Eurosport and ITV have announced long term deals to cover cycling’s La Vuelta a Espana, the sport’s third and final Grand Tour of the calendar year, until the end of the decade.
The agreement, which was renewed through the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) following a tender process, incorporates all 54 territories covered by Eurosport in Europe and features exclusive live rights to the event in key markets until at least 2020, including the UK, as well as France, Germany, Italy and Poland.
Reinforcing Eurosport’s status as the ‘Home of Cycling’, the channel has unrivalled coverage of over 40 events every season, including the three Grand Tours and the leading one day and multi-day stage races, delivering fans a total of 1,800 hours of TV coverage on Eurosport and Eurosport 2.
In addition, the EBU has also reached a deal that will allow ITV to continue screening free-to-air highlights of the race, also through to 2020, with coverage due to air nightly during the three-week tour on ITV4, ensuring cycling fans will be able to follow the exploits of champions competing in one of the year’s major cycling events.
Highlights of Spain’s greatest cycling race have featured every year on ITV4 since 2011, with the channel airing live coverage of selected stages in its first year before deciding to focus on daily round-up shows from 2012 onwards.
ITV’s Vuelta coverage compliments the channel’s wide portfolio of road cycling throughout the year, which also includes the exclusive free-to-air coverage of the Tour de France, with its current deal running to 2019, as well as the Tour of Britain, Women’s Tour and the Tour Series.
Jean-Thierry Augustin, CEO, Eurosport Group commented: “As we enter the twentieth year in our broadcast of the Vuelta a España, I am delighted to extend our long-term partnership with this great property until 2020.
“Vuelta a España and cycling is in our DNA and, in 2014, 100 million different European viewers enjoyed the sport on our TV channels.
“We are pleased to support and contribute to the growth of this premium property across Europe and look forward to bringing all the action and drama to the fans.”
In a statement, EBU’s director of sports and business Stefan Kurten added: “The EBU is delighted to prolong its long-standing partnership with Unipublic and to provide extensive coverage of La Vuelta, through its Members and Eurosport, in countries throughout Europe.
“The public’s growing enthusiasm for cycling is further support for the EBU’s mission to offer major sports events together with a variety of Olympic sports to the broadest possible audience.”
This year’s race begins in Marbella on August 22nd and finishes in the Spanish capital of Madrid on September 13th.