Cars Motorsport Ratings

RATINGS WATCH: SANDOWN 500

BIG GAINS for both Channel 10 and FOX Sports made the Penrite Oils Sandown 500 one of the most watched races of the 2019 Supercars Championship.

WORDS: Richard Craill IMAGES: Mark Walker

DID BEING at the end of the Pirtek Enduro Cup instead of the beginning boost the Sandown 500’s TV ratings? Was it all of the lead-in drama following McLaughlin’s Gold Coast crash or was it the shift away from footy finals in September to clear air in November that did the trick?

It’s probably the latter – aside from some horse racing there was zero sporting competition over the weekend – but either way, Sunday’s 500km enduro in Melbourne ended up 25% up on the same race last year.

A total of 482,000 viewers on FOX Sports and Channel 10 (in metro areas) watched the race on Sunday afternoon.

It’s the biggest year-on-year gain for a single race this season, outside of the Perth double-header which was shown on free-to-air this year compared to FOX Sports-only in 2018.

Channel 10’s Sunday audience of 257,000 was up 17% on last year while FOX Sports’ continued their impressive gains: their audience of 225,000 up 37% on the 166,000 who watched the Sandown classic in 2018.

Of the pair, it’s likely the Subscription provider who has benefited the most out of the calendar reshuffle this year.

Only five races / sessions have drawn more than 200,000 on FOX Sports this year, Sandown sitting in fourth-place of the 30 races (and the Bathurst shootout) they have shown.

Overall, the Sandown 500 becomes the sixth-most watched race or session of the year, behind Bathurst’s race and Shootout, and the Sunday races in Adelaide, the Grand Prix and Gold Coast.

More people watched the Sandown 500 than either of the prime-time Perth SuperNight Events earlier this year, though they did clash with Football.

SATURDAY saw a different format this year which makes comparing like-for like slightly harder.

For starters, the two ‘race to the grid’ events were much further apart on the schedule this year, but they also paid points for the first time.

Also, with Channel 10 committed to their coverage from Flemington, Saturday reverted to being FOX Sports-only this year.

Regardless, plenty watched via Pay TV: 161,000 saw the excellent Co-Drivers Cup (Race 28) and then 184,000 the final Race to the Grid sprint (Race 29) later in the evening.

Both are up significantly on the 99,000 and 129,000 who watched the same races on FOX Sports last year, though 187,000 were joining them on Channel 10 as well.

Interestingly, just 136,000 (metro) watched the horses on 10 on Saturday afternoon.

AS WE predicted earlier in the year, the blockbuster run home was always going to deliver strong numbers.

Year-on-year, Channel 10’s ratings are slightly (1%) higher than at the same time last year, while FOX Sports are up 19% to the same point.

On our numbers, the total cumulative audience for 2019 of 9.46 million people has already eclipsed the total 2018 number, with two races remaining.

It will be interesting to see if the lack of a title showdown will hurt the Newcastle TV ratings in two weeks time: Last year’s Grand Final was the third-most watched Supercars race in 2018 (behind the Bathurst race and Shootout) with a combined audience of 567,000.

We’ll present the full breakdown of each race following the Newcastle event in two weeks time.

Ratings Watch Archive – Click Here

SOURCES: TV Tonight, Mediaweek, TV Black Box.

(NOTE: Numbers are overnight metro (5 capital city) and Foxtel ratings supplied by ratings agency OzTam to media outlets. They do not include any additional reporting, including time shifted content, regional ratings or broader reach, unless released by the sport. They also do not include streaming numbers on Kayo or SuperView, etc).