Monaco Grand Prix hits 2014 high

The on-going rivalry at Mercedes between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg helped the Monaco Grand Prix ratings in the UK, unofficial overnight figures show. After a bleak first four races, ratings began to pick up in Spain, signalling the start of a turnaround.

Race
Live coverage of the race itself, screened on Sky Sports F1 from 12:00 to 15:30, averaged 1.10m (12.1%). Finding an equivalent rating for last year is somewhat difficult due to the red flag period, but using a similar 12:00 to 16:15 slot brought an average of 889k (11.5%), so Sky was about 25 percent up year-on-year. BBC’s ratings were up 7 percent year-on-year. Highlights on BBC One from 17:05 averaged 3.33m (23.3%), up on the 3.11m (22%) recorded last year.

The combined figure of 4.44m is not only the highest number of the year so far, which in my view is a sign of how poorly the first four races did, but also the highest Monaco Grand Prix number since 2011. 2012 and 2013 averaged 3.80m and 4.00m respectively, whilst 2011 averaged a massive 4.99m. 2011 was helped somewhat by the red flag period which meant that programme sustained higher viewership numbers for longer. 2010 also slots in above 2014, which makes 2014 the third highest number in the past decade and a bit. On the front of it, its a very good number for the F1. It also makes for a potentially great Canadian Grand Prix number in two weeks time. The Track Parade from 11:30 averaged 268k (3.5%), whilst Paddock Live averaged 230k (2.2%) from 15:30.

Qualifying
The ratings trajectory for Qualifying was identical to the race. Sky’s live coverage from 12:00 to 15:00 averaged 578k (6.5%). That number is a record high for the channel where Qualifying is concerned. No doubt the Rosberg incident helped significantly, but I do admit to being surprised by that, mainly because they had an hour post-session reaction yet it rated higher than those programmes with only 35 minutes reaction. BBC’s highlights averaged 2.53m (16.8%). With both channels up on last year, the combined Qualifying figure of 3.11m is the highest for Monaco since 2011, and the second highest on record. From a ratings point of view, it was a very, very good weekend for Formula 1.

I’ll be interested to see if that was replicated across Europe. I think certain people in Formula 1 need to blame themselves for the poor start to the season ratings wise. When you are throwing negative hyperbole into the media about the sound, what do you expect? No one is going to be drawn towards a product that the main players are criticising, hence it really was no surprise that the first quartet failed to do well. For the moment, the media will continue to push the Hamilton and Rosberg angle, a good news story for Formula 1, as long as they can. In my opinion, the casual fans like personalities more than the technology. The Mercedes story is a great story for the media to push, and you can guarantee that Sky will be pushing it into Montreal. Whilst I may not like seeing ‘Hamilton overdrive’ at times, with ratings like the above, in some ways, I can’t say I particularly blame them.

Indianapolis 500
Over on BT Sport 2, live coverage of the Indianapolis 500 peaked with 36k (0.3%) at 18:50. The main programme from 16:30 to 21:00 averaged 23k (0.1%). The number is up comfortably on 2013, and at the lower end of the Sky Sports numbers. Since I’ve started this blog, a recurring question is always “why so low”, where the Indianapolis 500 is concerned. Sadly, the answer is, and always will be fairly simple for me to answer, as I noted two years ago.

The 2013 Monaco Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.

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