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Women’s Tour De France Return Gains Sponsor Momentum

T
he first Women’s Tour De France in 33 years is gaining sponsorship momentum as Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) sign deals with online cycling training platform Zwift and sports betting operator FDJ.

General director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, announced the return of the women’s tour in May telling the Guardian, ASO, organiser of the Tour de France, would have launched the tournament this year had the pandemic resulted in the Tokyo Olympic Games being held immediately after the men’s Tour.

The last Women’s Tour de France was held in 1989 but was discontinued due to poor revenue return.

“Today, all the women’s races that we organise lose us money,” Prudhomme said.

“If it makes money, that’s great, but it mustn’t lose money or it will end up like the Tour in the ‘80s and it will die.

“If that balance had been achieved then, we would be on our 35th women’s Tour now… the challenge is to set up a race that can live for 100 years,” he said.

Prudhomme announced the Tour, which will be called Tour de France Femmes, will be held after the men’s competition to encourage broadcasters to carry over coverage of the women’s cycling.

“We want it to follow the men’s tour, so that the majority of the channels which broadcast the men’s Tour will cover it as well,” Prudhomme said.

Sportbusiness report ASO have signed media rights deals for the Tour de France Femmes with French public broadcaster France Télévisions and Eurovision Sport.

The Geneva-based sports arm of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Eurovision Sport and ASO reached an agreement to show the Tour in 54 European countries including through Denmark and Norway’s TV2, NOS in the Netherlands and RTVE in Spain.

Online cycling training platform Zwift have also signed on as the Tour’s presenting sponsor in a four-year deal with ASO.

Making a statement on the deal, Zwift chief executive and co-founder, Erin Min, said: “This is an incredibly important announcement for us as we look to build on our investment in women’s cycling and really help grow and develop the sport.”

“Building on the success of the success of the Virtual Tour de France on Zwift last year, this has been many months in the making and both Zwift and the ASO are delighted to make the dream a reality,” Min said.

Also signing a deal with the new women’s competition is French sports betting operator FDJ.

Committing to a three-year contract beginning on July 24, FDJ’s sponsorship of the Tour adds to the company’s large presence in the sport.

In women’s cycling, FDJ is a sponsor of the first women’s Paris-Roubaix race which will be held on October 2 this year and is the co-title sponsor of women’s Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) World Tour team, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope.

More broadly, FDJ is the co-title sponsor of men’s UCI World Tour team, Groupama-FDJ, and will sponsor the French Olympic and Paralympic Teams in Tokyo as well as sponsoring the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris 2024.