It was a good day for both Formula 1 and MotoGP this past Sunday, with both two and four wheels delivering solid figures across the board. Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix peaked with 6.26 million, whilst Valentino Rossi’s battle with Marc Marquez sent BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage flying above the 300k barrier, according to unofficial overnight viewing figures.
Live coverage of the Formula 1 race, screened live on BBC One from 15:00 to 18:05 averaged 3.83m (26.0%), peaking with 5.31m (30.8%) at 17:35 as Hamilton crossed the finishing line. Over on Sky, their coverage from 15:00 to 18:30 (using the equivalent slot to 2014), averaged 640k (4.3%), peaking with 951k (5.5%). It should be noted that with the race beginning at a later time, the total TV audience as the race draws to a conclusion is higher than usual, which means that figures are higher in previous years, but with lower shares.
The combined average of 4.47m is the third highest ever for Bahrain, only behind 2010 and 2012, with the combined peak of 6.26m (36.3%) only just shy of 2010’s 6.29m (47.9%). It’s a really good number for Bahrain and again shows the importance of having the mid-afternoon races on free-to-air television in order to draw in the casual viewers. Overall during the race, for every one viewer watching on Sky, there were a further 4.88 viewers watching on the BBC.
MotoGP and BTCC
Away from Bahrain, the main story surrounded the ongoing rise of BT Sport’s MotoGP figures. In Qatar, BT’s coverage peaked with 263k (1.4%), this number increased to 281k (1.2%) for Texas. Argentina was the first time ever that BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage surpassed the 300k barrier, as a record peak of 313k (1.4%) watched Valentino Rossi win on BT Sport 2. From 19:30 to 21:00, their coverage averaged 240k (1.1%) which is significantly above any number recorded in 2014.
ITV4’s highlights, screened at the later time of 22:00 on Monday due to the FA Youth Cup final, averaged 297k (2.1%), peaking with 379k (3.1%). I would put BT’s consistent rise down to the draw of Valentino Rossi, who is clearly back on form this season and drawing people to BT’s live coverage, which they need to take advantage of. Whether it will continue, I don’t know, but it is a shame that there is no live free-to-air coverage of the series. Yes, I’m afraid that klaxon had to be raised.
Staying with ITV4, their British Touring Car Championship from Donington Park peaked with 424k (3.8%) at 14:50. Their average of 199k (1.8%) is across eight hours from 10:30 to 18:30. The numbers slumped after 15:00 against the F1, never once hitting 200k.
The 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.