Highlights of the first MotoGP race of 2015 stumbled off the starting blocks last night as BT Sport recorded a record high for its MotoGP coverage, unofficial overnight viewing figures show.
Last year, BT Sport’s coverage from Qatar averaged 126k (0.8%) from 15:00 to 20:30. The MotoGP portion averaged 187k (0.8%), peaking with 230k (1.1%). The programme length this year was slightly shorter due to rugby coverage preceding it, with new programme The Chequered Flag following at 20:00. Yesterday, from 16:00 to 20:00, BT Sport 2 averaged 172k (1.1%), which is up on the equivalent number of 142k (0.8%) from twelve months ago. For the MotoGP race, from 18:30 to 20:00, the channel averaged 212k (1.1%), peaking with 263k (1.4%). By all three measures, BT Sport was up year-on-year, by around 15 percent. BT’s numbers are actually a record high for them.
Those of you that follow my F1 posts know that, even if the pay TV broadcaster does increase its numbers, it is rendered redundant if the free-to-air broadcast struggles. And that is the case with ITV4. ITV4’s Qatar highlights programme last year from 20:00 to 21:00 averaged 492k (2.2%), peaking with 603k (2.6%). This year, the programme averaged 372k (1.6%), peaking with 455k (1.9%). So whilst BT gained, ITV4 lost a quarter of its audience. The end result is that, combined, coverage averaged 584k versus 679k last year, a drop of 14 percent. Again, I would remind readers that in 2013, BBC Two’s live coverage averaged 1.67m (6.9%), peaking with 2.12m (8.4%).
It’s probably worth noting that, over the course of last year, ITV’s higlights dropped off towards an average of 300k. The first 2015 rating is slightly above that. Whether 2014’s first programme was an anomaly for ITV because it was the start of the new deal, remains to be seen.