Warner Bros. Discovery: 2022 Tour de France Bike Race Set Streaming, Broadcast Records Across 50 European Markets

Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Aug. 1 reported record-breaking streaming and broadcast audience engagement across 50 markets in Europe for its comprehensive coverage of the Tour de France bicycle race, which ended July 24. The 24-day event was won by first-time winner Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark.

The Tour de France was available on the Discovery+ streaming platform in Denmark, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. and Ireland. The U.S. SVOD grew its Tour de France streaming audience by five times compared to 2021, and saw a near 32% increase across all of its digital platforms, including the Eurosport app.

WBD also reported that the Tour finished with the best overall pan-Europe television performance in five years with record audience tune-in in key markets including France, Spain and Norway. TV viewership across Europe on Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 rose 23% from 2021.

WBD’s Eurosport.com saw a 50% jump in audience starts compared with 2021. Total video minutes watched grew by 40%.

In broadcast, Warner Bros. Discovery said the race, which featured an epic duel for the Yellow Jersey between Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar, Slovenia’s winner of the last two editions of the Tour, racked up more than 400 million hours viewed in aggregate across Eurosport’s television footprint.

The Tour de France was broadcast and streamed in the U.S. by NBC Sports and Peacock.

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Discovery+ Delivers Streaming Gold at Tokyo Olympics

The opening week of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo saw record numbers visit Discovery’s digital platforms in Europe. Almost three-quarters of a billion streaming minutes of content has been consumed on Discovery+ and Eurosport Player during the first week, nearly 18 times more than by the same stage of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The Discovery+ subscription streaming video service launched in January this year, while the Eurosport Player bowed in 2008, with mobile versions debuting in 2011.

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While Comcast/NBCUniversal have exclusive rights to the games in North America, Discovery secured its first rights in 50 markets in Europe for $1.5 billion featuring 11 national productions and coverage in 19 languages.

With European viewers able to personalize their Olympics coverage, Discovery scored a large linear-TV audience share, underscoring widespread interest in the delayed Tokyo Games across the Nordic markets where Discovery is presenting the Games on its free-to-air networks. Shares as high as 78% in Norway (Handball, Spain vs. Norway); 67% in Sweden (Football, Sweden vs. Australia); and 60% in Sweden (Swimming) were recorded.

Discovery’s multi-platform distribution has generated more than 275 million European viewers of the Games so far. More than 100 million have watched through Discovery’s coverage on TV and digital, and an additional 175 million more have watched the Games through Discovery’s license agreements with free-to-air broadcasters around Europe.

Combined, this represents a 10% higher reach than PyeongChang 2018, with the average audience share of Discovery’s pay-TV channels improving by more than 30%.

“When we look back at the first week, it is clear the Olympics has brought new and different audiences to our platforms in impressive numbers,” Jean-Briac Perrette, CEO of Discovery International, said in a statement. “The Tokyo Games are seeing digital numbers never seen before, and we are thrilled that so many fans across Europe are watching the Games on discovery+ and Eurosport Player.”

Eurosport.com and its multiple local market versions have also seen record breaking daily audiences, with three times higher reach as the same stage of PyeongChang 2018. Interest in the Olympics delivered a record month for the website in July as 54 million unique users visited the platform.

“Whether through record digital engagement on Discovery’s platforms or large audience share on our networks, it is clear these games are having a big impact,” said Andrew Georgiou, president of sports for Discovery.

Vodafone Subs Get Free Six-Month Access to Discovery+ Streaming Service in Time For Tokyo Olympics

Ahead of the start of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics on July 23, Vodafone on July 6 announced that it is offering six months’ free access to the Discovery+ subscription streaming service to its 17.5 million U.K. telecom subs on up to four devices.

At the end of the promotional period, subscribers will have the option to continue their subscription for £4.99 per month or cancel the service without any charge.

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Discovery+ launched in the U.S. in January, and is the streaming home of Eurosport, which has European multimedia rights to the Olympics. Parent Discovery recently acquired operational control of WarnerMedia, including HBO Max.

Vodafone subs will have access to 55 live event feeds and 3,500 hours of coverage, as well as 2,000 hours of on-demand action.

Olympic Games streaming hosts include Greg Rutherford MBE, Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins and Joanna Rowsell MBE, who will be joined by Orla Chennaoui, Reshmin Chowdhury and Radzi Chinyanganya.

In addition to the Games, Vodafone subs can access a variety of Discovery content, including “90 Day Fiancé,” “Aussie Gold Hunters,” “Gold Rush,” “Deadliest Catch,” “Ghost Adventures,” “Chris Watts: A Faking It Special,” “Michael Jackson: A Faking It Special,” “Meghan & Harry Recollections May Vary” and “The Devil Made Me Do It,” among others.

“The British summer of sport is going from strength to strength,” Max Taylor, consumer director, Vodafone U.K., said in a statement. “There’s also a wide range of content outside of sport that customers can enjoy, including documentaries and boxsets.”

Subscribers who want to redeem the offer can do so via the My Vodafone app) or through Vodafone’s dedicated Discovery+ landing page.

Discovery Partnering for Global Bicycle Track Racing League

Media giant Discovery Communications March 2 announced a partnership with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world bike racing government body, to create a bicycle track racing venue — the UCI Track Cycling World League — in 2021.

Bicycle track racing takes place on velodromes, including the Velo Sports Center in Carson, Calif. The U.S. women’s team just won the team pursuit gold medal at 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin, which ended March 1. American Chloe Dygert Owen won the individual pursuit. Both are favorites to repeat at the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics.

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Under an agreement signed in Berlin, the management, TV production and distribution of the new UCI series will be handled Global Cycling Network (GCN), in collaboration with Eurosport’s promotion division, Eurosport Events. Discovery owns Eurosport and GCN — the latter streaming platform with nearly two million subscribers on YouTube.

World Champion Chloe Dygert Owen

“The partnership with the UCI demonstrates what the scale and expertise of the wider Discovery family can offer partners in sport, providing both highly localized content to the widest variety of audiences as well as offering unrivalled expertise, analysis and storytelling from the best experts,” Andrew Georgiou, president, Eurosport and global sports rights & sports marketing solutions, said in a statement.

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“With this new UCI circuit, the discipline will have a packed and attractive annual calendar that offers variety and will meet the expectations of new audiences while also appealing to existing cycling fans,” said UCI president David Lappartient. “Along with our new partner, we will grow the appeal of track cycling beyond the Olympic Games, where it has been on the program since the very first Games of the modern era, in 1896.”