the public channels decided to quit the live coverage of the Tour de France, was not happy with its viewership and has decided to not broadcast cycling in the future. ARD and ZDF had averaged 13.1 percent in the first nine days. When SAT 1 took over they didn't manage more than 4.9 percent the first day, while Eurosport's viewership jumped from under two to almost nine percent.
Some 900,000 people or an average quota of 5.5 percent were following Sunday's final and while the channel maintained that they actually made money as they had gotten the rights very cheaply, it is unlikely that they will broadcast cycling in the future.
Before the string of doping cases had been announced most Germans said they would continue to watch the Tour despite negative news of positive test cases.