With Formula 1 going on its first of two Summer breaks, it meant it was time to shine for some other forms of motor sport, specifically two wheels. Live coverage of MotoGP from the Sachensring in Germany brought an average of 1.01 million viewers to BBC Two from 12:30 to 14:00 according to BARB. This is slightly down on its usual numbers, but not too surprising given the unusually warm British Summer weather as of late. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I dread to think what numbers MotoGP will deliver on BT Sport next year. In my opinion, they are not going to look pretty. Without going into a full blown debate in this post, numbers will more than likely end up below 500,000 viewers with MotoGP being pushed out of the public spotlight. Eurosport’s numbers are unavailable, as are the numbers for BBC’s Red Button service.
Also of interest to motor sport fans on BBC Two was the fantastic Hunt vs Lauda documentary, which acted as a ‘preview’ of Rush, out in cinemas in September. The documentary averaged 2.23 million viewers, slightly above the slot average and benefiting from a Top Gear lead-in of nearly 5 million viewers. Because of that documentary, a repeat airing of Grand Prix: The Killer Years fared brilliantly on BBC Four, averaging 799,000 viewers, making it the most watched programme on the station for the week.
Over on ITV4, the Tour de France again dominated the top ten, with the highlights shows averaging between 463,000 and 698,000 viewers. Live coverage at the weekend averaged 320,000 and 477,000 viewers respectively. Numbers are down on last year, presumably due to no Bradley Wiggins involvement, with highlights shows last year bringing between 650,000 and 850,000 viewers. Sky Sports F1’s highest rated show unsurprisingly was The F1 Show, which averaged 60,000 viewers. All other ratings were under 18,000 viewers as is typical during a non race week. It will be interesting to see if The F1 Show Special did any better than the usual editions. Due to the lack of promotion, I suspect not.
Highlights of the first IndyCar race from Toronto on ESPN averaged 18,000 viewers in the early hours of Sunday morning, whilst live DTM coverage later on at 12:15 brought 15,000 viewers both safely in ESPN’s top ten. I would be surprised if IndyCar’s move to BT Sport 2 for the next race in Mid Ohio changes its fortunes significantly, I imagine you’re looking at similar ratings to now, barring a miracle.