Sky Sports Speedway Grand Prix Viewing Figures: 2012 Worst Year Since Records Began

Despite the extremely rare notional ‘drama’ of a Speedway Grand Prix series actually remaining undecided until almost the last race of the season, the “most exciting ever” 2012 series saw average UK viewer numbers reach an all time low of 67,454. Worse still, these awful figures exclude the likely deleterious impact of the inaugural New Zealand Speedway Grand Prix viewing figures (indeed, some speculated beforehand that the actual attendance (15,000) in Auckland might well dwarf the size of the UK television audience for the event). Recent audience history is here while the full horror story of 2012 is laid out below:

Even the relentless optimism and misapprehensions of the boosters employed or co-opted by BSI/IMG – who repeatedly ignore the evidence of their own eyes to exaggeratedly talk up the SGP product in the print, online and broadcast media – must surely now see that the turgid live televised diet of so-called “Grand Prix stars” clearly completely fails to excite the British speedway public? Leaving aside the irony of their suggestions that more “Grand Prix stars” on regular show could ‘save’ the Elite League (a competition the SGP series itself structurally wreaks huge havoc upon), solutions have to be found to the burgeoning host of problems that now beset the increasingly stale fare served up by Speedway Grand Prix.

These problems continue to mount, despite claims to the contrary. Whether it’s meeting format, rider selection, race quality, commentary, track quality, gamesmanship or machinery – something needs to be done to convince Sky Sports (who, nowadays, relegate the SGP to the satellite equivalent of sports Siberia – Sky Sports 4) that the Speedway Grand Prix series can actually realistically attract back some of the huge number of viewers who’ve gone missing over recent years! Something also needs to be urgently done to stop erstwhile ‘major’ sponsors like Monster Energy beginning to reconsider their “investment” in the sport. Or worse still, maybe, even begin to question the bona fides of the growth trajectory, demographics and audiences putatively associated with the BSI Speedway Grand Prix or the World Team Cup.

In the face of the brute reality of these British viewing figures falling off the cliff, relentlessly enthusiastic talking up of the likely impact of the young blood/stars of the future (finally included on a limited basis in the 2013 SGP series) is no longer the sole best option to restore the lost audience. Let alone a solution to the real and present danger posed to future sponsorship revenues by the serious ongoing decline in popularity amongst British armchair consumers of this self-proclaimed speedway ‘world’ championship.

Methodology note and thanks: How BARB compiles their figures is explained here. Once again, these British audience television-viewing figures are kindly and diligently compiled by Charles McKay.


Update on 27th January 2013

John Lonsdale on Speedway Plus website comments: “Have just today spoken to Sky Sports who said there will be no grand prix on Sky this year. So once again speedway loses out on coverage. Not all of us can travel, Sky need to be told keep it going. Email them, ring them and threaten to take the sports package off. It needs lots of us to do it, not just one or two.”

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83 Responses to Sky Sports Speedway Grand Prix Viewing Figures: 2012 Worst Year Since Records Began

  1. Dave Birch
    March 1, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    sky cancelled! joke!

  2. Caroline
    March 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    My opinion is the same as everyone on here, I only subscribe to SKY for Speedway, and along with everyone else, am so looking forward to the start of the season. No GP’s is a disgrace. I will also be cancelling SKY.

  3. Steve
    March 6, 2013 at 9:41 am

    That’s it. I cannot take anymore from Sky – I am cancelling the whole lot, not just sport.

  4. brian l
    March 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    well ive finally cacelled my sky sports no speedway so whats the point!!!!!!

  5. Andrew
    March 7, 2013 at 7:41 am

    No one in my home watches sports except for myself. i have sky sports package purely for speedway, as all other speedway followers, i hope, NO SPEEDWAY=NO SKY PACKAGE

  6. tony
    March 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Wake up sky sports and read these comments

  7. Clive Matthews
    March 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Over the winter I cancelled Sky sports as I only want speedway. I was offered a half price subscription for the next 6 months , so I accepted at 7-30 last eve. I now learn that speedway GP’s will not be covered so within 20 hours I rang to cancel & was told that I have to pay £14.50 anyway ! After threatening to cancel the whole Sky package they have agreed to dispense with this demand. Where is the customer loyalty these days ? Clive Matthews (Dorset)

  8. Anthony Weaver
    March 8, 2013 at 10:06 am

    An awful, ill researced article.

