Revealed - last year's UCI in Harrogate brought in record-breaking viewing figures
A record-breaking 329 million people in 124 countries tuned in to enjoy the stunning Harrogate landscapes and world-class bike racing during the 2019 UCI Road World Championships last September, it has been revealed.
Global viewing figures increased by 31 per cent, up from 250 million the previous year, and the event was broadcast to 24 more countries than in 2018.
In Europe alone, more than 6,500 hours of Championships coverage was beamed to 40 nations, showcasing Harrogate and the whole of Yorkshire to hundreds of millions of cycling fans in neighbouring countries.
Globally, the total number of broadcast hours increased 38 per cent year on year, with 7,089 hours covered across the globe.
The Yorkshire event was only the fourth time the UCI Road World Championships have been held in Great Britain, and the first time since 1982.
But whilst the record-breaking figures are a welcome benefit from the UCI, our town was divided over the impact of the nine-day cycling event.
Many people across the district said that the disruption caused by the races, including road-closures, was not worth it.
Some businesses also reported a huge decline in footfall across the week - which saw massive downpours - not to mention the state of the Stray after the Fan Zone was held there throughout the event.
Anger was so strong that an impromptu meeting of multiple Harrogate businesses was held to voice their complaints and ask organisers Yorkshire 2019 for compensation over the loss of earnings.
However, UCI bosses said they were not in a position to offer any financial reimbursement and said it had been liaising with businesses prior to the event.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though, as some businesses in town, particularly those in hospitality, did say they were busy with tourists and spectators throughout the nine days.
Speaking about the viewing figures, Chair of Yorkshire 2019 Chris Pilling said: “These are fantastic figures which far exceed our initial broadcast expectations. We pledged we would showcase Yorkshire to 250 million people across the globe, so to reach 329 million in 124 countries is very satisfying. We delivered an inclusive, innovative and inspiring Championships which I have no doubt will attract new visitors to our beautiful county for many years to come.”
Welcome to Yorkshire Commercial Director Peter Dodd said: “These figures are really impressive and it’s fair to say the eyes of the world were on Yorkshire during those nine days of action. The footage showcased some of the very best scenery we have to offer and we’re sure it will have inspired many people across the globe – cyclists and non-cyclists alike – to come and sample our great county for themselves.”