Technology as a catalyst for change in the Tour de France
Before I wrote this blog, I looked up the word ‘catalyst’ again to remind myself of what it really means. The Oxford English Dictionary tells us the term comes from chemistry: it’s a substance added to a chemical process to make previously unreactive forces work together better or faster. It’s a third ingredient, if you like, that sets in motion a dramatic and powerful transformation. And when I read that, I was struck again with a tremendous sense of pride: that’s exactly what Dimension Data did with our work on the 2015 Tour de France.
Amaury Sports Organisation (A.S.O.) wanted change. In fact, they needed a dramatic and revolutionary transformation in the way people from all over the world viewed and experienced the Tour de France. Why? Because the race caters for a new tech-savvy multichannel sports audience that simply isn’t satisfied anymore with engaging only through television. A.S.O.’s ‘customers’ demanded more. And the more comprehensive, accessible, and compelling the information is that A.S.O. provides to an information-hungry audience, the more relevant and successful it is as a business.
Of course, the A.S.O. was no stranger to change. It’s journey of digital transformation went from launching the Tour de France in 1903 as a vehicle for selling L’Auto newspapers, to entering online and social media today in order to deliver a more user-relevant, data-driven ‘product’. And now, the Tour de France is considered the greatest cycling event in the world. It has 12 million spectators along the route and – in addition to reaching a massive 3.5 billion television viewers from 190 countries – it’s followed by 4.2 million social media fans.
The catalyst that Dimension Data brought to the table to speed up that change was technology. In 2015, we took the Tour de France into the digital era through new ways of analysing and presenting rider data, as well as by opening up new engagement channels for the delivery of that information, such as social and digital media. Dimension Data played a central role in enriching the Tour de France experience by building a real-time data analytics solution and a beta live-tracking site. In a world first for the Tour de France, live speed data of the 198 individual riders was tracked on the beta live-tracking site, broadcast on television, and shared as live social content.
And now we’re here to tell that amazing story. Watch this amazing case study video
or read this detailed case study PDF to get the full account of how we did it, as well as the results the 2015 Tour de France enjoyed.
And speaking of revolutionary experiences, listen to the soundscape below which we created to stir up your imagination about how technology can change not only cycling, but all sports. (Tip: use your earphones for the full stereo effect … and enjoy!)