Ina Fried

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Mobile Apps, GPS Tracking Let Cycling Fans Keep Tabs on Tour de France

Aiming to make the most of its contract to carry the Tour de France, NBC Sports is taking pains to ensure that even those who can’t sit in front of the TV for 14 hours a day during next month’s race can still be engrossed in the coverage.

The company is offering “All Access” subscription packages for the Web and an array of mobile devices, including iPhones, iPads and Android devices.

Although the company offered some rider-tracking features last year, the GPS tracking is greatly expanded. On the mobile side, Android and iPad support are new, while iPhone coverage is expanded from the $14.95 live video package offered last year.

“It is a world where you can definitely not say we want to do what we did last year,” said coordinating producer Tom Seeley. “That’s not acceptable.”

Last year, the tour was under the auspices of then-separate cable channel Versus, which has since become part of NBC Sports, thanks to the Comcast acquisition. On the TV side, the networks are splitting coverage, with the first few stages on NBC and the remainder on Versus. While there was some tracking of each cyclist, this year there will be more detailed GPS tracking for every rider in the race.

Even those who don’t want to pay will still have access to some Web and mobile features that complement the broadcast coverage, such as overall standings, news articles and highlights. Before the tour starts on July 2, there is also free content on, including breakdowns of each of the race’s 21 stages, details on the top contenders, a variety of historical Top 10 lists and a look back at last year’s event.

On the mobile side, all but the live video and GPS tracking will be free, including video highlights, rider profiles, detailed standings, course maps and more. For Android users, there will be a free and a paid app, while iPhone and iPad users will be able to download an app for free and then upgrade to premium content from within the app. The pricing for all of the mobile apps is the same: $14.99 for those subscribing from now through July 11. Those who subscribe while the event is already in its second week (July 12-16) can do so for $9.99, while those who only want the final week (July 17-25) can do so for $6.99.

The Web-based online package ranges from $4.95 for a daily pass to $29.95 for the full subscription.

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