Andy Murray’s victory at Wimbledon had a significant positive effect for the Formula 1 yesterday, with the German Grand Prix recording what is believed to be the highest viewership ever for the race, and also the highest of 2013, overnight ratings show. Both programmes were influenced by Murray’s victory in the ratings, therefore there will be more disclaimers than usual to this blog post.
Starting off with Murray, and his victory in the Wimbledon final peaked with a massive 17.30 million viewers (79.6% share) at 17:30. The large peak meant that the live race had more competition than usual, but on the other hand BBC’s highlights programme was getting a huge lead-in. The match climbed from 6.9 million viewers (56.8% share) at 14:00 to 12.5 million viewers (76.5% share) at 16:00 before reaching 17.3 million at 17:30. Whilst obviously those figures are mouth watering compared to the Formula 1, it did mean that the race itself on Sky wasn’t in the eye of the storm.
Despite this, and the hot weather across the country, Sky Sports F1’s race programme from 11:30 to 16:30 averaged 662,000 viewers (6.7% share). I’ll be honest here. I was expecting much lower than that, but the fact is that the race averaged 1.28 million (11.8% share) and peaked with 1.45 million (15.8% share) at 13:15 is something that I think Sky will be very happy with. Given the circumstances, the programme could easily have collapsed. The collapse itself came after the race, figures quickly dived under 1 million, and went under 100,000 viewers at 15:30. Comparing it with Monaco is an odd ball because of the red flag period which inflated the programme average, but comparing yesterday with Bahrain and we see that yesterday’s figures were higher than Bahrain!
– Bahrain: 656,000 (6.1%), race average: 1.18m, peak: 1.29m (12.0%)
– Germany: 662,000 (6.7%), race average: 1.28m, peak: 1.45m (15.8%)
The Sky figures are, again, down on last year, but last year’s German Grand Prix was free to all Sky and Virgin Media customers which should be noted. If Sky were happy, I imagine BBC’s F1 team were more happier looking at their figures this morning.
BBC’s highlights programme averaged 5.15 million viewers (31.2% share) from 18:00 to 19:30. Benefiting from Murray? Absolutely. But in the TV world you win some and you lose some. Everything that could have gone their way yesterday did. Murray got to the final, won in three sets and provided the F1 team with a very healthy audience. They were also lucky, another set and the F1 highlights would have been consigned to BBC Two, and I’d probably be writing ‘record low’ instead of record high. The breakdown looks a bit odd, in that the peak was recorded in the first 5 minutes (7.59 million). But ratings settled down in the high 4 million’s as the race highlights came to their conclusion about 19:10. Unsurprisingly, it is the highest rating for a highlights programme since this contract came into effect.
German Grand Prix – Official Ratings
2002 – 2.56 million
2003 – 2.91 million
2004 – 2.91 million
2005 – 3.14 million
2006 – 2.06 million
2007 – no race
2008 – 3.47 million
2009 – 4.17 million
2010 – 4.17 million
2011 – 4.41 million
2012 – 3.18 million / 3.53 million (using ‘35 percent theory‘)
2013 – 5.81 million / 5.96 million
Just as the record lows are counted, so are the record high’s. Luck was on F1’s side yesterday. It also begs the question of what BBC do next if Wimbledon and the Grand Prix clash again. After looking at today’s figures and comparing them with last year’s British Grand Prix figures, there’s a big argument for BBC deciding to take up the highlights only choice of whatever race falls on this date next year. I honestly think they will… unless it is Silverstone. In theory, they could just screen highlights of the British Grand Prix, but I cannot see any such move going down well. Hopefully the calendar does not have Britain clashing with the Wimbledon final, as there may be some big decision making to do.
The 2012 German Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.