Sky Sports British Speedway Viewing Figures 2012: Third worst ever
The latest Sky Sports British Speedway viewing figures for the 2012 season don’t make edifying reading for speedway fans concerned about the allegedly diminishing likelihood of contract renewal.
Looking to the positive, from June to August 2012 speedway was consistently the second most popular sport on Sky Sports (after WWE) – albeit on Sky Sports 3. Clutching at straws, live British Speedway appeared three times this season on the premier Sky Sports channel (Sky Sports 1) compared to twice last season. Sadly, this is as good as the news gets…
In a nutshell, the average viewing figure of 71,809 is the third worst ever viewing figure since 2000 (70,000) and 2001 (69,285). On average 8,802 (11%) less people watched British League speedway during 2012 (particularly worrying after the signs of improvement in the 2011 figures). If you exclude the more ‘popular’ play off meetings, the fall per live televised meeting comparatively improves to only 5,563 (or 7.33%) lost viewers (on average) every week. That said, even the Play Off Final itself is less popular with the viewers in actual numbers and on average. 2012 saw Belle Vue v Wolverhampton record the second lowest ever television audience for a live meeting (35,000) – while Lakeside v Swindon (37,000) was the fourth lowest ever. Interestingly, Belle Vue v Birmingham was the most popular (100,000) regular league meeting televised live during the 2012 season.
Experts can advise on the reasons behind the decline (format, commentary, presentation, product weakness, track variability) until the cows come home or, indeed, the possible solutions. Either way, even for those in denial, these figures need urgent immediate improvement if the Sky Sports television contract for British Speedway is to be renewed.
How BARB compiles their figures is explained here. Some claim that the above figures (once again, kindly and diligently compiled by Charles McKay) don’t show the real picture. If so, please make this ‘evidence’ (publicly) available to corroborate your claims and also to ensure British speedway has the tools to better negotiate future contracts with Sky Sports to televise the sport.