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OLN Gets Big Boost From Tour De France

July 30, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Outdoor Life Network received some of the highest ratings in its nine-year history during its three-week coverage of Lance Armstrong’s record-tying fifth straight Tour de France victory.

Saturday’s coverage from 9-11:30 a.m. EDT of the next-to-last stage of the Tour _ a time trial in which Armstrong beat runner-up Jan Ullrich by 11 seconds _ garnered a 1.5 rating, equal to about 806,000 homes, an all-time high for the network.

OLN, a small cable channel available in over 52 million homes, received an average rating of 0.5 for its live daily coverage of the race from 9-11:30 a.m., equal to approximately 260,000 homes. That’s up from last year’s average rating of .26, equal to about 109,000 homes.

The network was available in only 42.5 million homes during last year’s coverage of the Tour de France.

Its primetime coverage, which was shown on tape delay from 8:30-11 p.m., received an average rating of 0.58, equal to about 301,000 homes. That’s up from last year’s average rating of 0.34, which equaled about 145,000 homes.

The network featured about 12 1/2 hours of coverage each race day.

The rating is the percentage of all households where OLN is available.

``Outdoor Life Network’s coverage of the Tour de France shows that niche networks can attract large audiences for major events,″ said Roger Williams, OLN’s president and chief executive.

CBS televised an hour of the Tour every Sunday during the three-week race. The average overnight rating for the network’s three hours of coverage was 2.0, up slightly from last year’s 1.9.

In CBS’ case, overnight ratings measure the 55 largest TV markets in the United States, covering nearly 70 percent of the country. Each overnight rating point represents about 735,000 TV homes.

Armstrong beat Ullrich by 61 seconds in the 23-day, 2,125-mile race, to join Miguel Indurain as the only two men to ever win cycling’s most prestigious event five consecutive times.

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