Tour of California owner AEG, an American entertainment firm based in Los Angeles, California, has announced a partnership with the Amaury Sport Organisation, the French owner of Le Tour de France, to expand and enhance the Tour of Californiaâ€™s media coverage, bringing some changes forÂ American television viewers this year, while expanding the Tour of California’s presence worldwide.
In the deal, ASO will handle all television production and distribution services at the Tour of California, using their Tour de France production crew. This footage will then be distributed to any media outlets that choose to air it, with deals already in place for Versus to air it in America, andÂ Eurosport across the pond.
This wonâ€™t affect the amount of programming American viewers will see, but there will be some visible changes for the 2010 edition. First, all footage will be shot and broadcast in HD, which means that Versus should be able to air full HD coverage. The coverage and shots you see will also have more of a â€œTour de France feelâ€, as Jean-Maurice Ooghe, director of the Tour de Franceâ€™s television coverage, will take over at the Tour of California with his production crew. Versus will still use the same commentators, but the actual race shots you see will come from the ASOâ€™s television team.
Most of the significance of the deal lies in the international distribution of Tour of California coverage, which will surely boost the raceâ€™s international profile. The ASO will â€œdevelop, produce and distribute a portfolio of programming formats, including a daily highlights and recap package,â€ according to a press release from AEG. These â€œpackagesâ€ can then be picked up by news programs, sports programs like ESPNâ€™s SportsCenter, or other cable channels to be aired across the country and around the world.
In 2009, the race was distributed to more than 200 countries and territories and was seen live in more than 90 countries worldwide. Details on the extent of this year’s international expansion are still in the works, but there will most likely be an increase in digital content available to the public, including video recaps and features online.