Using data from Nielsen Sports Zwift analyses the positive growth and discusses how it can help grow women’s cycling participation
- >300% - The amount of social posts, reach and engagement for the Top 5 women’s cycling races grew by over 300% in 2022 vs. 2021 as a result of the introduction of the Tour De France Femmes avec Zwift2
- +8.6% - the increase during the tour in Facebook and Instagram followers for the top 35 female riders competing in the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift2
- 73% of women’s cycling fans are interested in participating in sports/fitness activities vs. just 44% for the general population3.
A year on from the inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, Zwift has commissioned a report to measure the impact of the race in 2022, using data from Nielsen Sports. The report delves into data spanning broadcast and written coverage, audience profiles and social media.
The report begins by looking at race coverage. Broadcast coverage has always been the key to unlocking greater visibility for women’s racing, and with long-term backing and broadcast coverage in 190 countries, the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is well positioned to make a huge impact.
Indeed, when looking at the coverage of the race, the report shows the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift was a huge success. Across the 8 stages the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift attracted an average live audience of 2.9m and in total, the race achieved a cumulative live audience of 23.2 million people4. A significant milestone given this is the first edition of the race in 33 years. Of the eight key markets analysed, France drew by far the biggest audience. Germany and Spain rounded out the top three.
Similar successes were noted in written coverage of the race, with Cyclingnews.com telling us the race delivered a record 700k users engaging with women’s content, with a total of 2.3m page views. Similar to what was observed in broadcast coverage, Cyclingnews also noted the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift traffic exceeded that of the men’s Giro d’Italia in 2022.
The hope is that in the years to come, it will be possible to captialise on the increased exposure for women’s cycling and help get more women and girls on bikes. In order for that to happen, it’s important that the race reaches more women. Fortunately, Nielsen Sports data shows there is a proportionally higher female interest (44%) in women’s cycling than general sports fans (38%). With more coverage of women’s sport, we expect the gap to narrow even further and with 73% of women’s sports fans being interested in participating in sports vs. 44% for the general population, future growth in women’s cycling participation looks promising5.
In addition to traditional media channels, the report also explores how the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is helping to grow the reach of the sport on social media. When looking at the social media conversation for the Top 5 women’s races in 2021 and comparing them to 2022, we see that the number of posts, reach and engagement on social media increased over 300% thanks to the addition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift.
It plays a vital role in supporting the growth of women’s cycling, allowing teams and riders to increase their commercial value through their engagement with impassioned audiences. The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift presents a huge commercial opportunity as shown through the growth in the followings of both the teams and riders participating in the race last year. The profiles of the Top 35 riders taking part in the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift grew, on average, by 8.6%, with teams seeing their followings increase by 4.3%5, by far the biggest jump seen in 2022.
Far more detail is contained in Zwift’s long-form report but the above highlights some of the most notable successes of the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. This is just the beginning, and the coming years will prove to be even more important in sustaining the growth of women’s cycling, as noted by
It would be an understatement to say we were thrilled by the response to the inaugural Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. As longtime supporters of women’s cycling, we knew the racing would be exceptional, but it was the millions of fans that made it game-changing. This is just the beginning. Our job now, as industry, fans, sporting media, and riders - is to keep the fires burning bright. We need to work together to ensure this big moment sparks action and investment at all levels of the sport. We’ll continue to use our platform to shine a light on these superstars, while also creating space and content for women cyclists around the world to grow their community and chase their dreams. That’s what Watch the Femmes is all about. When we Watch the Femmes, we pave the way for a bright future for all women's cycling.Kate Veronneau, Director of Women’s Strategy, Zwift
You can read the full report and more about Zwift’s #WatchTheFemmes initiative here - zwift.com/watchthefemmes
1. Source: Nielsen Sports Cycling24. Cumulative audience based on data from 8 markets (USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, and Japan)
3. Source: Nielsen Fan Insights. Based on cumulative interest in women’s sports among the general population In USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, and Japan