Highlights of the first round of the 2014 World Rally Championship on ITV4 performed better than any of its coverage from 2013, unofficial overnight viewing figures show. With that, the rating would also be the highest for a rally since at least 2010, given the low key seasons that followed broadcasting wise.
The programme, broadcast on Tuesday 21st January at 20:00 and focussing on the Monte Carlo rally, averaged 278k (1.8%), peaking with 358k (1.5%) as Sébastien Ogier secured his victory. The rating is impressive for the coverage, when you consider that the majority of the overnight ratings in 2013 were between 100k and 200k. The weekend marked an adjustment in the broadcasting rights here in the UK, with BT Sport coming on board, broadcasting the series exclusively live.
BT Sport’s live coverage started solidly, if unspectacular. The highest number was for live coverage on BT Sport 2 on Saturday (18th January) afternoon. The one hour programme from 14:30 averaged 41k (0.4%), peaking with 65k (0.6%). Sadly the evening coverage on BT Sport 1 did not average as much, only bringing 22k (0.1%). I do think that it is a good starting block for BT, it was never going to storm out of the blocks. With an influx of motor sport subscribers (including myself) to the channel for the MotoGP coverage, there is room for improvement.
The numbers emphasise for me why it was important for ITV4 to retain its highlights coverage, which has happened. The two now compliment each other nicely, and hopefully the numbers for the highlights continue to remain high as the season progresses.