The 24 Hours of Le Mans performed in line with 2011 over the week, overnight television ratings show as MotoGP and IndyCar Series ratings dropped significantly here in the UK.
The endurance event, screened on British Eurosport and British Eurosport 2, averaged a solid 49,000 viewers, marginally up on the 47,000 average it had in 2011. The peak for 2011 was higher though than this year, with a peak of 162,000 at the end of the race. Unsurprisingly, the race had a higher viewership than in the opening few hours, tailing off in the night as you would expect, before increasing on Sunday morning, but to a lower number than in 2011, due to the race all but decided by that point this year.
24 Hours of Le Mans – 2011 vs 2012
13:45 to 19:30 – 46,000 vs 77,000
19:30 to 02:00 – 45,000 vs 39,000
02:00 to 09:00 – 16,000 vs 16,000
09:00 to 14:15 – 97,000 vs 76,000
As the breakdown shows, last year’s race was benefited by the battle between Audi and Peugeot for the victory which went down to the final hour, whereas this year it was pretty clear late on Saturday night after Anthony Davidson’s crash that it would be an Audi whitewash (even if they nearly did mess it up nearly on Sunday morning!).
Despite being up against the 24 Hours of Le Mans both years, the MotoGP from Silverstone on BBC Two found it’s ratings slashed year-on-year. Airing from 12:30 to 14:30 in both 2011 and 2012, the race averaged 1.76 million, with a 15.3 percent share for the programme. That compares with 882,000 viewers and a 10.0 percent share this year, a fairly significant drop year-on-year, even if it did win its slot. The race itself from 13:00 to 13:45 this past Sunday averaged 1.07 million viewers, which is still a big drop on the 2011 average. Eurosport’s coverage of the Moto2 and Moto3 races had 105,000 and 85,000 viewers respectively.
The biggest ouch, however, comes from the IndyCar Series’ IndyFest race on Saturday night. Between 18:00 and 22:00 on Saturday night, Sky Sports 3 averaged three thousand viewers, with the race itself from 20:00 averaging four thousand viewers, equating to a 0.02 percent share. That’s the lowest IndyCar Series rating that I have come across, and especially considering the primetime slot, an incredibly poor rating. You could argue it went against the football and Le Mans, but even so, no live sport should be averaging three thousand viewers unless there are extraordinary circumstances. Maybe it is about time that the Sky bods move it to Sky Sports F1, and give it some suitable promotion. I’ve outlined “why” multiple times on this blog, the most recent of which is here. It is a sad state of affairs when the Indianapolis 500 only gets 27,000 viewers.
As always, comments and thoughts on anything I publish and write about are welcome.