    To bring some REALITY into this. Every meeting was in the top 5 most viewed programmes on its channel. 7 of the 11 GP’s were in the top 2 most viewed programmes.

    The article bases its attack on the viewing figures which are lower quite simply because the majority of meetings were broadcast on Sky Sports 4. A channel far less widely available and one on which ALL shows attract lower figures.

    In fact, one only has to look at the 3 GP’s shown on Sky Sports 3, the average there was 97,333 compared to 56,250 on Sky Sports 4.

    Flawed article and one would expect better from Mr Scott.

  9. March 8, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    how many viewers watch darts compared to speedway surely you should cater for all sports and as long as people view what the heck sky will loose a lot of customers so perhaps anothe net work will take it up ie. premier perhaps

  10. Steve hine.
    March 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Steve hine. Grasstrack rider and lifelong speedway fan.
    I only had sky for speedway.
    Canceled. Utter bolloks.

  11. Clive curtis
    March 9, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Sky sports just cancelled, no SGP is a disgrace and now looking to purchase freeview HD so I cancel whole sky package.
    Hope Eurosport get it and let Toby and Julian commentate as they are the best ber none.

  12. Mike Stanbra
    March 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Can completely see SKY’s argument. How can they justify spending thousands of pounds on covering events which less than 0.5% of the population watch. Audience figures for Monday night matches are even worse.

  13. Greg speed
    March 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    The thing is, is that sky sports will show one meeting a week and maybe two when the gp’s are on, the rest of the week is just football, so why in the hell would someone who just wants to watch speedway, pay an extra 45pound a week, for something speedway fans probably don’t want………..ridiculous

  14. March 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Brian Kent
    Sky sports cancelled, only had it for the speedway.

  15. March 11, 2013 at 9:52 am

    shame on you sky sports,many speedway fans only subscribe for your speedway ,i will also cancel my sky package.john drage..

  16. John Davy
    March 12, 2013 at 4:07 am

    I asked sky about the possabilty of allowing fans to watch speedway/SGP on pay per view like they do on box office but was told that we pay for the whole package or nothing, I feel that Sky customer service stinks. SKY HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED & HAVE INSTALLED A FREESAT SYSTEM

  17. Gary....Salisbury
    March 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Announced today British Eurosports HD 3 year GP live deal ! Get in !

  18. John Miles
    March 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    john miles
    Sky, what are you doing
    Give us back the GPs as its great TV
    short sited

  19. reedvillagehall
    March 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    BSI needs to get it’s act together and realise Sky needs viewers. They have done a fantastic job on the GP series often when the entertainment is very poor. No one has mentioned the slick track conditions compared with the normal race tracks, especially in Poland. This results in less chances to over take and makes for boring Speedway. If you are not an enthusiast there is little excitement. Give the riders a chance to race and they would bring back the fans and viewers.

  20. sue and glenn
    March 18, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    to be fair sky have done a lot for speedway on tv, if eurosport show the gp,s great, i still like the elite league and you need sky sports for that.

  21. paul
    March 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    At least they haven’t pulled out altogether which was apparently a possibility

  22. Richard
    March 20, 2013 at 7:00 am

    I enjoyed the Speedway commentary last year, Kelvin Tatum and his colleagues really made the viewing worthwhile with their enthusiasm and ooh’s and ah’s, watched one meeting on Premier Sports; never again.

  23. March 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Understandable. The format is old hat and the tracks prepared too slick for the UK spectator. Lets stick to our homegrown structure, sure Tai is our standalone representative anyway. Shocking to watch at times, would prefer a Champions League team style competition which really counts!

  24. t fletcher
    March 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Ahhh bloody aussie commentry on euro sport relly annoying,like watching home and away hope these pair aint on all series ,plus no pit interveiws:-(

  25. John
    March 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Commentary is painful like one of those immature 4X adverts! Speedway is dying slowly, I’ve been a fan since 1969 when stadiums were packed, you have to realise people wont travel hundreds of miles if there is a cloud in the sky because one drop of rain end of show and the GP is now suffering from lack of characters.

  26. Robbie Owens
    March 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I’m gutted it’s not on Sky anymore. They can show cricket highlights 4 times in a day but not Speedway once. It must be about the money which is another joke considering the amount of money they charge.

  27. Darryn Saunders
    March 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Eurosport had highlights of the NZ GP on Saturday night! I found this but surprise & thought it was from a week ago, not the same day!! Good news for me as I have never had Sky Sports, fingers crossed Eurosport show all the GP meetings. Heat 20 is definitely worth a watch on You Tube!!

