2014 Tour de France Grand Départ watched by 3.5 million spectators

This year’s Tour de France Grand Départ saw 3.5 million people lining the roadside to watch the race and brought in £128 million for the UK, according to a report issued by Welcome Yorkshire.

The 64-page report, written by the company eventIMPACTS, detailed the economic benefits felt by Yorkshire and the rest of the UK during the three-day opener to the Tour de France, which was deemed a huge success for the region.

“There is no doubt the Grand Départ of the Tour de France was incredible for many businesses in Yorkshire and the benefits will be felt for many years to come,” said Welcome Yorkshire CEO Gary Verity.

The report estimates that the roadside numbers totaled 4.8 million, however the figure was closer to 3.5 million after taking into account people who watched more than one stage. The large bulk of the spectators came in the opening two days in Yorkshire, where it is estimated that 2.3 million watched the race go by – around 1 in 4 are thought to have seen the race.

"I can see the Tour in their hearts, and in their eyes. For that, I say thank you to everyone in Yorkshire who has made this Grand Depart so very, very special,” said Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme back in July. “When you said you would deliver the grandest Grand Depart it was the truth, you have raised the bar for all future hosts of the Tour de France.”

Of the people who went to watch the event in Yorkshire, 97 per cent of those came from around the UK with 3% coming from overseas. The report states that around 113,00 spectators traveled from outside of the UK to see the Grand Départ, 10 per cent of the total amount. The average total spend of a day visitor to the event came in at £25.27 with commercial visitors spending almost £50 per day.

All of this had an impact on the economy with an estimated £128 million being spent on travel, accommodation, food and drink, and other Tour related spending. £120 million of that went to that went to Yorkshire with the rest going to the regions of Cambridgeshire, Essex and London. The report goes onto say that the economic benefits could hit £150 million in the coming years.

How does this compare to the last Grand Départ in London in 2007? Transport for London issued a similar report in the aftermath of the event. The report estimated that over the two days spent in the country’s capital around 3 million came to watch the prologue and opening sprint stage, although the report doesn’t make it clear if this has factored in return spectators. The two days of racing also brought in £88 million with a further £35 coming from publicity.

Next year's Tour de France will begin in Utrecht, The Netherlands on July 4.

Facts and figures from Yorkshire Grand Départ

  • 4.8 million spectators
  • £128 million in revenue
  • 13,000 stewards
  • 100 kilometres in barriers
  • 2 million inspired to cycle more
  • £25.27 average daily spend
  • 1.5 million spectators for London stage
  • 18.6 million television viewers

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Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.