The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift Impact: Analysing the Early Data

By Megan Flottor

It is safe to say that the recent Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift has left an indelible mark on the world of cycling, capturing the attention of both seasoned enthusiasts and those who might be new to the world of professional cycling. The 2023 race felt particularly significant, drawing impressive comparisons to the previous year’s success, which was already a milestone for women’s racing. From a number of career highlights for emerging talents to Vollering’s epic win — this felt like the race that just kept on giving. 

Yet, while the vibe around this year’s race has been overwhelmingly positive, it’s essential to recognise that positive vibes alone won’t secure future television deals or attract crucial sponsorship support. Concrete, verifiable data is what carries weight in the world of sports analytics.

The preliminary numbers are in, and they are looking good 

Thankfully, a recently released infographic on the official Tour de France Twitter account has provided us with the data we need to back up the positive sentiments and enthusiasm surrounding the race. This data not only confirms the heartening anecdotes but also sets the stage for potential investments that can propel women’s racing to new heights.

One standout number is the impressive viewership for the Tour de France Femmes on French television. During stage 7, when Demi Vollering tackled the challenging Tourmalet, 4.3 million viewers were tuned in, representing a remarkable 34.6 per cent of the audience share. Across the entire race, each stage managed to captivate an average of 2 million viewers, accounting for 24.8 per cent of the national audience share.

This impact wasn’t confined to French borders. Across seven European nations, the race clocked in over 80 million hours of viewership. Eurosport’s coverage, in particular, reached 15 million viewers, showcasing a 7.14 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

The online digits talk a big game as well

In the digital realm, the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift also saw a substantial boost. The official website witnessed an 80 per cent increase in unique visitors compared to the previous year, with site visits also experiencing a significant 60 per cent uptick. However, the most remarkable growth was observed on the race’s social media channels, where the community expanded by a staggering 797 per cent from the previous year, amassing over 100 million views collectively.

Breaking down this digital impact, notable moments shone through. Yara Kastelijn’s victory drew 1.4 million viewers on TikTok. Demi Vollering’s ascent up the Tourmalet in thick fog reached 856,000 individuals on Instagram. Seven hundred ninety thousand people on Facebook saw highlights from Stage 5, and the final moments of Stage 3 garnered attention from 361,000 Twitter users.

These are significant numbers for a race that unquestionably deserved widespread attention. The statistics speak to the fact that the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift has tapped into a vein of interest that shouldn’t be underestimated. As we digest this data, it becomes evident that a turning point has been reached – a moment where the need for more comprehensive coverage is undeniable.

Key data points from 2023 viewership data:

Average French audience for each stage on free-to-air (FTA) channels France 2 and France 3 was two million viewers

  • The race gained an average audience share of 24.8 per cent on both channels
  • A max viewership of 4.3 million was recorded during the seventh stage, which was a 34.6 per cent audience share
  • Race videos on France Télévisions’ streaming and online platforms gained 1.3 million views, up eight per cent on last year
  • Eurosport’s coverage of the race had a viewer reach of nearly 15 million, a 7.14 per cent rise on 2022
  • A 42 per cent audience share was recorded in the Netherlands during the seventh stage
  • The Tour de France Femmes’ website gained 2.7 million unique visitors, an 80 per cent jump from last year
  • About 4.5 million visits were recorded for the website, up 60.7 per cent on 2022
  • The race drew 74.4 million views on its social platforms, with half coming from TikTok (238 per cent increase on the previous edition)
  • The Tour de France Femmes’ social media accounts gained more than 100 million views for its posts

Let’s give the people what they (clearly) want in 2024

The appetite for women’s cycling is palpable, and the numbers confirm it. In order to continue growing, though, the future demands a more immersive broadcasting experience that can connect athletes and fans on a deeper level. The data is more than just a validation; it’s a call to action.

Television coverage, as the realm that connects the global audience to the pulse of these races, needs to evolve in tandem with the mounting passion. Broader coverage holds the power to amplify the exhilaration of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, making it an experience that will bring hoards of new fans to our sport with every passing year. We have said it before, and we will say it again — the women have more than established they can provide nonstop excitement, so please, for goodness sake, let more people witness it!