Toyota’s Le Mans victory peaks with 343,000 viewers

Toyota’s first Le Mans victory, with Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and debutant Fernando Alonso at the helm, peaked with 343,000 viewers on Sunday afternoon in the UK, overnight viewing figures show.

Le Mans down on 2017, but solid against World Cup competition
2018 was always going to be a tough year for Le Mans thanks to reduced competition in the flagship LMP1 class, as well as the football World Cup competition getting underway, but the famous race fared solidly.

Live coverage of the race aired in its entirety on Eurosport, with three portions airing on free-to-air channel Quest TV. ITV4’s coverage, which was present last year, did not return for 2018 which should be factored into year-on-year comparisons. However, the level of coverage was like that provided in 2015 and 2016.

The audience figures in this piece exclude those who watched via the Eurosport Player, FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) App or via other online means.

Across all UK television outlets, the whole race averaged 84k (1.3%) from 13:45 on Saturday through to 14:15 on Sunday, which is in the same ballpark as previous years. The audience is lower than 2015 and 2017, when the race averaged 98k (1.5%) and 98k (1.7%) respectively. In both years there was no major football tournament to contend with.

Le Mans was up on the 2016 race average of 73k (0.9%), which should be considered a success, considering 2016 clashed with the Euro 2016 tournament (the weekend also clashed with Formula 1’s European Grand Prix).

Eurosport’s coverage averaged 53k (0.9%) from 13:45 on Saturday, a slight decrease on last year’s audience of 59k (1.0%). It is Eurosport’s worst average audience for the race since 2012, although the margins are tight between the different years. Their coverage peaked with 146k (2.4%) at 10:50 on Sunday, down around 20,000 viewers on the 2017 peak audience of 166k (2.5%).

Unlike in previous years, Eurosport’s coverage did not build its audience in the final few hours, slipping back under 100k at 12:05, and only jumping back above that mark at 13:20. At 13:50, 135k (1.5%) were watching Eurosport’s coverage.

Three separate shows aired on Quest TV. The start of the race averaged 62k (0.7%) from 13:30 to 15:00, down on last year’s audience of 89k (1.6%). Saturday’s evening update at 22:00 averaged 102k (0.8%), an increase of 4,000 viewers on last year’s figure of 98k (0.7%).

The highlight for Quest was Sunday’s live coverage, which averaged 130k (1.8%), peaking with 209k (2.3%) at 13:50, their highest Le Mans peak since 2015.

The combined peak audience of 343k (3.8%) came at 13:55 on Sunday, with the audience split 134k vs 202k in Quest’s favour. The peak audience is down 176,000 viewers year-on-year, some of that a result of ITV4 no longer airing coverage, some of it due to the World Cup.

Even-stevens between BTCC and Formula E
The weekend prior to Le Mans, as well as Formula 1’s excursion to Canada, there was British Touring Car Championship action from Oulton Park and Formula E racing from Zurich, both airing live on free-to-air television on Sunday 10th June.

The touring car action aired on ITV4 from 11:15 to 18:10, to an average audience of 219k (3.0%). Race 1 started at 12:20, averaging 221k (3.7%), with race 2 following on with an audience of 285k (4.0%) at 14:50.

An opening lap accident halted race 3, resulting in a 25-minute delay. 329k (3.2%) watched the delayed race from 17:30 to 17:55, with the peak audience of the day coming at 17:45 as 347k (3.4%) watched the closing laps.

Further up the channel order, Channel 5’s coverage of the Zurich E-Prix averaged 290k (3.0%) from 16:30 to 18:15. The race itself from 17:00 to 17:55 averaged 331k (3.4%), peaking with 396k (4.0%) at 17:25. Eurosport 2’s coverage of Formula E is unlikely to make a substantial difference to audience figures.

It is interesting to note that 70,000 viewers switched from Formula E to the BTCC as race 3 restarted, with ITV4 overtaking Channel 5 at this point. Channel 5 dropped from 396k (4.0%) to 304k (3.0%) between 17:25 and 17:40, whilst ITV4 increased from 275k (2.8%) to 338k (3.3%) in the same period.

overnights.tv-bannersF1

Advertisements

Scheduling: The 2018 Canadian Grand Prix / Zurich E-Prix

Formula 1 heads across the ocean to North America for its annual June trip: the Canadian Grand Prix!

