A massive audience of over 200,000 viewers watched a special F1 Esports event on Sky Sports, consolidated viewing figures from BARB show.
With no action taking place on the circuit within the near future, organisations in the Esports arena have taken advantage by holding their own replacement races.
F1 opted to run a Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix using their F1 2019 video game, featuring McLaren’s Lando Norris, Williams driver Nicholas Latifi and a range of celebrities, including singer Liam Payne and Olympian Sir Chris Hoy.
The action aired live across three Sky Sports channels to an audience of 208,200 viewers from 20:00 to 21:30 on Sunday 22nd March via the TV set.
82,900 viewers watched on Sky Sports Main Event, with 82,600 viewers watching on the F1 channel, and a further 42,700 viewers watching on Sky Sports Mix.* The event was the most watched programme on those three channels for the week commencing 16th March.
To put that figure into comparison, last year’s running of the Indianapolis 500 averaged 172,000 viewers exclusively on Sky Sports F1, which in itself was a record high, whilst the Esports figure comfortably beats any Formula Two or Formula Three race that Sky has aired.
It is possible that the audience figures are some of the highest ever for an Esports event on UK television, but Motorsport Broadcasting is unable to confirm that as of writing.
This is in addition to the online average audience reported by Echarts of 279,000 viewers worldwide across Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.
The Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix is set to air live across Sky’s outlets and social media again this Sunday from 20:00.
* Technical Note: Logs on the BARB website shows the description for the Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Mix as ‘Sky Sports News’ and ‘NBA’ respectively. However, Motorsport Broadcasting can confirm that the underlying figures are for the F1 Esports event.