Cycling fans unhappy but Nine lifts Tour Down Under numbers

Nine has defended its broadcast of the Tour Down Under in the face of a backlash from some cycling fans.

The Nine Network has defended its broadcast of the Tour Down Under in the face of media reports about a backlash from some cycling fans.

The Australian reports more than 1600 have so far signed an online petition calling for the rights to be returned to SBS and a protest page on Facebook has drawn more than 1000 fans.

Nine won the broadcast rights in a deal with rights holders Events SA.

The biggest difference between the two broadcasters is Nine’s later coverage, with highlights so far starting at 11:30pm at night. SBS had daily higlights at 6pm, but Nine has doubled the length from 30 to 60 minutes.

Both offer live coverage of Stages 5 and 6.

Despite both having the same commentators, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, one fan says Nine’s coverage is tailored for general interest viewers and isn’t satisfying for cycling fans.

“You see the crashes, the really big moves, the wins and the finishes. You don’t get to see what happens behind the scenes,” he told The Australian. “Watching it (live) you learn so much, you see the guys that have been doing it for 15 years, you see their tactics. It’s the sort of stuff you don’t catch in a highlights package.”

Some TV Tonight readers have also criticised Nine’s coverage:

Steve Warburton: “Ch9 are committed to the cricket at the same time and are showing it on 2 stations. Their 3rd station has 30-40yo TV shows repeated for the what ever’th time when the TDU stages are being run. They have nothing but contempt for cycling fans.”

Dylan: “At least on SBS it was available in HD”

Craig: “Who didn’t see this coming, seriously they have 3 channels, surely they could have put it on one of them live for the whole event. I hope those in charge of the TV rights are proud of them selves for once again screwing the fans for more money!”

Chris: “To make it worse they give you the results in the 6 o’clock news so even if you wanted to stay up and watch the highlights you find out the results.”

MojoTV: “channel nine pinching a show from sbs, we all know how that worked out last time dont we?”

But Nine also points to an increase in viewing numbers for the event -not surprising given it’s broader audience base.

It claims the Reach for the TDU is +18% more in Total People and +48% more People 25-54 than the 2011 event on SBS.

A Nine spokesperson told TV Tonight, “The Nine Network has committed to showcasing the Santos Tour Down Under on its main channel and so far the event has already enjoyed an increase in ratings on Nine compared with previous years. The Nine Network has brought a wider audience to the event and introduced the enjoyment of watching cycling to a greater audience in Australia ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

Nine supplied the following table comparing TDU on SBS in 2011 and Nine in 2012:

Down Under Classic
7:00pm SBS TWO (LIVE) – 90-minutes
11:55pm SBS ONE (REPEAT) – 90-minutes
(Streamed live online)
10.30pm Nine – 90-minutes
(Streamed live online)

Stage 1
6:00pm SBS ONE – 30-minute highlights
8:30pm SBS TWO (RPT) – 30-minute highlights
10:00pm SBS ONE – 5-minute update
11.30pm Nine – 60-minute highlights

Stage 2
6:00pm SBS ONE – 30-minute highlights
8:30pm SBS TWO (RPT) – 30-minute highlights
10:00pm SBS ONE – 5-minute update
11.30pm Nine (10.30pm in Adelaide and Perth) – 60-minute highlights

Stage 3
6:00pm SBS ONE – 30-minute highlights
8:30pm SBS TWO (RPT) – 30-minute highlights
10:00pm SBS ONE – 5-minute update
11.30pm Nine (10.30pm in Adelaide and Perth) – 60-minute highlights

Stage 4
6:00pm SBS ONE – 30-minute highlights
8:30pm SBS TWO (RPT) – 30-minute highlights
10:00pm SBS ONE – 5-minute update
11.00pm Nine – 60-minute highlights

Stage 5
11:15am SBS ONE (LIVE)
(streamed live online)
8:30pm SBS TWO (Highlights) – 60-minute highlights
11.30am AEDT Nine (LIVE)
(streamed live online)

