Spectacular TV and digital audiences for 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland

The inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships - which brought together 13 UCI World Championships in one successful major event held this year in Glasgow and across Scotland (United Kingdom) from 3 to 13 August - attracted unprecedented television and digital audiences.

The different disciplines benefited greatly from having the various UCI World Championships combined into a single event.

Globally, more than 200 million hours were watched on television over the 11 days of competition, an increase of 75% compared to the average for a typical year when the various UCI World Championships are organised separately (average established on the basis of the editions contested in Europe from 2017 to 2022).

Road cycling events, which accounted for half of this performance, broke audience records in many countries (+22.2% of hours viewed compared to the average for the 2017-2021 UCI Road World Championships). Track cycling events, which account for a third of the hours viewed, registered an increase of 162%. With 24 million hours viewed, mountain bike sees the number of hours viewed double. BMX (Racing and Freestyle), with 15 million hours viewed, took an even more impressive jump, the figure multiplying by 3.8. Two million hours of para-cycling (road and track) were viewed, a figure that represents a major increase on previous years, when the broadcasting of competitions was very limited.

The TV figures for Europe also bear witness to the success of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships: more than 80 million people watched the event across the continent, almost one European in seven. There were 18.2 million viewers in France (source: Glance / Mediamat - médiamétrie), 15.5 million in Italy (source: Auditel) and 11.9 million in the UK (source: BBC).

A few examples illustrate the success of the event on the European market. On France Télévisions, the UCI Cycling World Championships road events achieved record audience figures: the Men Elite road race attracted 1.8 million viewers (18.2% audience share), an all-time record (as comparison, the 2021 event had 1.56 million viewers and an audience share of 13.8%); the Women Elite road race attracted 1 million viewers (13.4% audience share), a record since 2013; the time trials were watched by 0.9 million (Men Elite) and 0.6 million (Women Elite) viewers, a record audience for the former.

In the United Kingdom 963,000 viewers tuned in to watch the downhill (mountain bike) races in the Men Elite and Women Elite categories on the BBC, the host broadcaster, and it was the first time the competition was broadcast on the BBC's main channels. In addition, the Men Elite road race recorded an average of 632,000 viewers (with a peak of 800,000). This represented the highest television audience in the country in recent years for a UCI Road World Championships road race in the category.

In Belgium, the Men Elite and Women Elite road races reached new heights: VRT registered an impressive audience share of 71.4% for the former and 66% for the latter.

In the Netherlands, an average of 886,000 viewers (compared with 338,000 in 2021) watched the Men Elite road race during the 8-hour broadcast on NPO, peaking at 1.7 million, while an average of 1.14 million viewers watched the race on Rai in Italy, peaking at 1.65 million.

In Denmark, TV2 Sport broke its market share record for the Men Elite road race, with 41% over 7 hours and a peak of 474,000 viewers (35% and 156,570 in 2021).

Finally, in Germany, ZDF attracted an average of 940,000 viewers, with a peak of 1.22 million for the Women Elite road race.

These exceptional television audience figures can be explained by the unprecedented scale of this inaugural event and by the growing popularity of the various cycling disciplines, which also benefited from the mix of the various UCI World Championships, combined with full production and extensive coverage on some of Europe's biggest channels.

The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships benefited from very high-quality production and distribution. Eurovision Sport, a division of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), acted as host broadcaster for the event on behalf of the UCI to produce over 250 hours of live action (140 hours in a standard year), and over 20 hours of news and highlights. Eurovision Sport also distributed the event in Europe, in collaboration with the UCI for the United Kingdom, with IMG handling the rest of the world.

The UCI Worlds for cycling were broadcast on 93 television channels in 130 countries on five continents.

The enormous success of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships was also reflected in the impressive figures recorded on the UCI's various digital platforms, where the UCI provided coverage of the event 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 11 consecutive days. The result was an all-time record of 3,500 posts across 23 separate accounts.

This extensive coverage generated 245.2 million impressions* and 7.2 million engagements*. The three most popular posts concerned the following: Dutch rider Mathieu Van der Poel's reaction to his success in the Men Elite road race (1.35 million impressions on Instagram); highlights from the Women Elite BMX Racing competition (5.47 million views on Facebook); and Australian rider Matthew Glaetzer's warm-up before his winning team sprint on the track (2.93 million views on Instagram). In total, there were almost 90 million views of different videos published on the UCI’s various channels.

By the end of the event, the UCI's community of cycling fans on social media had grown to over 5.1 million followers.

UCI President David Lappartient said: “The first edition of the UCI Cycling World Championships was an unprecedented success. The event saw around 8,000 athletes (elite and amateur) from 132 countries take part in the various disciplines on the programme. On the first day of competition, the 192nd UCI Congress in Glasgow brought together representatives from 151 of the 203 National Federations affiliated to the institution. Never before in the history of our International Federation have so many members gathered together.

"The TV figures show that the public massively followed the UCI Cycling World Championships competitions, and that events and disciplines that do not normally benefit from such a high level of TV and media coverage benefited greatly from the increased exposure that will boost their popularity and development at international level."

2023 UCI Cycling World Championships Chair Paul Bush OBE said: "The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships was an unparalleled celebration of cycling, and we are delighted that so many fans from around the world watched the event on television, in addition to the estimated one million spectators who lined the roads and filled venues over the 11 days of competition.

"The comprehensive coverage of the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships across 130 countries showed why Glasgow, and Scotland is the perfect stage for major events and we hope that the event has inspired viewers to come and experience all that Scotland has to offer."

Eurovision Sport Executive Director Glen Killane said: “We would like to congratulate the UCI and the organisers of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships for this inaugural, visionary event which has proven to be a huge success.

“On top of having been host broadcaster for the whole event, we are proud that Eurovision Sport has brought together Europe’s biggest free-to-air broadcasters to secure maximum exposure for this fantastic event. We always aspire to maximize value for stakeholders and have been delighted to work with UCI to help create a must-see event, enabling millions of cycling fans to be part of the action.”

* Impressions correspond to the number of times content is displayed on fans' screens, whether or not they click on it. Engagement, meanwhile, measures the degree to which the audience interacts with the content; interaction includes likes, comments and shares.