The race airs exclusively live on Sky Sports, with late night highlights the order of the day for Channel 4.

Lee McKenzie continues to wind down her Formula 1 commitments and focus on other sports, this time presenting rugby for Channel 4. McKenzie is missing several races this Summer with Wimbledon also on the agenda.

Elsewhere, Formula E heads to Switzerland for the very first time, as racing returns to the country for the first time since 1954. Note that the race takes place on Sunday evening, clashing with the first part of Sky’s build-up for the Canadian Grand Prix.

The BBC is airing a documentary looking at the electric series on its news channel on Friday evening called Driving Change. Part of a wider strand of programming from Radio 1’s Newsbeat team, the documentary looks at how Formula E is helping people make the shift to electric cars.

With Jack Nicholls on Formula E duty, Alex Jacques steps back into Nicholls’ shoes as BBC’s 5 Live F1 lead commentator.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
09/06 – 22:55 to 00:25 – Qualifying Highlights
10/06 – 22:40 to 00:40 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
08/06 – 14:30 to 16:50 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
08/06 – 18:45 to 20:50 – Practice 2
09/06 – 15:45 to 17:15 – Practice 3
09/06 – 18:00 to 20:35 – Qualifying
=> 18:00 – Pre-Show
=> 18:55 – Qualifying
10/06 – 17:30 to 22:10 – Race
=> 17:30 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 18:30 – On the Grid (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 19:05 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 21:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
06/06 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview
07/06 – 16:00 to 16:30 – Driver Press Conference
07/06 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
09/06 – 20:35 to 21:10 – The F1 Show
13/05 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
08/06 – 14:55 to 16:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
09/06 – 18:55 to 20:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
10/06 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula E – Zurich (online via YouTube)
10/06 – 07:55 to 08:55 – Practice 1
10/06 – 10:25 to 11:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Zurich
08/06 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Driving Change (BBC News)
10/06 – 12:45 to 14:10 – Qualifying (5Spike)
10/06 – 16:30 to 18:15 – Race (Channel 5)
10/06 – 16:45 to 18:15 – Race (Eurosport 2)

British Touring Car Championship – Oulton Park (ITV4)
10/06 – 11:15 to 18:00 – Races

Euroformula – Spa
09/06 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Race 1 (BT Sport 2)
10/06 – 12:15 to 13:15 – Race 2 (BT Sport 3)

IndyCar Series – Texas 600 (BT Sport/ESPN)
10/06 (Sunday morning) – 01:00 to 04:00 – Race

International GT Open – Spa
09/06 – 14:00 to 15:45 – Race 1 (BT Sport 2)
10/06 – 13:15 to 14:45 – Race 2 (BT Sport 3)

World Rally Championship – Italy
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
07/06 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Live: Stage 1 [Ittiri Arena Show] (BT Sport 1)
08/06 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (BT Sport 2)
09/06 – 07:30 to 08:30 – Live: Stage (BT Sport 1)
09/06 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Live: Stage (BT Sport 1)
09/06 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 21:30 to 22:00 (BT Sport 3)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
10/06 – 08:30 to 09:30 – Live: Stage (BT Sport 1)
10/06 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Live: Stage 19 [Power Stage] (BT Sport 1)
10/06 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 21:30 to 22:00 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:30 to 23:00 (Motorsport.tv)
12/06 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Superbikes – Brno
08/06 – 08:40 onwards (Eurosport 2)
=> 08:40 to 09:30 – SBK: Practice 1
=> 11:25 to 12:15 – SBK: Practice 2
09/06 – 09:00 to 14:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
10/06 – 10:00 to 14:00 – Support and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
13/06 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

Scheduling: The 2018 Berlin E-Prix / French MotoGP

Formula E and MotoGP are back in action this weekend, in the heartland of Europe.

The electric single seater series heads to Germany for the Berlin E-Prix. The scheduling of the E-Prix at first sight is odd, with the E-Prix scheduled to satisfy domestic viewers rather than international ones. Domestically, the race takes place between the women’s and men’s football domestic cup final; however internationally this results in a clash with the English FA Cup final! Expect a lower than usual UK number as a result.

