BTCC starts 2016 best of the rest

The British Touring Car Championship was best of the rest on Sunday (3rd April) in the motor racing stakes, unofficial overnight viewing figures show. Alongside the F1, cricket and football, there was a plethora of motor sport: BTCC, MotoGP and Formula E to name a few.

British Touring Car Championship peaks with 369k…
Live coverage of round one of the BTCC from Brands Hatch on Sunday averaged 169k (1.6%) across eight hours from 10:15 on ITV4. The action recorded a five-minute peak audience of 360k (3.8%) at 14:35 as the second race of the day came to a conclusion. As you would expect, the one-minute peak came within that segment at 14:36 with 369k (3.9%) watching.

Earlier in the day, the first race of the new season hit a one-minute high of 340k (4.8%) at 11:46 half way through the action. As is typical when the British Touring Car Championship clashes with Formula 1, audiences slump within the F1 time slot. As thus, the final BTCC race of the day recorded a one-minute peak audience of 145k (0.9%) at 17:35. Viewing figures for the championship have dropped slightly in recent years, but nevertheless it still benefits from the significant amount of air-time given by ITV4.

…MotoGP tucks in behind…
MotoGP on BT Sport was close behind the BTCC, but suffered too as a result of the Bahrain Grand Prix and other sporting competition. Live coverage of all three races, including Moto2 and Moto3, averaged 131k (0.7%) from 16:30 to 21:00 on BT Sport 2, marginally down on the equivalent figure last year of 147k (0.8%). The MotoGP segment from 19:30 to 21:00 averaged 193k (0.9%), peaking with 246k (1.1%). It was the main race that suffered the most year-on-year. Last year, the MotoGP race itself averaged 240k (1.1%) live on BT Sport.

Back on ITV4, highlights from Argentina averaged 309k (1.9%), compared with 297k (2.1%) from 2015. I think it is too early to judge BT’s MotoGP figures for this season compared to previous years: the competition was unusually tough, we should get a clearer picture once we get to the European races, beginning with Jerez in two weeks’ time.

…with Formula E on the back foot
Season two of the Formula E championship hit Long Beach for round six. Live coverage on ITV4 on Saturday evening from 23:00 to 01:30 averaged 78k (1.1%), peaking with 118k (1.5%). That’s not a good number and continues Formula E’s second season syndrome when you consider that Long Beach last season averaged 121k (1.9%). As always, being on the same weekend as Formula 1 never helps, but this is an ongoing pattern now with Formula E that is not reversing itself.

Highlights of the ePrix averaged a further 163k (2.4%) on ITV from 09:25 to 10:20 on Sunday morning, peaking with 195k (3.0%). The last four highlight shows on ITV have averaged around 160k, it is pretty clear that the highlights have settled within that region now. In the UK at least, there are no signs that the Formula E fan base is growing.

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