Welcome to #SportOnSocial Giro d’Italia 2022 – the first of a series of short reports looking specifically at the cycling Grand Tours.

This #SportOnSocial report focuses on the digital performance of Giro d’Italia.

The Tour had a lot of firsts, from the first Black African rider, Biniam Girmay, to win a Grand Tour stage to the first Australian, Jai Hindley, to claim overall victory.

However, the Tour did not reach the digital performance of last year’s race. I believe there are a number of reasons for this.

  1. A lack of big names competing for the Pink Jersey: Colombian fan favourite Egan Bernal did not defend his title and cycling superstars such as Slovakian Peter Sagan did not compete.
  2. A low-profile winner: Jai Hindley’s social media footprint of 38k+ is small compared to that of Egan Bernal’s 1.8m+ followers; even the Australian’s Wikipedia is light on content and despite a great win, he lacks the media profile to attract significant audiences.
  3. A largely European field of competitors: 75%+ of starting riders and the majority of cycling teams were from European countries. This made it harder to generate audience reach and relevance in other countries, especially North America and Asia many riders and teams need higher profiles and/or need to be from these areas.
  4. Social media algorithm changes: Outside of the event itself, market forces such as algorithm changes will have impacted the digital reach and engagement levels of Giro d’Italia and its competing teams – as demonstrated by the 31% decrease in engagement despite producing double the amount of content on Giro Italia’s social media channels.

Events need athletes with a large online media profile to be relevant and to generate reach in global markets. Without them, they will struggle to grow.

Chris Argyle-Robinson – Strategy Director, Redtorch

There are, nonetheless, a number of positives to be taken from the 2022 Tour:

  • it has maintained a strong foothold in Europe
  • it has seen positive growth in Africa and Central America
  • it still has a huge South American audience that can be reached in 2023

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