Stage 6
1:30pm SBS ONE (LIVE)
(streamed live online)
8:30pm SBS TWO – 60-minute highlights
Cycling Central
5:00pm SBS ONE (LIVE from Adelaide)
1.00pm AEDT Nine (LIVE)
(streamed live online)

22 Responses

  1. Did we really get a live telecast of the final stage? Seemed an unbelievably quick cross from the final sprint to an awful “presentation ceremony. ” . Was there a best young rider, most aggressive rider, kom presentation?
    Add my name to the cyclists and fans who feel SBS treat the sport and its adherents with some respect.

  2. I listen to these commentators all year around, but the length of these ads (I’m watching today’s stage live), mean I so much time questioning what happened during the ad break that another ad starts by the time I’ve figured out were the race is at again.

  3. SBS forever. They have telecasts and highlights at times that suit everyone…. 11.30 at night is too late when people work. Just imagine if you were all like me and live in a rural area. I receive 9 through imparja, one hour after everyone else. That makes the highlights at 12.30am.
    All the people who are dissing the cycling, watch something else, like three episodes of the big bang theory or back to back two and a half men. Channel nines programming is woeful in fact if the cycling wasn’t on I would be avoiding it all together. About time SBS had more recognition for their roll in sport…… Mike Tomolaris is a bloody legend and is smarter than the 9 commentators regarding cycling. Maybe Mike Turtur should consider this next year…….There are not usually this many complaints………..

  4. The increase is only because of the build up of popularity over the years….thanks to SBS, not 9….Have not watched any of the late night coverage, seen more on ABC during the day! Am totally disgusted by the disrespect channel 9 has shown this great sport and the fans. I know it’s not for everyone, I cannot stand cricket, but I don’t bash the game or the people who love it (not publicly anyway:) }, I simply don’t switch it on, there are plenty of other things to do or see. Lets hope that SBS retain the rights to the Tour de France!

  5. SBS most likely lost the rights because of their dire funding issues of late. But channel 9 did get a big licence rebate from the federal government so most expected better coverage. But it looks like SBS did a better job, despite their issues.

    No one was expecting Tour de France standard coverage for an event which is just 14 years old. That will come in the future years when the dynamics of the sport and the event are much better understood by broadcasters and the host sport body that runs the event.

    And given the economic times we live in right now and according to most worse times to come, any TV coverage is welcome.

  6. Wow, how surprising, nine stuffs up coverage of something that used to be on another network. That has never happened before …….. oh, actually it has ……..

    World Cup Rugby
    Super League
    Top Gear

    The list goes on.

    Keep your filthy pathetic hands off the Big Bash.

  7. While it would be nice if it was all live, these people should think how lucky they are getting some coverage at all plus the finals live. Comparing the coverage, Nine has more highlights than SBS however they are later in the evening. At 6pm a lot are gettting/having dinner and/or watching the news while at 10:30pm they are either watching the tennis or going to bed. So between SBS and Nine, they both had their ups and downs but to me the coverage is about the same.

    Maybe karma will hit these people and the Tour Down Under will end up getting no coverage. They dont realize what NRL fans in the AFL states have to go through or AFL fans in NRL states. SBS could have dumped the coverage (I know they didnt) with no other broadcaster picking it up. These people should consider themselves lucky.

  8. I don’t care about the increased reach and we’re only getting about 15 min extra once you take out the ads. However, I’m not watching highlights at 11:30pm when I’ve already seen/heard the results several times. Will be watching Stage 5 live tho’.

  9. How is there a clash with cricket, there is no cricket this weekend?
    Agree, they could have had live coverage on GEM for Stage 1 to 4, or at least run the 60 min highlights earlier on GEM or Go! as they should have highlights ready by 7pm or so? As Go! has had Youth Olympics this week, why not run those at 6pm on GEM instead in HD, back to back with TDU at 7pm for a 2 hour block of sports each night this week? No, too sensible of course, can’t have that can we?

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