Early Tour de France Audience Figures
Bloomberg: Tour de France TV Audiences Rise in Europe Even After Scandals (tip tdfblog ) reports audiences are up 6% in France, 11% in Spain and 40% in Denmark (to over 800,000). Italy's RAI reports 1.2million viewers, while ARD/ZDF averaged 1.4million until they pulled the plug over half a dope test.
In the UK, the BARB Weekly Summaries show the tour's London-Canterbury Stage 1 charting with 178,000 viewers on itv4. That's up from 143,000 for 2006's stage 1 (up 24%). Last year's itv4 coverage seems to have peaked at 197,000, so it'll be interesting to see how later stages fare, as details are announced.
Stage 1 was also shown on the more widely available (analogue+digital) itv1 channel. The itv1 coverage didn't chart, so it must have had less than 3.41 million viewers, but I can't see exactly how many.
British Eurosport's reported audience for Stage 1 increased from 84,000 last year to 118,000 (up 40%). Their 2006 peak was 100,000 for the last Thursday highlights, so that's already broken. They've been advertising pretty widely, with really annoying Franglais adverts that mispronounce the race name ("Tardy France" eh?).
There was also an overspill into other channels, which we don't usually see. Two of my favourites: Graham Jones: What do the Tour de France and a Victoria sponge have in common with your social networking web site? Channel 4: Tour de France's UK appeal (video feed) mms://a1167.v15478c.c15478.g.vm.akamaistream.net/7/1167/15478/v0004/origin.channel4.com/news/2007/07/05_bike.wmv