Clashing with the World Cup: Wimbledon and the Tour de France take different approaches
The World Cup comes around just once every four years, but when it does it creates headaches for the yearly events held at the same time as the world’s biggest football tournament.
In the spotlight at the same time are Wimbledon and the Tour de France. Both are massive sporting events, but both have taken different approaches to dealing with the wall-to-wall football coverage.
Le Tour started with a bang at the weekend. Some of the big favourites for the overall win come the end of the three-week race were held up in a crash at the end of the first stage and drama hasn’t been far away from any of the stages so far. And yet, this year’s Tour started a week later than usual in the acceptance that the World Cup’s opening stages would be in competition with the cycling.
Usually the Tour de France starts as close to the 1st of July as possible. This year’s race started on the 7th – with the opening stage starting in a strangely early time slot (no time for a lie in, said Le Le Tour’s official account) – and in 2014, it also started a week later than usual.
— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 6, 2018
From now until the end of the World Cup, on Sunday afternoon UK time, the football games will only kick off in the evening. Until last weekend, there were multiple games throughout the day, when football would’ve taken viewers away from cycling. Moving it on a week means no one has to choose. For fans in cycling’s heartlands of France and Belgium today is a big day – a full day of cycling which will be completed in good time for the World Cup semi-final between the two later in the evening.
But Wimbledon has taken a different route.
Instead of changing anything about its scheduling, the Championships has just gone on as normal – the thought process clearly something along the lines of ‘why should Wimbledon change to suit the football, it’s a massive sporting event in its own right’.
The problem is, with the final of both the World Cup and Wimbledon’s men’s singles taking place on the same day – and in all likelihood overlapping to some degree (barring a quick straight sets victory in the tennis) – it’s likely we’ll see fans of both put in the awkward position of choosing. And for an English audience in particular that fight could see a clear winner – certainly if England beat .
So what’s the answer? Is it genuinely to swallow your pride and treat the World Cup as a Goliath you have no chance of competing with, and cut your cloth accordingly? Or is it to take the Wimbledon route and ensure that you never allow your event to become second to anything, safe in the knowledge that you’ll very definitely be number one next year?
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