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Tour de France 2017 © ASO/Pauline BALLET
Tour de France 2017 © ASO/Pauline BALLET

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Delivering major sporting events to screens around the world

The Tour de France is the third most-watched sports event in the world. As with all major sports events, broadcasters need to deliver to their audiences rapidly, often from difficult-to-reach environments and for very specific time periods. 

Eutelsat’s Sales and Reservation Centre and Occasional Use manager, Christelle Preioni, explains how the team helps deliver tailored coverage of this and many other events, whether sports, cultural, or news, around the world.

What is Eutelsat’s involvement in the Tour de France?

Eutelsat’s satellites enable media coverage of the world’s most famous cycle race to be broadcast, from the thousands of journalists on-site to audiences around the world. So far, for this year’s race, almost 2000 hours have been booked on three Eutelsat satellites – EUTELSAT 10A, EUTELSAT 16A and EUTELSAT 12 West B. This is more than double the number of hours compared with previous years.

For the first time ever there will be full broadcasting of all 21 stages, covering more than 3500km, with 105 hours of live coverage produced. Eutelsat’s satellites will accompany the exceptional means put in place by the media throughout the event, enabling the 3.5 billion people who watch the Tour de France annually to follow the most popular sports event in the world after the Olympic Games and the World Cup.

Two thousand journalists, representing 600 different media outlets, are working on the Tour de France, including 100 TV channels broadcasting to 190 countries, 300 newspapers and press agencies, 90 photo agencies and 70 radio stations.

How do broadcasters reserve satellite capacity?

Eutelsat’s Sales and Reservation Centre coordinates the sale of satellite capacity to news agencies, broadcasters, service providers and Satellite News Gatherers(SNG), from 15 minutes to several weeks, for Standard Definition, High Definition and soon Ultra HD (UHD) broadcasts.

Based in Paris, our multi-cultural, multi-lingual team speak six languages – English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. They are always available, extremely reactive and pro-active, and customer-centric, tailoring seamless solutions exactly to a client’s needs. We also have an online booking tool for selected clients to check availability and make reservations in a couple of clicks.

As requirements are evolving, we are increasingly providing complex services.

Clients rely on us because of the flexibility of our solutions: cost-effective access to satellite networks, services, and global coverage. We work with them to advise and define delivery solutions all over the world.

Our OU solutions can also include ground services via our global network of teleports and PoPs, to facilitate access for clients. 

Why do clients prefer satellite delivery?

Satellite capacity is available anywhere, with no need for a terrestrial connection. It’s straight-forward to set up and instantly accessible. Clients book their capacity by phone or online. When it’s time to start broadcasting, the SNG technician calls our Control Centre to authorise the transmission and adjust any parameters to optimise the signal. This direct access to our operations centre minimises any potential delays and ensures a consistently high quality of service.

Quality is extremely important, particularly for sport and cultural events. The end-experience for the viewer depends on the quality of the signal, whether it’s on a smartphone or a cinema screen. Satellite provides a consistent experience for all audiences across the coverage. There are no second chances when broadcasting the final sprint up the Champs Elysées on 23 July 23 – the experience has to be perfect for everyone, wherever they are!

So what are the next big events that clients are reserving capacity?

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea is very exciting for us. Our new satellite for Asia-Pacific, EUTELSAT 172B, will be ready for this event and has flexible features well adapted for Olympic events.

This multi-beam satellite provides comprehensive coverage from Asia to America. It has a powerful strength beam over South Korea and North East Asia, enabling content to be uplinked direct from the mountainous Olympic Sites to the International Broadcast Centre, the home of broadcast operations for the Games. From there it can be broadcast direct to America via EUTELSAT 172B and delivered worldwide with our cross-satellite connectivity and ground infrastructures.

Contact the team to find out more! Tel. +33 1 53 98 47 07 or email

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