Rugby World Cup kicks Singapore Grand Prix into touch

The Rugby World Cup sent the Singapore Grand Prix crashing to its lowest ever viewing figures in the UK yesterday, overnight viewing figures show.

Live coverage of the race, broadcast live on Sky Sports F1, averaged 681k (6.6%) from 12:00 to 15:30, down significantly on last year’s audience of 1.00m (10.9%) across the same timeslot (or 961k/10.5% up to 15:45). Later on, BBC One’s highlights programme from 17:00 to 18:35 averaged just 2.77m (16.5%), compared with 3.72m (23.7%) from 2014. I believe BBC’s number is their lowest for a European highlights show that has aired on BBC One since this deal began in 2012. BBC’s audience is down 25 percent, with Sky Sports F1 down 32 percent year-on-year.

Normally, ITV average less than one million viewers on a Sunday afternoon. Yesterday, Samoa vs USA from 11:30 to 13:55 averaged 1.38m (16.3%). Wales vs Uruguay which followed it averaged 2.89m (24.3%), whilst New Zealand vs Argentina from 16:30 averaged 3.98m (24.2%). The peak for the rugby was 4.97m (28.1%) at 18:15, directly against BBC’s F1 highlights programme. It is rare that BBC’s main F1 programming loses its slot, but that happened yesterday thanks to the rugby. I did mention that “tricky waters lie ahead” for the F1 in my Italy ratings piece but I was unclear at how much the F1 would be affected.

The combined average of 3.45 million from yesterday is comfortably the lowest ever recorded for the Singapore Grand Prix. The previous lowest was 2008, which averaged 3.85m (39.7%), but apart from that numbers have always been near to, or over four million viewers. It is a disappointing number, although it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise given that the Rugby World Cup, like many other popular sporting events, brings in some casual viewers. Next up for Formula 1 is the Japanese Grand Prix, which should be aiming for an audience around the mid 3 million mark, similar to 2013.

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


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