A very big news conference indeed


I’ve been in Paris today at the route launch for the 2007 Tour de France at Le Palais des Congres.

This is where the full route of the world’s largest annual sporting event is announced, and I was there as next year the race starts in London, and finishes in Canterbury. I’m working on communications around the race when it passes through Medway.

The announcement of the route is a big deal for the French national and cycling media. The launch was attended by around 3,000 people, mostly journalists, and more than 50 TV crews from around the world.

Paris Tour de France launch

Paris Tour de France launch

The sheer scale of the news conference was much larger than anything I’ve seen before. The quality of the on-stage production was extremely high, with multiple projection sources including stills, animations, flythroughs and live video.

One particularly chaotic moment was at the end of the formal part of the conference when a fair proportion of the media in the audience rushed towards the stage for the open question and answer part of the session. The quality of the overall presentation fell a bit here as a stagehand produced a small wooden easel on which to put a route map for a photo opportunity.

The arrival of the tour next year will be a real spectacle, with more than 200 riders and a supporting entourage of around 3,000 people. It represents a great communications challenge as we look to maximise the benefits from such a world-class sporting event coming to the south east of England.