F1 stable but low, BT’s MotoGP coverage increases

The Chinese Grand Prix drew an identical number to last year’s ratings low, according to unofficial overnight viewing figures.

For the third time in as many races, direct comparisons are difficult, as the Chinese Grand Prix began an hour earlier this year compared with last year. Live coverage of the race, screened on Sky Sports F1 from 06:00 to 09:30, averaged 589k (14.4%). The Pit Lane build-up from 06:00 averaged 90k (8.4%), with the race portion itself, as billed in the EPG, averaging 672k (14.4%). Paddock Live, from 09:30 to 10:15, averaged a strong 244k (3.4%). The numbers compare with 681k (11.2%) for last year’s race show from 07:00 to 10:30, with Paddock Live bringing in 173k (2.1%). Paddock Live seems to be performing better this year than last, even on occasions when the race aired earlier than last year.

Over on BBC One, the highlights programme averaged 2.97m (24.5%), which compares with 2.87m (21.1%) from 2014. So the 100k that Sky lost transferred directly over to BBC’s highlights, which again I suspect it due to the earlier start time, like with Australia and Malaysia. Overall though, the total of 3.56m is identical to 2014’s 3.55m. If you want to get statistical about it, then 2015 was up 0.24 percent on 2014. Either way, both numbers are lower than previous years

MotoGP and World Endurance Championship
Heading over to two wheels, BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage (or shall we call it #WaterSpillage?) peaked with 281k (1.2%), which is a record high for them and follows on from the Qatar high two weeks ago. The MotoGP portion from 18:30 to around 21:40 averaged 234k (1.0%), also a record high for their coverage. It was a big day for Moto3 and Moto2 as well on Sunday, and this was replicated in the ratings. Moto3 peaked with 127k (0.9%) at 17:15, whilst Moto2 peaked with 218k (1.1%) at 19:00. I believe that is Moto2’s highest ever peak figure for BT Sport.

Unfortunately, any good racing by the British riders was not replicated in ITV4’s highlights rating, which tumbled on Monday evening to 283k (1.3%), peaking with 349k (1.5%). If you think BT and ITV’s numbers look closer than last year, then you are not alone in that thought. That’s not necessarily good. Yes, more people are watching live – excellent. But at the expense of the highlights audience, and more critically, substantially below BBC levels, in my opinion, that’s not good at all. BT will be happy, but the overall picture is not great. It is worth noting that ITV have added more airings of the MotoGP Highlights programmes, so the aggregated picture could be better, but you can’t start adding all the airings together. As I’ve always said, how do you do the line in that situation.

Elsewhere, live coverage of the first round of the World Endurance Championship season averaged 11k (0.1%) from 11:30 to 18:30 on Motors TV, peaking with 24k. That number does not include anyone who watched via online streaming. Don’t get me wrong, I like the championship and thoroughly enjoyed going to Silverstone this time last year, but anyone who thinks that it is about to become the next big thing is wrong in my opinion. The series needs a free-to-air highlights package. As far as I’m aware, it currently doesn’t have that. There’s more chance of Formula E becoming the next big thing (if there is such a thing) than WEC. Why? Because it actually has a presence on a major television platform in the UK which it can build upon. WEC does not have that in the UK, and I don’t believe it trended on Twitter on Sunday. A lot of noise, but not much movement from those outside of the bubble.

The 2014 Chinese Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.



11 thoughts on “F1 stable but low, BT’s MotoGP coverage increases

  1. I’ve said this before, but MotoGP’s viewing figures are just awful now following the BT deal. 234K watching it live when the BBC and Eurosport package together brought in around 2m viewers – what were Dorna thinking? Well lots of money of course. But sponsors, the life blood of any sport, can’t be happy and a pay TV deal will only attract the die-hard fan and not increase its popularity to the masses. This is all especially bad as with Rossi back on top form and some great new British talent, MotoGP should be on a high at the moment. Surely we’d now be looking at viewing figures approaching 2.5m with the old deal.

  2. Do you know how WEC’s figures compare to last year’s?

    The last hour was broadcast on Eurosport also, but you’re correct – as usual – it needs a highlight package on a main channel to grow.

  3. It was classic coverage from Sky.

    They completely misread Rosberg’s radio reaction to the team on Saturday. Then after having his comments true meaning spoon fed to them Saturday evening they start Sunday by sensationalizing his comments like a Sunday red top, trying desperately to infer a team rift.

    The pre and post break menus are getting to Discovery ob doc levels, soon they’ll be plugging the plugging and the whole show will be telling you what’s coming up.

    Croft and Kravitz News of the World style presentation continued following Hamilton managing his pace during the race. He broke no rule, didn’t hurt his team mate or ignore team orders. Yet Croft uses the term ‘questions will be asked’ with a tone that at best suggests he’s done something unsporting or at worst broken a regulation, It’s racing, if the guy in front is going too slowly for you get past or shut up, it’s not a time trial.

    Sky’s new need to turn every F1 event into a back page splash is low brow, childish and as usual insulting to most F1 fans.

      1. It’s poor, lackluster, lazy, inappropriate, self indulgent, ill thought out, repetitive, low brow, badly produced and technically poor coverage.

        It’s a bunch of jobbing TV wasters on a jolly from Osterley, with no real interest, passion or background in motorsport, blowing a huge budget to produce a minimum amount of crap.

        Is that concise enough?

  4. Another reason the WEC will never be a big thing in the UK is that it is too long. Casual fans are not going to be willing to sit and watch it for 6 hours and few free tv stations are going to be willing to take it

  5. Watched bt’s moto gp coverage of r1 and r2 (thanks to racing4everyone@wordpress.com) first time since bbc showed it that ive watched moto gp. Didn’t enjoy the presenters , pundits(apart from gavin emmets)and didnt enjoy the commentators especially when there are shouting “GO BRADLEY!” every second worse than itv f1 back in 07 08 with hamilton .

    bbc coverage was much better in every way

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