Tour de France in Belgium: a successful image
The figures for the economic impact of the Tour de France's departure in Belgium are not yet known, but in terms of image, it is already a huge success.
According to police estimates, 500,000 people were out along the route during the Grand Départ of the Tour de France on Saturday, under wonderful sunshine. On top of this figure, we can add the number of viewers watching the Tour on their screens all around the world. It is in fact the "third largest sporting event in the world", as the Mayor of Brussels likes to point out.
The final bill is staggering: €11 million, including €5 million in basic fee paid to the parent company of the Tour de France; €4.3 million for entertainment, to which must be added the security costs, the renovation of the roads, the use of STIB services for free, etc. However, the benefits are expected to be at least four times as large. An invaluable promotional campaign for Brussels.
And when we talk about 'image', it's more that just a hollow soundbite. The magnificent aerial views of the Grand Place, monuments, and other treasures of our heritage were witnessed by millions of viewers in 190 countries. Images that also reflect a sporty and festive atmosphere filled with emotion, thanks to the presence of Eddy Merckx on the Grand Place, which further enhances the positive impact.
As Alain Courtois, former Alderman for Sport of the City of Brussels, and the man behind this Grand Départ, put it: "Brussels has proved that it still knows how to organise a great event".