An estimated 3.5 billion people watch the Tour de France. That makes it one of the most viewed sporting events in the world. Cycling is easy to understand, the stages have beautiful scenery, and the races are decided in the last seconds.
Covid has boosted cycling’s popularity even further. While many other activities had to be postponed, cycling was, for many, THE weekend activity of the lockdown months.
But the Tour de France has been missing something for most of its glorious days: A women’s race. Now the Tour de France organizers have finally reacted. They recently confirmed the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. While there have been other female bike races (e.g., LA Course), all of these events were missing the crucial branding of arguably the greatest race on the planet.
37% of the Tour de France fans are women. Simple math tells us that this means that there are nine hundred sixty-two million women who actively follow the Tour de France.
The already existing female Tour de France audience and the even bigger amount of women who follow cycling give the new race a massive potential audience. Since the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will take place just after the man’s race, the hype could carry right over.
All the women don’t just follow the Tour de France. 32% of female Tour de France fans purchased a bicycle in the last 3–6 months (Base: 16%), and 24% plan to purchase one in the future (Base:13%). That’s a significant increase over the base population and just as much as the male fans. The results show the buying power of female cycling fans.
The graph above also reveals interesting insights for luxury brands. Speaking bluntly, the numbers show that female Tour de France fans buy twice as many luxury watches as the base audience. Especially in the luxury industry, where fewer products in total are sold, this could prove to be a significant trend. Other luxury brands will certainly keep an eye open for the women’s race as a potential sponsoring property.
The Sponsors Perspective
Let’s get to the sponsor’s perspective. As you might have guessed from the name, the online fitness platform Zwift will be the presenting partner for the next four years. In the last six months, 46% of the people who have posted something on Twitter relating to Zwift are between 25–34 years old. That overlaps nicely with the 68% of the Tour de France female fans who are either GenZ or GenY.
But there is more to come. The new women’s race is a good sponsoring opportunity because of the audience match illustrated above. In addition, the new race addresses a brand objective that is increasingly important: Diversity.
With female sports becoming more prominent all over the globe, brands are looking for the right property to complement their male sponsoring deals.
The deal also marks the latest collaboration between the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the organizers behind the Tour de France, and Zwift. Last year, Zwift helped the ASO to organize the first Virtual Tour de France, which was broadcasted in over 130 countries.
Zwift proved that they can stage successful digital races. Together with the ASO, they can further enhance the viewing experience for Tour de France Fans. Just imagine trying to keep up with the leading yellow jersey on your Zwift bike.
On a different note, sponsors from the men’s race already started to sponsor the women’s race as well. Swiss watchmakers Tissot, the French lottery operator FDJ, and the financial services company LCL have been confirmed as sponsors for the women’s race.
But it does not stop there. Women’s sport is gaining international traction, and we expect more global companies to join the women’s sponsoring board over time. Here is a list of some of the biggest sponsors from the Tour de France.
With its stunning scenery (e.g., swiss alps, vineyards), the route of the Tour de France provides brands with many opportunities to tell their story. Skoda and Shimano are just two global brands out of the Tour de France’s sponsoring portfolio that could view the women’s race as a valuable sponsoring opportunity.
Finally, there is just one thing to do.
Sit back, relax and watch the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift Trailer for 2022.
For more expert insights into sponsorship data & analytics visit us on Advanced Sponsorship Insights. Or write us directly