SYDNEY — SBS says strong aud figures for the Tour de France will give it confidence to challenge traditional Oz-centric sports skeds.
Oz multicultural pubcaster’s first live broadcast of the Tour de France has shown that local sports-crazy auds have an appetite for more that just local fare. The Tour averaged 13.3% of free-to-air auds during the event, well up on the web’s average 5% share, and peaked with 415,000 eyeballs despite its challenging latenight slot.
Previously, pubcaster showed just four or five out of the 21 segments live. SBS is establishing itself as a major sportscaster. It was a surprise bidder for the rights to the Ashes cricket tests in Blighty, on which the commercial webs were unwilling to gamble their primetime auds. SBS beat rival pubcaster the ABC’s bid for the Ashes.
SBS will also show next year’s Football World Cup, another event ABC bid for and lost. Focus on international sports is a new approach for free webs. Major sporting events consistently dominate the most viewed programs in Australia, so it is a key programming area, but the solid figures for the Tour may mean more choice. “It may be due to the fact that the Australian cyclists performed so well, but the figures will definitely encourage us to take more risks,” said SBS’ Mike Field.