Formula E season opener peaks with 329,000 viewers

The Formula E season started in Hong Kong last weekend, with the UK television audience peaking with 329,000 viewers, overnight viewing figures show.

Live coverage of both races aired exclusively on Eurosport across the weekend. Race one aired in an extended time slot from 06:45 to 08:45 due to the red flag on lap 1, and averaged 14k (0.40%). Eurosport’s broadcast peaked with 24k (0.72%) as the race restarted at 07:40. It is the lowest audience for a Formula E race that has broadcast live on television, just behind the 20,000 viewers who watched BT Sport Europe’s coverage of the 2016 Mexico City ePrix.

As anticipated, Channel 5’s as-live coverage comfortably outstripped Eurosport’s audience. Their programme, also extended from 09:00 to 11:10, averaged 176k (2.5%). The audience is Channel 5’s second lowest for a Formula E race, only ahead of the second Montreal ePrix race from July which aired live on Spike and in highlights form on Channel 5. The free-to-air broadcaster’s coverage peaked with 207k (3.1%) before the race coverage started.

Viewing figures perked up for Sunday’s action. Eurosport’s coverage of race two aired from 06:45 to 08:10 on Sunday morning, averaging 17k (0.61%). A peak audience of 33k (1.19%) watched their coverage at 07:30 as Daniel Abt headed to victory prior to his post-race disqualification.

Channel 5’s highlights programme aired from 08:55 to 10:40, averaging 228k (3.4%), beating ITV in the time slot. Their coverage dipped before the race started to under 200,000 viewers but encouragingly climbed to a peak of 297k (4.2%), both metrics marginally higher than their live Hong Kong programme last year.

The combined Formula E audiences across the weekend of 190,000 viewers on Saturday and 245,000 viewers on Sunday paints an interesting picture. Sunday’s combined audience is up year-on-year on the 2016 Hong Kong race, which also took place on a Sunday.

There is a fair difference between the Saturday peak of 231,000 viewers and the Sunday figure of 329,000 viewers, suggesting that Sunday’s race may have attracted extra viewers to Channel 5 who were not aware that the Formula E season was starting last weekend.

Saturday’s numbers are poor, but Sunday is a vast improvement. If Channel 5 make the effort for the remainder of the year scheduling wise, with the on-site effort that they showed in Hong Kong, the viewers will hopefully come.

Elsewhere, Sunday afternoon hosted Sky Sports’ and Channel 4’s Formula 1 season reviews. Sky’s show played out at 12:00 and attracted an audience of 12k (0.2%), with 439k (5.4%) tuning into Channel 4’s review an hour later.

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6 thoughts on “Formula E season opener peaks with 329,000 viewers

  1. I started to watch on Eurosport but they were using their own commentators who seemed a bit dull so I waited for Channel 5 and enjoyed it more. Vernon did a reasonable job so I think ill stick with 5.

  2. Thought I would take a look at FormulaE and watched the coverage on Channel 5. The street circuit aspect is OK although I don’t think HK was up to much and the C5 coverage was very poor. Vernon Kay just doesn’t cut it for me as a presenter of this sport and the heavy partisan bias was not to my liking.

    • At least he seemed somewhat interested in the race, as opposed to Mike Conway on Eurosport’s coverage who was struggling to stay awake…. TBH if you thought C5 was bad this season, you should have seen Hong Kong last season which was an absolute mess production-wise. Granted that was live and this was on tape delay, but still…

  3. The England v Australia rugby league world cup final was Saturday morning, that may have added to the lower audience? Maybe!?

  4. I thought the C5 coverage was a step up from last year. Hoping that they will keep up the effort – it’ll be the only FTA live world series of single-seater motorsport in the UK soon, so could start to pull in the viewers!

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