Abu Dhabi Grand Prix peaks with nearly six million viewers

Yesterday’s live coverage for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix peaked with nearly six million viewers across BBC One and Sky Sports F1, overnight figures show. According to James Allen, BBC One’s coverage peaked with 4.8 million, with Sky Sports F1’s coverage expected to add a further 0.8 million to 1.0 million to that figure, bringing the figure to near 6 million. When you put that into context with the remainder of this season against sporting competition at times, that is a very solid figure in my opinion.

The peak figure is up on last year’s 5.52 million five-minute peak figure recorded at 13:35, whilst it is in-line with a fifteen-minute peak of 5.9 million in 2009. It is, however, down on the mammoth peak of 7.35 million viewers from 2010, although that was thanks to the 2010 race being a title decider involving four different drivers.

On BBC One, ITV Media reports that the BBC coverage averaged 3.895 million viewers, with a 29 percent share from 12:10 to 15:30. Sky Sports F1’s coverage averaged under 574,000 viewers from 11:30 to 16:15, meaning a combined average around the 4.4 million mark, which would be the lowest average yet. If you were to compare like to like though, taking the Sky Sports F1 average from 12:10 to 15:30, you would probably find that rise slightly, albeit marginally below the 4.56 million from 2011 and below 4.8 million (2009) and 5.78 million (2010).

Admittedly there is not a plethora of information above, so I note that Sascha Mohr, who runs a German media blog posted the German ratings from yesterday over on his Twitter feed. In Germany, 7.18 million viewers watched on RTL, 430k on Sky Deutschland and 780k on ORF. Compared to the 85% to 15% or 80% to 20% we see here for BBC versus Sky, in Germany it is a similar split it seems between RTL and Sky/ORF if not slightly higher. The figures are very good for Germany, as this historical comparison shows figures over there peaked with 10.4 million viewers average in 2001 during Michael Schumacher’s third title defence.

Figures were always above 8 million during his title reigns with Ferrari, although as the graph shows they were not as high during his first two title reigns at Benetton. In any case, it appears that Sebastian Vettel is definitely popular in Germany, whether he is as popular as Schumacher was at his peak remains to be seen though. Nevertheless, I thought it would be good to include German figures seeing as I spotted though as we rarely get those figures.


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