On the punditry front, it is a newsworthy weekend, with Channel 4’s Formula 1 analyst David Coulthard joining Jack Nicholls and Bob Varsha in the Formula E commentary box. As readers will know, Coulthard is also part of the Whisper Films production company, and Whisper have not yet collaborated with Formula E. Coulthard replaces Dario Franchitti, who is on Indianapolis 500 duty.

MotoGP returns with the French round of the championship, the action as usual live on BT Sport. Elsewhere on BT Sport, it is qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, live coverage airing on both Saturday and Sunday evenings.

In a further scheduling oddity from the outside, the main World Touring Car Cup action from Zandvoort takes place on Monday, but this is because Monday is Whit Monday in Netherlands and many other parts of the world.

MotoGP – France (BT Sport 2)
18/05 – 07:45 to 15:15 – Practice 1 and 2
19/05 – 07:45 to 15:15
=> 07:45 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
20/05 – 07:30 to 15:00
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3
=> 11:00 – Moto2
=> 12:30 – MotoGP
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – France (Channel 5)
22/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

Formula E – Berlin (online via YouTube)
19/05 – 07:55 to 08:55 – Practice 1
19/05 – 10:25 to 11:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Berlin
19/05 – 12:30 to 14:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 12:30 – Preview
=> 13:00 – Qualifying
19/05 – 12:45 to 14:10 – Qualifying (5Spike)
19/05 – 16:45 to 18:15 – Race (Eurosport 2)
19/05 – 16:45 to 18:30 – Race (Channel 5)

Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup – Silverstone
19/05 – 14:00 to 15:00 – Race Start (Motorsport.tv)
19/05 – 14:30 to 18:30 – Race (BT Sport X2)
19/05 – 17:05 to 19:30 – Race Finish (Motorsport.tv)

British Touring Car Championship – Thruxton (ITV4)
20/05 – 11:15 to 18:00 – Races

Formula Renault Eurocup – Silverstone
19/05 – 13:15 to 14:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
20/05 – 13:15 to 14:30 – Race 2 (BT Sport X2)

IndyCar Series – Indianapolis 500
19/05 – 21:00 to 23:00 – Qualifying – Day 1 (BT Sport 2)
20/05 – 21:00 to 23:00 – Qualifying – Day 2 (BT Sport/ESPN)

World Rally Championship – Portugal
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
17/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Live: Stage 1 (BT Sport/ESPN)
18/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Live: Stage 8 and 9 (BT Sport 2)
18/05 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (BT Sport 2)
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (Motorsport.tv)
19/05 – 15:00 to 16:00 – Live: Stage 13 (BT Sport 3)
19/05 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 00:00 to 00:30 (BT Sport 1)
20/05 – 09:00 to 10:00 – Live: Stage 17 (BT Sport 3)
20/05 – 12:00 to 13:30 – Live: Stage 19 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
20/05 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 23:30 to 00:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 00:30 to 01:00 (BT Sport 3)
23/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Touring Car Cup – Netherlands
21/05 – 07:30 to 08:50 – Qualifying (Eurosport 2)
21/05 – 11:00 to 12:00 – Race 2 (Eurosport)
21/05 – 15:30 to 16:30 – Race 3 (Eurosport)

The schedule above will be updated if anything changes.

Scheduling: The 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix / Paris E-Prix

Host of a thrilling race last year, the Baku Street Circuit returns in an earlier slot on the 2018 Formula One calendar.

Because of the domino effect surrounding France, it means that Baku takes the slot previously taken by Russia, with Russia moving into the late-September slot held by Malaysia; Malaysia of course no longer on the calendar for 2018.

The race weekend airs live on both Sky Sports and Channel 4. Eddie Jordan returns to Channel 4’s line-up for the first time in 2018, whilst Lee McKenzie returns after missing Bahrain and China.

Elsewhere, Formula E returns, but the race is only live on 5Spike this weekend. Channel 5’s main station at the same time is airing live coverage of the Premiership Rugby, whilst Eurosport’s duties are split between the World Snooker Championship and cycling’s Tour of Romandy.

