Ten years ago, NTT DATA first collaborated with Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), organizers of the Tour de France and Tour de France Femme avec Zwift, on a multiyear plan for building data-driven digital fan experiences using IoT, edge computing and real-time analytics.

The Tour de France has become an iconic global event since the first cyclists took to the road in 1903. Over the years, media coverage evolved from newspapers and radio to live television broadcasts that delivered stunning images of cyclists racing through the French countryside.

Then, the digital era arrived, bringing lightning-fast developments in technology and new ways for Tour de France fans to engage with their favorite teams and riders. By the mid-2010s, much of the world’s cycling fandom was digitally connected and consuming sports content differently.

A.S.O. had to establish its presence in the online world to keep a new, younger and more digitally connected audience engaged. Gamification, social media and emerging technologies such as augmented reality and AI were just some of the opportunities they chose to explore.

Technology fires up the fans – and Le Tour itself

Technologies such as IoT sensors, versatile connectivity solutions and edge computing can capture, process and analyze data in real time. This is ideal for a fast-moving event such as the Tour de France, where riders travel hundreds of kilometers every day through some of the world’s most spectacular but unpredictable environments.

During the first years of working with A.S.O., we put in place key building blocks such as real-time tracking of the riders using IoT and advanced analytics.

These foundations allowed us develop A.S.O.’s broadcast and digital capabilities over time, leading to advanced broadcast graphics, the Race Center website (which brings together data, social media and race commentary), the Tour de France mobile app, the Fantasy League and even an AI-powered, interactive “digital human” called Marianne (located in our Tech Truck).

And, since the launch of the first Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift in 2022, our technology has also contributed to massive growth in the viewing audience and increased investment in the sport. We are excited to once again support the women’s race in 2024.

From fan experiences to event operations

The digital transformation of the Tour de France doesn’t benefit just the fans. A.S.O.’s new digital capabilities are equally powerful when applied to operational management, to the point where we have now created a digital twin of the entire event.

The digital twin integrates data from a range of sources, including IoT sensors across event vehicles, equipment and locations, to provide a continual stream of actionable information to the race operations team. The locations of key assets, the publicity caravan, the race convoy, occupancy of VIP zones and current weather conditions are just some of the key data used in the digital twin.

Our real-time Tour de France data also feeds into other experiences: for example, fans waiting next to the road can now get an estimated time of arrival for the peloton at their location, or track the progress of the publicity caravan to make sure they don’t miss the free souvenirs.

So, the technologies that NTT DATA has put in place now power great fan experiences – for those watching and interacting online and those at the race itself – as well as race management.

Evaluating, planning and testing take us from conception to execution

The power of collaboration fuels the partnership between NTT DATA and A.S.O. as much as it does the teams of elite cyclists competing in the Tour de France.

Every year, we refresh our multiyear innovation plan based on what we learned from the last Tour de France. This allows us to identify our priorities for the year ahead and structure new projects.

We’re always experimenting with fresh ideas, often as small-scale pilots, to see whether they’re market-ready. This has resulted in a constant stream of projects progressing from ideas to fully realized solutions rolled out to millions of cycling fans.

True partnerships go beyond business

The Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes are great examples of how NTT DATA’s role as a systems integrator and managed service provider depends on deep client relationships.

Over the years, we've built a strong relationship of trust with the A.S.O. team. Our partnership delivers results because our deep knowledge about technology and trends in the market complements A.S.O.’s expertise in running events and managing the challenging environment of the Tour de France.

Equally important are the close working relationships between the many third parties involved in the event: broadcasters, TV graphics teams, telecommunications teams, logistics teams and more.

The way we work with A.S.O. is typical of our approach to working with any client. There are often third parties involved in their IT ecosystems to manage and include: if there's a problem, it's everybody's problem, and we're all accountable.

At the Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes, this means teams help each other out all the time – whether that’s doing something small, like lending a cable to someone, or helping with a much larger equipment-related issue. We're all in it together to achieve a great outcome for the race and for the fans.

We can’t wait to deliver another year of innovation, partnership and perseverance both within and beyond the world’s largest connected stadium.

Vive le Tour!


Read our Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift case study to learn more about how our data and insights power these events.