SBD/Issue 202/Sports Media

Versus.com Sees 120% Traffic Increase For Tour's First Four Days

Versus.com's 120% Increase In Traffic Aided By
Armstrong's Tour Return, New Technologies
Versus.com recorded a 120% increase in traffic for the first four days of the Tour de France compared to the start of last year’s race, according to internal metrics. While the spike, joining sharply increased TV ratings for its live morning telecasts of the race, owes in large part to the return of Lance Armstrong to the event after a three-year retirement, the network also heightened its interactive coverage of the race under new digital chief Neal Scarbrough. New this year to Versus.com for the Tour is Race Tracker, which combines live GPS-based tracking, play-by-play accounts, interactive maps with elevation depictions, photo galleries and other content. Subscription-level offerings add live and on-demand, broadcast-quality video to Race Tracker. A lower-quality live online video feed is also available for free, a first in Versus’ coverage of the Tour de France. Versus additionally has extended an existing partnership with MapMyRide.com in which recreational cyclists can submit their own local ride data online and see how it compares to that day’s Tour stage, with participants eligible for a sweepstakes drawing. Among the major sponsors of Versus’ online Tour coverage is Cadillac, which is supporting a Tour widget and a related sweepstakes. Scarbrough said, "We’re seeing levels of interest rising back to when Armstrong was finishing up his seventh win [in 2005]. It’s early, but we’re up strongly this year, and we’ve got a much more compelling all-around product. We knew we had to be a lot more full service this year, so the interactivity is up strongly. The production levels of the video are much better, and so forth, and the numbers are starting to reflect all that."



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