NBC

Technology Allows NBC To Add New Elements To Tour De France

Jul 5, 2019, 5:14 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:04 pm
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Phil Liggett remembers the early days of Tour de France coverage in the United States, which would involve him traveling to Paris at the end of a stage, recording voiceovers all night and then rejoining the circuit for the next stage.

Those days, though, are ancient history. The Tour has been aired live in the U.S. since 2001 with Liggett providing play-by-play. The coverage has also evolved to include pre-race and nightly highlight shows.

The NBC Sports Group will air more than 350 hours of coverage across NBC, NBCSN and the NBC Sports Gold online streaming package. Despite the challenges of live coverage, Liggett said it is a lot easier compared to the weekend highlight shows that used to be the only way to view it.

“There is nothing that beats doing it live,” said Liggett, who will be covering his 47th Tour when it begins Saturday. “Sitting in the commentary box is like being in a 727. You can’t wait to take off and see where things land at the end of a stage.”

As technology has evolved, broadcasters have found it easier to add new elements. This year’s Tour will include cameras on the bike of up to eight riders that can transmit live. They have been tested the past four years, but would only show footage at the completion of a stage.

Cameras can be mounted under the rider’s saddle and on the front under the handlebar. The cameras could provide additional insight into late-race moves or crashes.

Steve Porino will also have a camera focused on him as he reports during each stage while traveling aboard a motorcycle on the course.

Commentator Christian Vande Velde will ride several key stages in advance, wearing special raptor sunglasses to preview critical course points. The sunglasses will also show Vande Velde’s speed, how much energy he is using and the rate of pedaling. The sunglasses utilize the same technology U.S. fighter pilots have in the visors of their helmets for telemetry.

NBC will also use a virtual graphics Telestrator, which will produce augmented reality graphics that will allow commentators to move around and analyze cyclists. Depending on its use, it is the type of technology that could be extended to coverage of other sports.

Joel Felicio, who is the coordinating producer for NBC, said planning for the Tour begins in October. Most of the video that Felicio uses comes from France TV Sport, which provides the main feed, but his challenge each year is figuring out how to introduce new elements to the broadcast.

Felicio also has a challenge that few others have, which is producing live broadcasts from 21 different locations.

“There’s trying to figure out commercials, when to go to commentary and using different elements but not missing the key move. There’s also trying to keep everyone interested for six hours,” he said.

This will be the first Tour since 1985 that Liggett has not done with Paul Sherwen by his side. Sherwen died Dec. 2 at age 62 due to heart failure. Bob Roll moves into the commentary box along with Jens Voigt, who competed in the Tour from 1998 through 2014

Chris Horner, who competed in the Tour seven times, will also debut as an analyst. Horner is the most recent American Grand Tour champion after capturing the Tour of Spain in 2013.

“I think this is the most open race in years,” Liggett said. “There are a lot of young riders that have the potential of this being one of the best Tours in recent memory.”

___

This story has been corrected to clarify that NBC Sports Group is airing more than 350 hours of coverage instead of 250.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

NBC

...
NBC

America’s Got Talent returns for Season 17

The 17th season of “America’s Got Talent” returns with a new set of aspiring performers looking to compete for the ultimate $1 million prize.
1 month ago
Prosecutors said Mustafa Qadiri, 38, of Irvine used money from the Paycheck Protection Program to b...
Ken Dilanian and Laura Strickler NBC News

‘Biggest fraud in a generation’: The looting of the COVID-19 relief plan known as PPP

Many who participated in what prosecutors are calling the largest fraud in American history—the theft of hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money intended to help those harmed by the pandemic — couldn’t resist purchasing luxury automobiles. Also mansions, private jet flights, and swanky vacations.
3 months ago
...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

2008, 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing see many differences

KSL's Alex Cabrero was one of the few NBC affiliate reporters who traveled to China for the 2022 Winter Olympics. He was also there for KSL, reporting on the 2008 Summer Olympics, and says the lasting legacy of 2022 will be very different.
4 months ago
(NBC)...
NBC

‘The Endgame’ on KSL TV

NBC's new series "The Endgame" is coming to KSL TV.
5 months ago
Nathan Chen of Team United States reacts during the Men Single Skating Short Program on day four of...
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

Former teachers, coaches react to Nathan Chen’s Olympic short program

Nathan Chen's incredible short program at the 2022 Winter Olympics Monday night brought a lot of excitement among those who know him and worked with him closely in Utah.
5 months ago
Brad Wilson (left) is competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics for the U.S. Freestyle Moguls Team. His...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Park City brothers experience 2022 Winter Olympics together

Family and friends aren't allowed in Beijing to cheer on their loved ones competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics. For some athletes, it can be a lonely experience. KSL's Alex Cabrero spoke to two Team USA skiers from Park City who found a way around that.
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Technology Allows NBC To Add New Elements To Tour De France