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SBD Global/July 2, 2012/Media

Tour De France Team Owners Want Share Of TV Wealth

As cyclists geared up for the start of this year's Tour de France, the "rebellion continued to build" against French media group Amaury Sport, according to Alex Duff of BLOOMBERG. Managers of some race teams -- including those sponsored by RadioShack and Garmin -- have "become increasingly outspoken in their pursuit of Amaury Sport's money." The teams want a share of the TV rights, as well as more of a say in the management of the sport. Teams Association President Jonathan Vaughters said that cycling's competition model "should be brought in line with team sports that spread the winnings around," including the NFL and EPL. Another challenge facing Amaury Sport comes from "an upstart championship format" called World Series Cycling. As in F1, the champion racer "would be determined by a points system" among riders participating in the world's most competitive races. That would include the Giro d'Italia, the Tour and the Vuelta a Espana as well as six one-day races across Europe and up to 10 new ones around the world. A 12-page pitch to investors projects an annual profit of €1.8M ($2.3M) per squad in '17. The Tour "draws a sizable audience" for an event "with a limited following." In '09, 44 million TV viewers tuned in for a single mountain stage. That made the Tour the 12th-most-popular televised sports event that year, according to Initiative, a London-based media-buying agency. Amid "a booming market" for TV sports rights, the Tour could be worth as much as $1B (BLOOMBERG, 6/30).
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