Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Monaco Grand Prix performed solidly, official consolidated figures from BARB show.
Consolidated audience figures include viewers who watched via the TV set within seven days of broadcast, and exclude commercial breaks. Figures in this article should not be compared to previous overnight ratings posted on this site.
Due to incomplete data, comparisons for Sky’s F1 coverage are difficult, however, all of Channel 4’s figures are publicly available. In addition, Channel 4 aired the Grand Prix live in 2017 and 2018, which also should be factored into the viewing figures.
Unfortunately, the ever-changing slot lengths also make direct comparisons tricky, meaning that the figures must be taken at face value.
Live coverage of the race aired across Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event. At press time, audience figures for Main Event are unavailable. The race airing from 14:03 to 16:24 averaged 845,900 viewers on Sky’s F1 channel. Including Main Event will push the race average for Sky to around one million viewers.
Last year, a combined audience of 707,000 viewers watched across F1 and Main Event (excluding an additional simulcast on Sky One) from 14:05 to 16:36. In 2017, 688,000 viewers watched across the two channels across a longer slot from 12:30 to 15:37.
Sky’s 2019 figures are also significantly higher than 2016, when the race last aired exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 to an audience of 786,000 viewers from 12:30 to 15:50, although this is over a longer time slot.
As mentioned, exact comparisons are extremely difficulty, however it does appear that Sky made noticeable gains on race day compared to previous years. On Sky Sports F1 alone, Pit Lane Live averaged 247,700 viewers from 12:30, On the Grid brought in 507,000 viewers, with Paddock Live averaging 227,900 viewers from 16:24.
The F1 increase helped the Indianapolis 500, which recorded excellent figures following the Grand Prix.
Highlights of the Grand Prix aired on Channel 4 from 19:00 to 21:00 to an audience of 2.02 million viewers, their highest audience of the year so far.
Last year, the free-to-air broadcaster aired Monaco live, with 1.01 million viewers watching the build-up (12:59), 2.50 million watching the race itself (13:33) and 970,000 viewers watching the post-race analysis (16:29). In 2017, the same three components averaged 920,000 viewers (11:59), 2.30 million (12:32) and 720,000 viewers (15:20) respectively.
If you use the first two components to pull out a rough three and a half hour average, encompassing the build-up and the race itself, then 2017 averaged 2.07 million viewers, with 2018 averaging 2.26 million viewers.
Compared to 2017 and 2018, the 2019 highlights show does not fare too badly. However, the 2016 highlights comparison averaged 2.48 million viewers over a slightly longer time slot. Whilst the 2019 figure is still down, it is down less than compared to previous races.
Looking at the figures in totality, the Monaco round rated in a similar ballpark to previous years, with a slight Channel 4 decrease being countered by a good increase for Sky. How well it rated is difficult to say given that the picture is incomplete, but the figures are promising nevertheless.
Qualifying and Analysis
Live coverage of the qualifying session on Sky Sports F1 averaged 476,100 viewers from 13:50, compared with 332,000 viewers from twelve months ago. An average of 228,400 viewers watched Sky’s build-up, also an increase on 2018’s figure of 169,000 viewers.
Both figures exclude their respective simulcasts. In 2018, the session also aired on Sky One, with this year’s session simulcast on Main Event.
Highlights on Channel 4 jumped to their highest Monaco figure on record. An audience of 1.59 million viewers tuned in from 18:30 to 20:00, an increase on last year’s live average audience of 1.26 million viewers from 12:55.
Considering the way the season is turning out, the audience figures across the Monaco weekend are surprisingly good. By no means are they spectacular, but neither do they show signs that F1’s audience figures are collapsing across the board.
Up next, the championship heads to Canada, where Channel 4’s highlights programme airs late at night. Expect the viewing figures between Channel 4 and Sky to be relatively even as a result, with Sky recording some of their highest figures of the year.
The only downside for them is the clash with the UEFA Nations League final, which could severely dent the potential audience on offer.