If Formula 1’s qualifying session overruns slightly, it will also clash with Formula E’s race. The Paris round is due to get underway at 15:04 UK time, with F1 qualifying running from 14:00 to 15:00.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
27/04 – 09:55 to 11:45 – Practice 1
27/04 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2
28/04 – 10:55 to 12:25 – Practice 3
28/04 – 12:55 to 15:45 – Qualifying
29/04 – 12:00 to 16:30 – Race
=> 12:00 – Build-Up
=> 12:40 – Race
=> 15:55 – Reaction

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
27/04 – 09:45 to 11:55 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
27/04 – 13:45 to 15:50 – Practice 2
28/04 – 10:45 to 12:15 – Practice 3
28/04 – 13:00 to 15:45 – Qualifying
=> 13:00 – Pre-Show
=> 13:55 – Qualifying
29/04 – 11:30 to 16:10 – Race
=> 11:30 – Pit Lane Live
=> 12:30 – On the Grid
=> 13:05 – Race
=> 15:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
25/04 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Preview (also Sky Sports Mix)
26/04 – 12:00 to 12:30 – Driver Press Conference
26/04 – 20:45 to 21:00 – Paddock Uncut
28/04 – 15:45 to 16:20 – The F1 Show
02/05 – 20:30 to 21:00 – The F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
26/04 – 21:30 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
27/04 – 09:55 to 11:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/04 – 13:55 to 15:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/04 – 10:55 to 12:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/04 – 13:55 to 15:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/04 – 13:00 to 15:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Formula E – Paris (online via YouTube)
28/04 – 06:55 to 07:55 – Practice 1
28/04 – 09:25 to 10:10 – Practice 2

Formula E – Paris
28/04 – 10:30 to 12:00 (Eurosport 2)
=> 10:30 – Preview
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
28/04 – 10:45 to 12:10 – Qualifying (5Spike)
28/04 – 14:30 to 16:20 – Race (5Spike)
28/04 – 16:35 to 18:00 – Race Delayed (Eurosport 2)
29/04 – 11:40 to 12:45 – Highlights (Channel 5)

British Touring Car Championship – Donington Park (ITV4)
29/04 – 10:40 to 18:20 – Races

Formula Two – Azerbaijan (Sky Sports F1)
27/04 – 07:55 to 08:55 – Practice
27/04 – 11:55 to 12:35 – Qualifying
28/04 – 08:55 to 10:10 – Race 1
29/04 – 10:05 to 11:05 – Race 2

World Rally Championship – Argentina
Every stage live via WRCPlus.com
26/04 – 23:00 to 00:00 – Live: Stage 1 (BT Sport 1)
28/04 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 12:30 to 13:00 (BT Sport 2)
28/04 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Live: Stage 10 (BT Sport 2)
28/04 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Live: Stage 14 (BT Sport/ESPN)
29/04 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 12:30 to 13:00 (BT Sport 2)
29/04 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Live: Stage 16 (BT Sport 2)
29/04 – 16:00 to 17:30 – Live: Stage 18 [Power Stage] (BT Sport/ESPN)
30/04 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 09:30 to 10:00 (BT Sport 1)
01/05 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

As always, the above will be updated if anything changes.

A quick-fire guide to your motor racing streaming services for 2018

Over the years, this site has tended to cover television coverage more than other forms of media, with weekly television schedules whenever there is a Formula 1 race on. The site also has a dedicated page covering all the key UK television and radio contracts.

But, alongside your traditional methods, many championships allow you to watch their action online. Here, we look at what each championship offers directly to the consumer, bypassing the broadcasters, or not as the case may be. This article is aimed at UK readers, but the information may be useful for overseas readers as well.

Note – This is an experimentation post and may not cover every single series out there. Please leave a comment if you find this useful and would like to see this repeated in future with updated information.

Dorna Sports (review)
The commercial rights holder for MotoGP and World Superbikes, Dorna Sports have over-the-top platforms for both. Every session, including support races, airs live on the over-the-top platform with a dedicated on-site team. Full-length replays are available if you missed the action first time round, with the fan able to view the action from a variety of on-board camera angles. Access to the respective platforms also unlock MotoGP’s and World Superbikes’ rich archive.

