Tuesday 27 December 2011

Let's get more bikes on the box!

Following Mark Cavendish's victory in the BBC Sports Person of the Year award - which he won with almost as many votes as all the other candidates combined - it seemed to us that perhaps cycling isn't quite as much a niche sport here in dear old Blighty as we're so often told. In fact, with that and the huge crowds drawn to the Tour of Britain, Sky Rides and other events there really is no reason to doubt that Britain has fallen well and truly in love with cycling.

So, we decided to get in contact with ITV, the channel that shows footage from the Grand Tours and - when we're lucky - highlights from the various other ASO cycle races to which they have British broadcasting rights and see if perhaps they might now be considering showing a bit more.

We wrote:

Dear Sir or Madam,
Many of out here are already extremely thankful to ITV for showing the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana and Tour of Britain, not least of all because that's just about the only chance we get to see cycling on British television. So thanks for that and keep up the good work.
Last night, when the BBC declared their Sports Personality of the Year Awards, Mark Cavendish - Britain's most successful Tour de France rider ever and the first British World Road Race Champion in nearly 50 years - scored no less that 49.47% of the total votes, beating runner-up Darren Clarke (a golfer) by 169,152 to 42,188 - in other words, by 126,964 votes.
Cycling's a niche sport in Britain, right? Yet the combined total of the votes received by the nine runners-up came to 172,807 - just 3,655 (0.53%) more than Cav won alone.
So I learned recently that you guys also have the rights to broadcast several other Amaury Sports events, including some of the most famous races in the world such as the legendary Paris-Roubaix, for which you showed highlights in 2011. Now that cycling is so obviously becoming a hugely popular sport in Britain, do you have any plans to show more complete race coverage - even more races - in the future?
Britain loves cycling - there's no longer any doubt
(image credit: Emperley3 CC BY-SA 2.0)
ITV have replied. They said:
 Thank you for your email regarding Cycling on ITV

I can confirm that your comments have been noted here at ITV Viewer Services.

We have no plans in our current schedule however all our schedules are subject to change

Many thanks for taking the time to contact us here at ITV as we always welcome viewers feedback

If we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us

Kind Regards

So it seems that even though cycling's popularity has now been improving in Britain for many years and a British rider is World Champion, we're still not going to see any more of our beloved sport on the box. However, they do say comments are noted - we doubt they are in any meaningful way, but if enough people take the time to contact the broadcaster and ask the same thing, who knows what might happen? You can email them at viewerservices@itv.com (other contact details here). Feel free to copy and paste our original email if you're short on time.

ITV already have the rights - we just need to persuade them they'll also have an audience.


  1. Well done!!we need more cycling on TV!

  2. It can be done. ITV have the rights to show all three Grand Tours, the Tour of Britain, Paris-Roubaix and others - all we need to do is show them that by not showing more, they're missing out on a large, untapped audience.