The fist event for 2012 on the UCI World Tour starts this Sunday in South Australia with the Santos Tour Down Under. As reported earlier by Frost Global the broadcast rights for the 2012 event were awarded to the Nine Network after SBS had previously broadcast the event. We noted in our earlier article that the press release from TDU organisers did not make clear what time the nightly highlights would air, for how long or whether they would be on Nine’s primary channel or a secondary channel such as GEM.
Nine and Tour Down Under organisers have now released the broadcast schedule for Australian viewers. The schedule is as follows (NOTE: these broadcast times are subject to change):
Sunday 15 January:
10.30pm-12am – Down Under Classic (90 minute highlights)
Tuesday 17 January:
11.30pm-12.30am – Stage 1 (1 hour highlights)
Wednesday 18 January:
11.20pm-12.20am – Colemans Group Stage 2 (1 hour highlights)
Thursday 19 January:
11.30pm-12.30am - Stage 3 (1 hour highlights)
Friday 20 January:
11.00pm-12.00pm - Bupa Stage 4 (1 hour highlights)
Saturday 21 January: Jayco Stage 5 LIVE broadcast:
11.00am-3.30pm - Adelaide
10.30am-3pm - Brisbane
11.30am-4pm - Sydney/Melbourne
8.30am-1pm – Perth
Sunday 22 January: Stage 6 LIVE broadcast:
12.30pm-3.30pm - Adelaide
12.00pm-3.00pm - Brisbane
1.00pm-4.00pm - Sydney/Melbourne
10.00am-1.00pm – Perth
Whilst Stages 5 and 6 will be broadcast LIVE on Channel Nine and streamed LIVE on www.wwos.com.au, in disappointing news for cycling fans highlight packages for the Down Under Classic and Stages 1 to 4 of the Tour will only be seen late night on Channel Nine (the Down Under Classic will be streamed live on www.wwos.com.au). Cycling fans will be forced to wait until 10:30PM at the earliest and in most circumstances not until after 11PM to watch the highlights of the first five days of racing from the World Tour Event. This is despite this year’s Santos Tour Down Under being in an Olympic year (Nine is an Official Broadcaster of the London Olympics), the debut of Australia’s first UCI World Tour team GreenEDGE and the current unprecedented interest in cycling following Cadel Evans’ maiden victory in the 2011 edition of the Tour de France. The late night broadcast schedule is reminiscent of last year’s treatment by ONE of the 2011 FINA World Swimming Championships from Shanghai, as reported by Frost Global.
Just last weekend cycling fans across the country were treated to the first ever LIVE broadcast of the Mars Australian National Cycling Road Championships from Ballarat on SBS, yet only one week later, an event of international standing receives late night highlights treatment, except for the last two stages. Surely the highlights packages could screen early evening on Nine’s digital offshoots GO! or GEM and then be shown again on Nine’s Primary Channel late in the night. In comparison the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under had coverage of the Cancer Classic LIVE on SBS TWO, daily highlights of Stages 1 to 4 on SBS ONE at 6:00PM, SBS TWO at 8:30PM and then again on SBS ONE at 10:00PM, whilst Stages 5 & 6 were LIVE on SBS ONE. Even this year’s Dakar Rally has highlights packages available to viewers every night at 5:30PM on SBS ONE.
782,393 people attended the Tour Down Under in 2011 and generated around $154.3m in media coverage with 284 hours of television broadcast globally. It will be interesting to compare the figures with this year’s event following the move to Nine and the first tour in the post-Lance Armstrong era. Hopefully the event is a roaring success, but for cycling fans across the country not being able to watch highlights in the early evening for the first five days of racing from this country’s premier cycling race is a little disappointing.
For international viewers the Santos Tour Down Under will be broadcast by the following broadcasters:
Sky Sports and ITV (UK)
For those who prefer to listen to their sport on the radio, ABC Adelaide will have live coverage of every stage on 891 ABC Adelaide and ABC SA. Listeners will also be able to listen to the ABC’s dedicated TDU Digital Radio Station “ABC TDU 2012” (available in metropolitan Adelaide only). For more information on the ABC’s coverage, click here.