Bingen Zupiria, the Basque Government’s Culture and Language Policy Minister, revealed significant financial returns from the Tour de France’s Grand Départ in the Basque Country on 1, 2, and 3 July 2023. He announced that the event injected an impressive 103.9 million euros into the economy, which is more than eight times the 12.2 million euros invested by Basque institutions in organising it.
The figures come from a report conducted by Ikertalde for the organising committee, presented in Bilbao. Alongside Zupiria was the mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto, and other institutional representatives.
The report details that out of the total economic impact, 16.8 million euros came from direct organisational expenses through 113 service contracts, with Basque companies handling 92% of these. It also highlights an indirect impact of close to 54 million euros from accommodation, shopping, transport, and activities by attendees and local spectators. Furthermore, the contribution to the Basque Autonomous Community’s GDP stands at 58.2 million euros, with a recovery of 19.5 million euros through taxes by the regional treasuries.
Not only did the Grand Départ leave a financial imprint, but it also enjoyed social endorsement. The Basque populace overwhelmingly supported hosting the event, with 91% in favour, 80% expressing pride in having the race pass through their roads, and 85% advocating for more such events in the future.
Zupiria noted that both Bizkaia, with Bilbao and Athletic, and Gipuzkoa, with Donostia and Real Sociedad, are actively vying to host the 2030 World Cup, set to take place in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. He confirmed the Basque Government’s backing for both bids.
The Grand Départ attracted nearly a million live spectators over the three stages, with roughly 30% travelling from outside the Basque region. Events surrounding the Grand Départ also drew large crowds, with 45,000 gathering for the official team presentation on 29 June and 106,000 visiting the fan park, setting a new attendance record for the Tour.
Television viewership for the opening stages also set records, with 4.1 million people tuning in across nearly 200 channels. The official page drew 300,000 unique visitors, and the estimated economic equivalent from this viewership and social media impact reached a staggering 115.2 million euros.
Adam Yates, Victor Lafay and Jasper Philipsen won the 3 stages that took part in the Basque Country this year.