Selling the Yellow Jersey

The Tour de France in the Global Era

Eric Reed

Selling the Yellow Jersey
Bookmark and Share

Eric Reed

280 pages | 19 halftones, 1 map, 3 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2015
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226206530 Will Publish January 2015
E-book $36.00 ISBN: 9780226206677 Will Publish January 2015
Yellow Livestrong wristbands were taken off across America early last year when Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he had doped during the seven Tour de France races he won.  But the foreign cycling world, which always viewed Armstrong with suspicion, had already moved on. The bellwether events of the year were Chris Froome’s victory in the Tour and the ousting of Pat McQuaid as director of the Union Cycliste Internationale. Even without Armstrong, the Tour will roll on— its gigantic entourage includes more than 200 racers, 450 journalists, 260 cameramen, 2,400 support vehicles carrying 4,500 people, and a seven-mile-long publicity caravan. It remains one of the most-watched annual sporting events on television and a global commercial juggernaut.

In Selling the Yellow Jersey, Eric Reed examines the Tour’s development in France as well as the event’s global athletic, cultural, and commercial influences. The race is the crown jewel of French cycling, and at first the newspapers that owned the Tour were loath to open up their monopoly on coverage to state-owned television. However, the opportunity for huge payoffs prevailed, and France tapped into global networks of spectatorship, media, business, athletes, and exchanges of expertise and personnel. In the process, the Tour helped endow world cycling with a particularly French character, culture, and structure, while providing proof that globalization was not merely a form of Americanization, imposed on a victimized world. Selling the Yellow Jersey explores the behind-the-scenes growth of the Tour, while simultaneously chronicling France’s role as a dynamic force in the global arena.
Christopher Thompson, author of The Tour de France: A Cultural History
“In this original and compelling examination of the Tour de France’s commercial, economic, and cultural history, Reed inserts the world’s greatest bicycle race into the broader narrative of globalization even as he illustrates  the important role local and national context plays in shaping the Tour’s many meanings. Selling the Yellow Jersey demonstrates that sport does not simply reflect and exploit major trends in business strategies, leisure, and consumption patterns, celebrity and mass culture, and media innovation; it also shapes those trends in significant ways. In the process, Reed deepens our understanding of how the Tour’s internationalization has both challenged and reinforced longstanding notions of a distinctive ‘Frenchness.’”
Phillip Dehne | St. Joseph’s College
Selling the Yellow Jersey is a provocative case study describing how twentieth-century globalization trends inherent in modern media, marketing, and consumerism interact with and transform the peculiarities of national and regional identities.  Reed explains how by developing into a quintessential and yet contrived cornerstone of la France profonde, the Tour became a significant aspect of a developing national identity for the French as they struggled to adapt to post-war modernity and global commercial competition.  At the same time, the Tour de France gave the world of international cycling, including its celebrity culture and its rules and ethics, the peculiarly French twist that it maintains through today.  By focusing intently on the development of the Tour as a commercial venture, Selling the Yellow Jersey illuminates the perhaps unromantic yet undeniable ways that businessmen built modern sports and other mass entertainment spectacles in search of new ways to boost their profits, whether that meant selling more newspapers or directing more consumers' eyes to paid advertisements.”
Judith Grant Long | Harvard University
“In Selling the Yellow Jersey Reed deftly intertwines the stories and spectacles of the Tour de France alongside a fascinating reading of the shifting culture and politics that have shaped France over the past century.  It is essential reading for sports fans, history buffs, and Francophiles alike."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style |

Keep Informed

JOURNALs