Bike races are perfect to have on in the background. Large numbers of TV viewers just switch on the race to enjoy the beautiful images from the helicopters. The target audience for bike racing viewers is not quite what you might imagine…

 

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If you’re a bike racing fan, then you’re going be spending a considerable amount of time indoors watching the races. Whether it’s the one-day classics such as the Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders or the Amstel Gold Race, or stage races like the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia — they are all great to watch. It’s exciting to follow the team tactics being executed and watch an attacking group trying to keep out of the clutches of the peleton. If you can relate to this, then you’re a real fan.

But you’re not a member of the biggest group which watches bike racing on TV. Racing fans are obviously very important viewers and sponsors often finance teams in order to reach this group. Those fans can often name all the teams and name the individual favourite riders. However, there is another highly important element which is given a lot of attention by the camera teams: the landscape.

Research has shown that the majority of viewers in countries such as France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Switzerland are primarily the over-60s. This group is closely followed by women in the 35 to 55 age group. Both groups put the TV on in the background in order to enjoy the the beautiful landscapes and picturesque architecture passing by. For a small group, the images they see during the Tour de France are also a reason to book a holiday there.

It’s therefore very logical that the French tourist office invests heavily in the Tour de France and that during the race a large amount of attention is given to the eccentric performances of the local populations as the race passes by. Another survey found that 31% of Tour de France viewers watch the race to enjoy the pictures of the landscape, followed by 26% who most enjoy watching the mountain stages (perhaps thanks to the dramatic shots from the helicopter) and only 20% of viewers actually follow the racing closely.

So next time you’re watching a race and you wonder why so much attention is being put on the cows in the meadow, the sunflowers, and that pretty castle on the hill, think about the main group of hard core viewers…