How to Goose Interest in the Tour de France

Blame it on the litany of doping scandals, or the lack of stars. Either way, interest in the Tour de France is sagging. The Sports Brothers offer some humorous marketing ideas they think might revive interest in the annual cycling classic.

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ALEX COHEN, host:

This is DAY TO DAY from NPR News. I'm Alex Cohen.

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

I'm Alex Chadwick.

Alex, have you seen the latest news across just recently about the Tour de France bicycle race?

COHEN: No.

CHADWICK: An entire team has withdrawn because their star has just been found guilty of blood doping. We're talking about the greatest event in competitive cycling.

Mr. RANDY SKLAR (Co-host, Cheap Seats, ESPN): The Tour de France will come…

Mr. JASON SKLAR (Co-host, Cheap Seats, ESPN): And go.

Mr. R. SKLAR: …this year with the same fanfare as a…

Mr. J. SKLAR: Little River Band reunion tour?

Mr. R. SKLAR: Yes.

CHADWICK: Yeah. And here with some thoughts about maybe how to rescue the Tour de France, the Sports Brothers: Randy and Jason Sklar.

Mr. J. SKLAR: There's no doubt that the world of cycling is, for a lack of better phrase, on a down cycle.

Mr. R. SKLAR: Lance Armstrong's exit left a power vacuum.

Mr. J. SKLAR: Then Floyd Landis was stripped of his title when he was found with more testosterone coursing through his veins than…

Mr. R. SKLAR: Tim Allen at a Ted Nugent concert?

Mr. J. SKLAR: Yes. The stake was firmly placed between the spokes.

Mr. R. SKLAR: The sport had fallen completely off track.

Unidentified Woman: Come on.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. R. SKLAR: It's like that scene in the classic cycling movie, "Breaking Away." The main character Dave Stoller rides alongside his idols for the first time, the Italian team, only to find that they cheat worse than…

Mr. J. SKLAR: Charlie Sheen at the Bunny Ranch?

Mr. R. SKLAR: Yes. In one afternoon, Dave's image of his heroes is shattered.

Mr. J. SKLAR: But in "Breaking Away, Stoller reaches deep down and finds within him a more authentic love of cycling. He rides injured, feet taped to the cycle for the final and helps a group of locals defeat the well-trained frat boys.

Mr. R. SKLAR: Unfortunately, in 2007, no one is taping their feet on a bike to prove the sport wrong. Cycling is beginning to hear the worst type of reaction possible from the world at large.

Mr. J. SKLAR: The deep side of apathy?

Mr. R. SKLAR: Bingo.

Mr. J. SKLAR: But ever the optimist and champions of that which has fallen by the wayside, we believe that the Tour de France can be saved.

Mr. R. SKLAR: It just needs some minor adjustments. Here's what we would do. Number one…

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. R. SKLAR: Move it from France.

Mr. J. SKLAR: It's dangerous.

Mr. R. SKLAR: Remember the riots from a few years ago? They were so pervasive that Peugeot was thinking of coming out with a car that lights itself on fire.

Mr. J. SKLAR: How many fans would watch the Tour de Jersey? Cyclists would have to ride to the toughest parts of Newark at 3:00 AM.

Mr. R. SKLAR: Not a lot of elevation gain, but strategy would definitely play a part.

Mr. J. SKLAR: Number two.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. R. SKLAR: Bringing back the bicycle glove as a viable fashion statement. Only Andrew Dice Clay has carried the torch on this one.

Mr. J. SKLAR: The second Heidi Klum barrels down the runway during fashion week in a flowing evening gown and fingerless black-padded gloves it's only a matter of time before Lindsay Lohan is wearing them while passed out in the passenger seat of her leased Lexus on the pages of Us Weekly.

Mr. R. SKLAR: Who cares if it's negative publicity? It's pop culture buzz, and that's what this sport needs right now. Number three.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. J. SKLAR: Create a mascot. Something to rope kids into the mix.

Mr. R. SKLAR: We've come up with two that could turn the negatives and the positives.

Mr. J. SKLAR: Dopey, the giant hypodermic needle.

Mr. R. SKLAR: Let Dopey inject you with his fun spirit and watch as your interest peaks…

Mr. J. SKLAR: Then crashes…

Mr. R. SKLAR: …and then peaks again the second you come in contact with him.

Mr. J. SKLAR: Testy, the giant bold testosterone. He's really pumped up about the Tour de France.

Mr. R. SKLAR: All the time.

Mr. J. SKLAR: He's a great guy to have on your side, but don't make him angry. He'll make you see how much fun loving something in an irrational way can be.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. R. SKLAR: Finally, come up with a catchy slogan to lure the old cycling faithful back to the sport.

Mr. J. SKLAR: Something like, the Tour de France, we're like the NBA…

Mr. R. SKLAR: Without all the referee cheating.

Mr. J. SKLAR: Or the Tour de France: We aught to be at least as popular as hockey. Or the Tour de France: Next year, we're inviting Beckham.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. J. SKLAR: For DAY TO DAY, I'm Jason Sklar.

Mr. R. SKLAR: I'm Randy Sklar.

Mr. J. SKLAR: And we're the Sports Brothers.

Mr. R. SKLAR: And we're the Sports Brothers.

(Soundbite of music)

COHEN: Sports Brothers Randy and Jason Sklar are regulars on ESPN's SportsCenter, and they'll be featured as bickering agent brothers in an episode of HBO's "Entourage," airing next month.

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