In Depth

Versus Keeps Tour de France Rolling to 2013

Versus has locked up the Tour de France, one of the channel’s biggest events, with an extension of its deal to run through 2013, company executives said.

“Signing a multiyear extension deal with the [Amaury Sport Organization, organizers of the Tour] demonstrates that the network’s commitment to the Tour de France has never been stronger. We are proud to be home to one of the most intense competitions on earth and a sporting event that truly embodies the essence of the Versus brand,” said Gavin Harvey, president of Versus.

“With the field wide open this year, I’m confident we’re going to see an unbelievable competition unfold on the race course right through to the very end,” Mr. Harvey continued. “Add to that a strong presence of top American contenders and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be wearing the yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysées.”

The network will begin its wall-to-wall coverage of this year’s race on July 5, going live at 8:30 a.m. ET. The network has carried the challenge since 2001.

Versus is set to air the Alps-to-Paris race this year with 14 hours of action per day. Daily coverage will include a pre-race show followed by live morning race coverage, race action replays four times daily and an expanded prime-time show.

This year, Versus will implement several production enhancements in an effort to give the casual fan a greater understanding of the sport in general and the Tour specifically, without alienating the hardcore fan. These will include behind-the-scenes features on select teams and riders; training tips from Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong’s former trainer; advanced on-screen statistics to illustrate the intensity at which the riders are competing; and cameras in team cars during key stages.