Over the past few years, Brits have been spoiled by the presence of home nation interest in the Tour de France. But this year, recent winners Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome weren’t selected by their team (renamed Ineos Grenadiers after their new sponsor), which features only one British rider – Luke Rowe.
Like so many sporting events the race has also shifted in the calendar, putting it up against a different menu of sporting attractions. How have these factors affected perceptions of the race among the British public?
In the chart above, you can see how the race’s Current Customer metric (have you watched the race over the past 12 months? %) has declined from a high in 2018 when Geraint Thomas won the race. Consumption was still strong last year but it has fallen quite significantly since then. If we look at the data over a shorter window, that Current Customer metric is showing signs of recovery but it’s still below where it’s been in the past.
But in an unusual effect, it looks like Impression of the event hasn’t been affected by this downturn in consumption – in fact, quite the opposite. Its Impression score (Of which of these events do you have a positive/negative impression? Net %) is as high as we’ve seen it (and in Wales, home of former winner Thomas, it’s much higher).
How has this happened? Well, we’d suggest that Brits’ hugely successful run in the event (six wins in eight races) has done enough to bring it to the attention of those who weren’t previously interested in or aware of it – and seeing domestic interests win has left a surprisingly enduring impression of the race on the public. This legacy shows the value to organisers of a competitive international field (representatives from 14 countries have now won the race’s general classification) in maintaining an event’s lustre.
With this year’s GC interested limited to Adam Yates among a strong field, it’s unlikely we’ll see a British winner in 2020. Nevertheless, it looks like the Tour de France has done enough to secure a lasting place in British hearts.
Photo Wikipedia Creative Commons