sport  and money. 

 One of  the main reasons is that  television became


interested  in  this  cultural  phenomenon  that  until  then  had  been
promoted by the written press and radio. Sport brings high audiences,
and  for  exceptional  events  the  audience  is  exceptional.  Sport
generates the highest market share of all the different programmes on
television.  The  increased  number  of  channels  has  amplified  the
economic dimension of sport-media relations, since it has been at the
origin of the inflation of sports budgets since the 1980s.
The relationship between sport and television is a double one and it
is organized around two markets.
27 The first is between the television
company and the viewer (air time devoted to sport,  audience figures,
cost  of  access  to  these  programmes);  the  second  is  between  the
channel and the sports event organizer (number of events bought, cost
of  rights).  Broadcasting rights and number of  hours transmitted are
important  criteria  to  evaluate  how this  market  has  been  changing.
The  increase  in  rights  can  be  explained  by  the  creation  of  new
channels  basing  their  programming  partially  (Canal+)  or  wholly
(Eurosport,  Equipe TV and others) on sport,  and by a radical change
of  television  regime  that  has  transformed  sport  into  a  veritable
programming industry.
Televised Sport: A Programming Industry
From 1984  onwards  a  ‘competitive’  system has  forced  the  different
channels to rationalize their production costs and to go after market
share (audience ratings,  advertising income).  The birth of  Canal+ in
1984,  of  a fifth and sixth channel  (both commercial)  in 1986 and the
privatization of the largest audience channel TF1 in 1987, the opening
of  thematic  cable  networks  (with  channels  TV  Sport  in  1988  and
Eurosport  in 1989),  the digital  multiplexes (CanalSatellite,  TPS and
ABSat in 1996), marked a new era in sport-TV relations. The general
audience  channels  had  to  become  competitive  and  think  about
audiences in order to justify investment.  This concerned not only the
purchase of rights, but also production costs. Television channels had
thereafter to be managed like businesses with profitability as an issue.
They  are  now  television  programme  industries:  sports  events  have
become consumer products.
Promotional logic takes the form of marketing strategies guided by
two imperatives: firstly, the cost-audience relationship, which is very
favourable  to  television  sports  programmes  compared  to  other
programme  genres,  and  secondly,  the  benefit  in  terms  of  image
brought  by the sport  broadcast.  These both exercise great  attraction
138 THE TOUR AS AN AGENT OF CHANGE IN MEDIA PRODUCTION