Pre-owned watch specialist Watchfinder is sponsoring this year’s ITV4 coverage of the Tour de France, which starts this weekend.
The deal will see every segment of the live shows and highlight coverage bookended with video advertising from Watchfinder.
This type of sponsorship has become particularly popular in an era when many people record massive sporting events like the Tour de France and fast-forward through the main adverts, seeing only the intro and outro promotions.
The Tour de France is expected to be watched by millions of people in the UK thanks to its airing on the free-to-view ITV4 channel and the success of British riders starting with the now retired Sir Bradley Wiggins, and the current stars Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish.
“We hope this is the start of a long association between Watchfinder and a programme that not only brings one of the world’s most popular sporting events into millions of homes but also inspires people to get out on their bike and get fit,” said Matt Bowling, director and co-founder at Watchfinder.
Asked by WatchPro whether middle-aged men in lycra (mamils) are a particular target market for Watchfinder, Mr Bowling suggested that the typical Tour Dr France fan’s age, passions and disposable income make them likely to also appreciate a perfectly serviced and cleaned fine mechanical timepiece as well.
The growth in the popularity of competitive cycling has also taken place at the same time as the rise in sales of pre-owned watches.
Before the 2004 Olympics – when Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy won their first gold medals – cycling was considered by many to be a marginal sport. Since then, the number of people interested in cycling has grown enormously.
The popularity of pre-owned watches has also grown significantly through the last decade. Seen by many people as a viable alternative to buying new, the UK market is estimated by Watchfinder to generate more than £1.5bn in sales every year and shows no signs of slowing.