Hosting the Tour de France is a privilege that not all cities or regions in France can afford. Every year, nearly 300 cities apply but only a minority is selected. The economic impact of participating in the Tour as 'Ville d’arrivée' or 'Ville de départ' is not negligible, it is quickly calculated that the Tour de France yields 4 to 5 times more than the costs incurred.
The economic benefits are great, as is apparent from the announcement of the course. Not only will the number of accommodation requests explode, it also stimulates trade and the catering industry. Often the region also contributes to the financing, because they naturally also benefit from the awareness of the event.
Visitors linger around the Tour cities to spend their entire vacation. 75% of tourists attending a Tour finish acknowledge that the Tour de France route influences their choice of holiday destination.
Although we can of course wonder what the return will be this year. Due to the Covid-19 troubles, the number of tourists who come to support the cyclists will be a lot less. The large influx of tourists on which the campsites, hotels, holiday homes, guesthouses, bars, restaurants, but also the cultural places counted, will not come. More than 10 million people support the riders alo,gside the road, they will not be there this year due to safety measures.
"France from the air"
Of course, the media attention should not be forgotten. With its marketing machine, the Tour offers a great platform to show a city or region to the whole world.
The Tour de France will be broadcast in 190 countries for 3 weeks, reaching an average of 12 million viewers for the live broadcasts. Cameras that show cities, forests and castles from the air in a beautiful way with helicopters and drones create, as it were, an open invitation to visit the region.
But the Tour de France is struggling with a rapidly aging TV audience and declining ratings. Tour organizer Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) must pull out all the stops to attract new generations of fans. They prefer short clips full of enriched information, flashy highlights and online viewing.
ASO wants to settle this battle with growing online activity. She wants to put the fans themselves in the cockpit of the race by giving them the option to follow each individual rider live via the online race center.
Technology company Dimension Data has been collecting real-time data for several years now using techniques such as data capture and analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence. That info is then poured into bite-sized statistics, passed on to broadcast commentators and journalists, and clips are distributed with dynamic graphs full of data through the Tour's official social media channels.
ASO, meanwhile, waves 12.6 million unique visitors to its website, 9.1 million on the online race center, 6.5 million fans on social media, 71 million online video clip views, 1.4 million downloads of the Tour app and 1.2 billion hours of video views.
The enormous presence of media and the connection with tradition and history make the Tour a strong brand. Many cities and regions are moving along in the digital evolution, linking a significant part of their media efforts to this global event.
In a normal situation, the yield for cities and regions is 4 to 5 times higher than the investment that is being made. Whether this year the return will be that great is the question.
But one thing is certain, the Tour remains an ideal showcase.