Rupert Murdoch titles missed a trick with lack of Bradley Wiggins coverage


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The Independent Online

Wiggomania belatedly took hold at News Corp. After minimal interest in Britain's most successful ever cyclist during the early stages of the Tour de France, Rupert Murdoch's media empire seemed slow to realise that Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins was one of them.

Ramping up coverage last week, The Times cleared the decks on Friday with Wiggins dominating the front and back pages. The Sun thought up a typical gimmick, offering readers a cut-out version of the cyclist's mod sideburns, while Sky News tried to move through the gears and catch up with rival TV coverage of a sportsman who carries the company's branding.

Like the vain pursuit of Wiggins by Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali, it was all too little too late. The Guardian had secured a coup by signing up the cyclist as a columnist weeks before the race. And despite BSkyB's vast spending on sports coverage, the Tour de France rights were cannily snapped up by ITV4 and Eurosport. This despite former BSkyB chairman James Murdoch's enthusiastic backing of cycling to the point of sponsoring not just Team Sky but also Boris Johnson's Sky Ride scheme.

What a missed opportunity for News Corp! It's not as if it couldn't do with some good publicity.