V Demand for the Tour de France: The Importance of Stage Characteristics versus Outcome Uncertainty, Patriotism, and Doping, pp. 39-60
This paper analyzes TV demand for cycling in Flanders. Using data for 338 Tour de France broadcasts, average and peak TV audience per stage is estimated by an OLS regression model. A first set of independent variables measures the importance of stage scheduling and includes variables that define the stage type and date, as determined by the race organizer. A second set of variables consists of stage features out of control of the race organizer. These variables measure the importance of outcome uncertainty, patriotism, doping, and substitute activities. Our findings suggest that TV viewership of cycling is largely determined by stage characteristics. On a much smaller scale are viewing habits driven by race developments. We also find evidence of a negative impact of the release of doping news on viewership.