The Spanish Grand Prix continued Formula 1’s recent upward trajectory in the ratings following on from positive numbers in Bahrain and Russia, overnight viewing figures show.
Year-on-year comparisons are difficult for this race for the individual broadcasters, as both channels aired the race live last year, whereas Sky Sports had exclusive live coverage this season. However, the numbers do show an interesting pattern. As always, figures exclude on-demand methods such as Now TV, Sky Go and All 4.
Live coverage of the race, broadcast on Sky Sports F1 from 12:00 to 15:30, averaged 530k (6.7%), peaking with 888k at 14:35 as Lewis Hamilton claimed victory. In comparison, Sky’s coverage last year, despite sharing with Channel 4, averaged 559k (6.4%), with a peak figure of 883k. So, despite having exclusivity, Sky’s figures failed to increase.
A peak figure below one million viewers for a Sky exclusive European round is disappointing, especially considering that two Premier League games on Sky Sports 1 brought in audiences over the magic million mark (West Ham vs Liverpool and Tottenham vs Man United).
Channel 4’s highlights programme, which aired from 18:45 to 21:00, averaged 2.12m (11.5%), peaking with 2.89 million viewers. Their highlights number marks an increase on the number for their Spanish Grand Prix live programme last year. Overall, Channel 4 should be pleased, with a number that is higher than a lot of their highlights programming from 2016, only behind Austria and Germany.
The combined audience of 2.65 million viewers is up 6.4 percent on last year’s average audience of 2.49 million viewers. The combined peak audience of 3.78 million viewers is up 5.6 percent on last year’s peak audience of 3.58 million viewers. Whilst both metrics represent a sizeable drop compared to 2015, the viewing figures mark a positive step in the right direction as the championship battle continues to heat up.
Live coverage of qualifying, broadcast on Sky Sports F1 from 12:00 to 14:40, averaged 289k (4.0%), peaking with 476k. Channel 4’s highlights programme from 17:30 to 19:00 added a further 1.14m (8.1%), with 1.56m watching at its peak.
The qualifying highlights followed an identical pattern to that of the race a day later: Channel 4 up slightly, Sky Sports down slightly despite the latter having exclusivity.
The combined average audience of 1.43 million viewers is up 9.3 percent on last year’s average audience of 1.31 million viewers. However, and failing to complete a ‘clean sweep’ as a result, the peak audience was down slightly year-on-year, with a combined peak audience of 2.04 million viewers recorded compared with a peak of 2.16 million viewers in 2016.
The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix ratings report can be found here.