SBJ/June 27 - July 3, 2011/Media

Versus expands, links Tour coverage to NBCSports.com

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Versus is expanding its online coverage of the 2011 Tour de France through an integration with NBCSports.com and new applications for the iPad and Android mobile platforms.

“Tour de France All Access” will offer live coverage including maps and stats.
Coverage of the Tour de France, annually a major event for Versus, will now exist on NBCSports.com as part of the broader site integration that occurred earlier this year in the wake of the NBC-Comcast merger.

The live coverage also takes on the new moniker of “Tour de France All Access” to match up with the “All Access” brand used for NBC’s coverage of “Sunday Night Football,” the NHL playoffs and other events. Like last year, Versus will feature a detailed Race Tracker for the Tour de France featuring interactive race maps, social media integration, statistics, highlights and other content.

Live race video, as it did last year, is behind a pay wall. An online subscription featuring the live video, real-time race GPS tracking and other features costs $29.95, as it did last year, with daily passes priced at $4.95. Mobile versions for the iPhone, Android and iPad platforms, as in 2010, are $14.99 each.

This year’s event won’t have seven-time champ Lance Armstrong, who returned in 2009 and 2010 after a three-year retirement but has since retired again. But NBC Sports officials said the move to NBCSports.com and the introduction of applications for the iPad and Android platforms should boost sales and consumption of the coverage. Versus last year sold 26,000 online subscriptions for the Tour de France and 15,000 iPhone applications.

“We’re definitely hoping on some significant audience lift,” said Tom Seeley, NBCSports.com coordinating producer. “It was a great product before that we’re bringing back on a much bigger platform now. The NBCSports.com site is a much more heavily trafficked, 12-month-a-year site [compared with Versus.com]. And having these two new mobile platforms and getting on the tablet is also a huge boost. It’s very exciting to get our hands on properties like this.”
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