Available via desktop, Android and Apple devices, the MotoGP package is priced at £174.36 for the complete season, or £44.45 in four instalments. The World Superbikes offering is considerably cheaper than MotoGP at £60.98 for the season, or £13.00 per month. Even considering the smaller calendar, on a per-race weekend basis, the MotoGP price works out at £9.18, whilst the Superbikes offering is just £4.69, a sign of their respective popularity.

Formula E
Despite being one of the newer series in this list, surprisingly the electric Formula E championship does not have an over-the-top platform. Fans wanting to watch the action can find some live coverage on Formula E’s YouTube channel, but the availability depends on territory. UK fans can watch live practice on their YouTube channel, but no further than that.

The geo-blocking restrictions are lifted after the session for practice and qualifying, whilst full races are made available several weeks after the race, although one might argue that they have lost their value by that point in time. The lack of an over-the-top platform currently may come and bite them back in a few years’ time, especially considering the recent developments from Formula 1.

Formula One Management
Announced in February, Formula 1 has confirmed that their streaming service will launch ready for the Spanish Grand Prix in May. At launch, F1 TV Pro will be available via desktop and will only contain Formula 1 coverage; with other devices, and the appearance of the feeder series’ coming later in the year.

However, UK fans will not have access to the premium version due to the television agreements already in place. Barring some form of new arrangement between Formula One Management and Sky, do not expect UK fans to be able to access F1 TV Pro until 2025. F1 TV Access though, is another question…

GT Sport Organisation
GT Sport created and is responsible for the Euroformula Open and the International GT Open, both of which air live in the UK on BT Sport.

As with other championships on a similar footing, GT Sport live streams the action on their two YouTube channels, covering qualifying and the race: EuroFormulaOpen and GTOPENseries. English commentary comes from Ben Evans, who fans in the UK may recognise from BT Sport’s IndyCar coverage.

IndyCar
Unlike Supercars below, IndyCar does not currently offer an over-the-top product for overseas fans of the championship. Race Control only extends as far as live timing, but no visual imagery is involved. However, its social media offering is comprehensive, with live streaming of its feeder Indy Lights series, as well as live action from practice via their various outlets.

For fans without access to BT Sport, the full US race programme from either ABC, ESPN or NBC is uploaded to IndyCar’s YouTube channel around four days after the event. With IndyCar’s domestic rights in the US changing for 2019 in NBC’s favour, the streaming picture could change as well.

SRO Motorsports Group
Not to be confused with GT Sport’s portfolio of championships, SRO Motorsports Group is the commercial rights holder for several of the leading GT championships worldwide. If you are into GT racing, the GTWorld YouTube channel, operated by SRO, is the place to be.

It is on YouTube where SRO live stream the likes of the Blancpain GT Series and the British GT, for free. In addition, the Blancpain website plays host to live streaming of the GT Series.

Supercars
Not in Australia? No problem. The Virgin Australia Supercars streaming service SuperView gives fans outside of Australia the ability to live stream, rewind and replay every Supercars qualifying and race session in 2018. The restriction that previously applied to the Australian Grand Prix weekend was lifted for 2018, meaning that all events are now available on the service.

Priced at £32.80 based on the current conversion rate for the complete season, SuperView is a steal if you are looking to watch some motor racing action at your leisure throughout 2018. With 16 races across the year, the series costs UK fans just £2.05 per race weekend.

World Rally Championship (review)
From 2018, rally fans can view every World Rally Championship stage live. For £7.79 a month, or £77.98 for a complete year, fans can watch every stage either live or on-demand across a variety of devices.

However, you can only do that up and until the next rally comes along: there is no way to view the ‘All Live’ content once it disappears from the schedule a few days after the event finishes. Whilst the live element is great, WRC’s over-the-top product is still rough around the edges which is worth bearing in mind if you are unlikely to watch the action in a timely fashion. Nevertheless, WRC’s pricing structure remain extremely good value for money.

Are there any other major championships that have streaming capability that I have not mentioned? Have your say in the comments below.