Will spectators have to pay to watch cycling races from the side of the road? The option is seriously considered.
Cycling is one of the last great free sporting spectacles. The main races, including the legendary Tour de France, are broadcast live on TV. television on the free channels of France Télévisions. It's obviously the same thing when you stand at the side of the road to see the yellow jersey and the Tour champions pass by. But that could change!
The world of cycling is indeed changing. looking for fresh money. The teams are struggling to achieve success. survive several seasons and sponsors come and go. Even the team of 2023 Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard is not spared since it still has not found a replacement. new partner for the year 2024. A solution recently mentioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) would be to charge spectators to watch the races from the side of the road. A real revolution.
David Lappartient, president of the UCI, explained, in June in an interview for Ouest France, that this was a possible solution for certain events: "When a race ends with a circuit, that's all there is to it. understandable fact (to make the public pay). For French championships, Coupe de France events, I would not be shocked; to see paid entries. Ticketing can become an additional source of income. When I was president of the Plumelec GP, we entered the race. 5 euros. The passionate public The bike rider understood that this had allowed us to balance the accounts, to bring such an event to life. We do it for track cycling, cyclo-cross, why wouldn't we do it on the road?"
We understand that buying a ticket to watch the Tour de France pass by the side of the road near your home or at your vacation spot is not at the heart of your project. The Frenchman seems to be aiming for smaller races, not always profitable and taking place on a circuit. Others, however, go much further, like the manager of the Uno-X team, Jens Haugland.
For him, certain very particular portions of the routes could in fact lend themselves to the payment of an entry, in particular those which attract a large audience who sometimes travel hundreds of kilometers to see the passage round. "On the last meters of an ascent, if you add giant screens and spectacle, it's an attractive product. So it's fair to say that to be there, you have to pay five euros. “I don’t see a problem with that,” he said. Tour fans who follow several stages, sometimes at different stages, campervan board, would then see their costs increase.
As a reminder, today, only a few spaces, particularly in the arrival area, are privatized and intended for use by visitors. VIPs and companies who pay dearly, even very dearly, to obtain an exceptional view of the race. Make the "lambda" spectator pay This would in itself be possible on certain major finishes of the Tour de France, such as on the Champs-Elysées or at the top of certain legendary passes. But the image of cycling, a popular sport since its beginnings in the 20th century, would certainly suffer.
If the Tour de France is a big profitable machine and would probably not need this contribution, the teams would certainly welcome the appearance of ;a new source of financing, via the redistribution of this ticketing revenue. It is estimated that around 12 million people travel on the roads of the Tour during the three weeks of the competition. At 5 euros entry, the windfall would already be consequently…
Questioned On the issue, David Moncoutié, a former runner converted to a consultant, speaks out against this idea: "I tell myself that this would be almost impossible to achieve. set up on a 190 km road race. In strategic places, perhaps… However, this popular fervor is part of certain races too. We like that. We would have to find the right balance and it is not easy. Cycling is special, we cross villages, we take roads.
Seeing the Tour de France pass in your city or on vacation should therefore remain free in the ;immediate, but some races could well quickly opt for a paid ticket, such as criteria or other cycling disciplines. Question of survival.