Motorsport News Ratings

RATINGS WATCH: SUPERCARS SYDNEY RETURN

SUPERCARS returned to the track on Saturday and Sunday which also ensured a return to TV land as well. Here’s now the numbers stood up.

WORDS: Richard Craill IMAGE: Mark Horsburgh / Supercars

THE EXCITING return of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship to TV – at least in real-world racing form – delivered ratings which can best be described as solid.

While missing out on the enormous audiences AFL and NRL drew on their returns across the last month, the numbers on Fox Sports 506 were relatively consistent with ‘SuperSprint’ rounds across the 2019 championship year.

On both Saturday and Sunday, Supercars coverage on Fox Sports slotted in behind only the two footy codes on Fox League and Fox Footy.

Race 7 on Saturday was seen by an average audience of 120,000 and was the 12th most watched program on Subscription TV on Sunday.

Proving there’s still large audiences to be had on the platform, the (apparently thrilling) NRL clash between the Eels and Raiders drew a massive 319,000 in prime-time on Saturday night.

The Shootout, qualifying, ‘The Grid’ and both practice sessions made it into the top 20 – the practice sessions drawing over 50,000 which is better than 90% of practice sessions shown in 2019.

On Sunday, Nick Percat’s thrilling win in Race 8 was seen by 106,000 people and was the ninth most-watched show on STV, while McLaughlin’s drive to victory in Race 9 was seen by a much-improved 132,000, the sixth-best show.

The top-rated show on Fox on Sunday was the NRL, with 209,000 catching the Bulldogs v Wests Tigers match.

ANALYSIS

The completely re-shuffled calendar will make like-for-like comparisons difficult this year, but overall Sydney’s numbers line up with several of the ‘SuperSprint’ rounds – Winton, QR, Phillip Island etc – seen in 2019.

The different format also changes things up, especially on a Sunday where the 200km races seen last year would start and finish much later than Race 9 did yesterday.

Of anything, the early finish on Sunday probably hurt the numbers the most as they missed the push into prime-time when ratings generally surge, as seen by the League numbers Saturday night.

Though not a new thing, the heady competition with AFL and NRL also saw audiences spread across both codes, and Supercars as well.

Finally, as Kayo continue to not release any of their audience data publicly we still don’t know how many have abandoned Foxtel and shifted purely to the streaming service.

Our attempt to work out how many additional people watched via streaming services last year indicated that potentially more than 120,000 saw each round via streaming last year.

There’s every chance that that number may have grown as people look to save their pennies in 2020, but until they release some digits we’ll never truly know for sure.

Broadly speaking, the numbers from Sydney are solid and on Sunday competed extremely well with the footy codes on a busy day of sports.

The fact people in decent numbers watched all the way through practice, qualifying and the races on both days will be pleasing to the series and Fox Sports – an indication that the hardcore fans were all tuning in for the whole day.

Finally, a tweet from our friends at the V8 Sleuth exposed another issue that may have hurt;

For those playing at home, the Herald Sun is for all intents and purposes owned by the same people who own and operate Fox Sports and, indeed, Kayo.

You’d think promoting your own product in another of your own product would be a good idea, right?

Winton, and the hopeful return of support categories, is next.

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 and freely available. They also do not include streaming numbers on Kayo or SuperView, etc).