The Tour de France captivates cycling fans worldwide, from the enthusiastic spectators lining the roads to the millions who tune in to watch the broadcast or visit the digital channels.

The 2023 Le Tour broadcast reached 150 million viewers in Europe, and the domestic broadcast alone drew 42.5 million viewers, a million more than in 2022. The digital audience was up 76% to 30.6 million visitors, who accounted for 80 million visits – of which 52 million were international.

Of course, the TV viewing experience has come a long way since the very first live broadcast, back in 1948, which covered only the finish of the race. Today, we get to enjoy pin-sharp close-ups of the riders, sweeping shots of the landscape, aerial views of the peloton and – thanks to a 10-year partnership between Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) and NTT DATA – up-to-the-second statistics on the performance of individuals and teams.

Recognizing that the demands of fans aren’t static, A.S.O. are always looking to bring the Tour de France to people in new ways. They’ve used data to give both “once a year” viewers and long-standing fans an even deeper appreciation of the world’s premier cycling race.

Connecting data streams for a new perspective

Data has become integral to fan engagement in many sports. During an INDYCAR race, for example, it’s used to show detailed analyses of lap times and predict when pit stops will happen. For fans of the Tour de France, real-time data tells a deeper story of rider performance and team strategies, giving them a greater understanding of the race and making the viewing experience that much more engaging.

The foundation of these fan experiences is our real-time data platform. Our digital twin of the Tour de France uses data gathered from IoT sensors mounted under each rider’s saddle. The sensors constantly transmit information on their latitude, longitude and speed, augmenting it with additional data such as local weather conditions. Then, our machine-learning models generate detailed insights that feed into a range of race channels: live broadcasts, apps and social media.

The Tour de France Race Center is the hub of all race information. Here, fans can track the progress of each stage and see team strategies unfold as they happen: is a team sending riders back to support their GC challenger? Will their sprinter make it to the finish line within the time limit? These insights also add color and depth to television broadcasts and commentary.

This year, we’re once again collaborating with Strava, an app and social media platform for tracking physical activity. By connecting insights from their platform with the data from the riders, we can highlight how the performances of this year’s peloton compare with those of other professional and amateur riders. When the Tour rolls into town, records tumble!

A Fantasy League for a new league of fans

In addition to bringing the race to life digitally, our data powers the Tour de France Fantasy League. Fans can pit their insights against the likely outcome of the day’s stage and the overall result, creating another layer of engagement. They can compete against friends, colleagues and other fans to pick the best possible team from the peloton. Our insights into the strengths of the riders and our predictions of the frontrunners help them make their best choices.

Since the inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift in 2022, we’ve also delivered the same depth and quality of data analytics to the women’s race. This is contributing to incredible audience growth for the women’s race, too. Last year, the digital audience grew by 2.7 million visitors – up 80% from 2022.  And it’s not only the fans who are benefiting: this level of engagement makes the sport more attractive for young cyclists and sponsors alike.

This year’s Tour de France Femmes will build on that foundation, and fans can also take part once again in the Tour de France Femmes Fantasy League.

Join the data revolution

This year, the Tour de France will cover about 3,500km of varying terrain over three weeks to finish in the French city of Nice. As millions of fans watch in person, on TV and online, our IoT and edge technologies will supply all the data needed to make the magic happen – and we’ll keep finding new ways of engaging fans.

For instance, VIP fans can visit our AI-enabled digital human named Marianne in our NTT DATA Tech Truck during the men’s and women’s races. She’s a lifelike avatar with a ChatGPT integration that interacts with humans to answer their questions and share Tour de France information.

This year, when you see your favorite professional cyclists on a big or small screen near you, take a moment to appreciate the incredible technology working behind the scenes to make it all possible.


Visit the Tour de France Race Center and the Tour de France Femmes Race Center to see our data-driven innovation in action during these events.