NBC Increases Tour de France Coverage, Including Multi-Platform Mobile Options

In addition to increased broadcast coverage, including live coverage on the first weekend, the NBC Sports Group has substantially increased its internet coverage of the race’s 99th edition.

Collectively called Tour de France LIVE, race coverage will be available online at NBCSports.com, and through the Tour de France LIVE Mobile app.

The network will offer users two premium-subscription products which will give fans a multi-platform, all-encompassing viewing experience to the Tour.

Tour de France LIVE offers live streaming video of every stage in full HD, with the ability to pause, rewind and slow-mo the video. While watching live coverage online, viewers will also have access to a live GPS tracking map to follow the riders’ progress or to see an enhanced interactive map for each stage.

Subscribers can also personalize their Tour experience by choosing their favorite riders and teams to track throughout the Tour.

For iPhone and iPad users as a Android users fans can purchase the Tour de France LIVE Mobile app.

All the features of the NBCSports.com online experience will be mirrored in the Tour de France LIVE Mobile app, including live video of every stage, and is sold separately from the online product

Stages 7 and 8, which will air live on NBC, will also be streamed live for free, on NBCSports.com.

Here are some more helpful links:


TV times for NBC coverage. Will probably be like NHL and have some on the former Versus channel. Check your cable provider listings.

Visit NBC Tour de France app for addition mobile viewiing options.


‘Tour Tracker’ App Brings Race Action to Cycling Fans’ Phones and iPads

The Tour Tracker app shows not only live racing action, but also a wealth of race-related information, like elevation profiles and current standings. Credit: Tour Tracker.

The traditional time sacrifice made by cycling fans — hours spent waiting on a remote hillside for only a brief glimpse of the riders as they pass by — is now history, thanks to a revolutionary app that brings full live race action to phones and handheld devices.

At the recent USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, many fans were seen alongside race courses with mobile devices in hand, watching both the live race in front of them as well as the television-quality coverage provided by the Tour Tracker application, a free app for iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

Like the live TV coverage from the Versus cable channel, the Tour Tracker app brought live in-race coverage to fans’ mobile platforms, allowing people to both see the race in person — if for only a few seconds — while still following every second of action via their portable devices.

“It’s the perfect example of technology really solving a problem, instead of just being a cool device to play with,” said Rob O’Dea, one of the two brains behind Tour Tracker. As a professionally published cycling photographer (as well as a longtime successful marketing executive), O’Dea knows well the problem cycling fans have traditionally endured when it comes to watching races live: You might spend hours by the side of some remote mountain pass with no idea what was going on until you saw the racers quickly pass you by.

With the Tour Tracker app, all that is changed since fans can basically watch an entire stage unfold from start to finish, combining the best of the couch-potato TV-watcher and on-the-scene worlds. Sponsored by electronics retailer and pro cycling team sponsor Radio Shack for the USA Pro Challenge, the “Shack Tracker” was the buzz of the crowd lining the streets in Aspen and Vail during the two USA Pro stops there in late August, with people watching the race on their phones and iPads while waiting for the cyclists to arrive at their viewing spot.

Cycling fans in Aspen watch the USA Pro Challenge on an iPad while waiting for the racers to reach town. Credit: MSR.

Though Tour Tracker isn’t a brand new phenomenon — “it’s an overnight success that has been years in the making,” joked O’Dea — it’s safe to say that the combination of application maturity and great mobile-viewing platforms like the iPad are the perfect storm for an app that’s perfect for its intended audience — zealous cycling fans who want to watch both the entire race and the few seconds of live action, who can now do both things at once.

Close-up of the Tour Tracker app in action on an iPad. Credit: MSR.

Though O’Dea won’t give out audience download-number specifics (he says those stats are the ownership of the individual races like the USA Pro Challenge or the Tour de France, which Tour Tracker licenses its app to on a race-by-race basis) it’s a safe guess that it has probably already attracted hundreeds of thousands if not millions of viewers who learned of the app’s existence while watching the Tour de France or the USA Pro Challenge on TV this year.

Though this year’s app was already chock-full of important race information beyond the live action — such as elevation profiles, maps and even an fan-interaction forum via Twitter — O’Dea said that he and Tour Tracker co-founder Allan Padgett (one of the original architects of Acrobat, now part of software giant Adobe) have even bigger plans for 2012. For cycling fans, that’s like Christmas in July — knowing that they may never again miss a moment of the Tour de France, no matter where they may be.

A race fan follows the live coverage while watching course-side in downtown Vail during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Credit: MSR.

2011 Tour de France Features All Access, GPS


Cycling legend Bernard Hinault. (Photo courtesy letour.fr)

All cycling, all the time, for a price. NBC Sports plans expanded mobile sports coverage of the 2011 Tour de France, with $14.99 Android, iPhone and iPad applications that provide unlimited live video streaming and Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking of every rider in every race.

According to an AllThingsD report, NBC recognizes that sports coverage must expand every year to meet the sophisticated demands of the mobile sports consumer. NBCSports.com coordinating producer Tom Seeley told AllThingsD that it is “not acceptable” for sports programmers to offer the same services as the previous year. 

In 2010, NBC Sports’ cable channel Versus offered some GPS tracking of riders, but this year’s broadcasting will provide detailed tracking of every rider of every race. For those paying the freight for the Android, iPad and iPhone apps, there will be up to 14 hours of live video daily. For app-less sports consumers, NBC will provide maps, standings, rider profiles and video highlights.      

From now until July 11, NBC will charge $14.99 for the Android, iPad and iPhone apps. The price will drop $5 to $9.99 for week No. 2 coverage (July 12-16) and final week coverage (July 17-25) will cost $6.99.

Subscriptions for live video over the Internet will be $4.95 daily and $29.95 for the entire event.