  28. R.McArdle
    April 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Sky charge a ridiculous price for the sports package, for which I pay for purely for speedway. Most of us cannot travel to World GPs and would therefore never see them when not on TV. I can go and watch my own team once a week, but can’t see top world riders fighting for the Championship. I will be cancelling Sky Sports, thank god for Eurosport.

  29. dean
    April 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    My word, only just found out this, just set up sky sports ready for gp, and boom, gone, will be cancelling in morning, with virgin so won’t cancel the lot, just sky football channel, I mean skysports.

  30. Tony Button
    October 19, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    sent to Sky today –

    Since your ‘live chat’ guys are unable to confirm that there will be any coverage of speedway in 2014, please cease my subscription to sky sport channels with immediate effect. Please record my protest at this loss of the sport, especially given that it follows the very reduced coverage offered this year. With absolutely no interest whatsoever in football, golf, tennis etc, I will forego the F1 coverage and save the £22 per month. Sky had this subscription throughout the last winter before we became aware that international speedway events had been dumped from the schedule and only league racing remained.
    With absolutely no on-screen promotion, it is little wonder that sky claims low viewing figures. The Sky coverage was 1st class with Keith Huewen as a brilliant anchor man with guests, and the Nigel Pearson / Kelvin Tatum commentary duo. While Eurosport have gained the Pearson / Tatum commentary, the anchor / link team is abysmal. However, better Eurosport coverage than none…!
    We have a British world champion and Brit speedway has never been in better shape. Sky could have done so much more to promote this sport to the benefit of both Sky and Speedway. You have chosen to believe that spending countless millions on soccer is the only diet the uk public wants. While some will subscribe and watch the odd match, it is bike sport that fuels our passion and opens our wallets!
    With regrets,

    Tony Button.

  31. November 19, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    My wife and I have been Speedway fans since 1946 and if Sky cancels the Speedway coverage in 2014 we will be cancelling our subscription plus the Broadband.
    I can assure you we won’t be the only ones a lot of our friends will be doing the same.

    Please think again Sky.

    Eric Jolly Berkshire.

  32. Kevin
    November 27, 2013 at 11:06 am

    The issue is this ! Anyone can kick a football and pretend they are a footballer, fall over and cry about it, not eveyone has the (ball’s) opportunity or tenacity to get on a speedway bike and race. I rode in the 70s with no air fences, no frills and saw another rider die at my feet (Stuart Shirley, never forgotten) Broke my neck (4th vertabra) and rode again. All two wheeled motor sports have always been in the minority, because it’s tough and technical, men can’t sit around in a pub all night and talk about “what size jet and gearing would you use for that track” or “he needs to retard his timing for a bit more drive on this track” Football fans are like sheep, they lack imagination and excitment in there lives, always willing to follow and never try another sport they don’t understand. I met my wife three years ago and she had never heard of Speedway in her life, I took her to Wolverhampton, she is now a bigger fan than me! She had never seen anything so exciting, thrilling and as dangerous in her life. If only more people could experience it first hand, they might understand what they are missing. SKY are sheepherders, easy money from the woolly sheep filling the fields, Speedway fans are the foxes in the woods, always trying to inflitrate the sheep, but getting shot at by the sheepherders.
    ……Speedway is Gladiators for the 21st Century

  33. Steve
    August 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Unfortunately everyone who has posted on here does not see the true picture of Speedway and the state British speedway is currently in. MONEY is the key factor these days in any sport and speedway is no different. Riders have to fund all their own equipment and only get paid on a point by point basis so they could travel from Glasgow to the Isle of wight score nothing and then get home again having not earned a penny. The induction of foreign riders is also an issue, a Polish or Swedish rider can sign for an English club and they would get a deal including a van and its fuel paid for, they could also get an appearance fee for each match and quite possibly 2 new bikes thrown in part of European working directive i am led to believe. A British rider (who could quite possibly be a better rider) would just get the usual pay per point and that is it. Sweden, Poland and even now Russia are getting in on the act of paying out big money to have the best riders in their teams, but this is money that is not being recouped on gate attendances it has to come from corporate sponsorship. If you have also seen the quality of the racing from these countries in the league it is far superior too due to tracks being specially built and prepared to the highest of standards with lots of grip and differing racing lines something we don’t have in England. The British league has been almost forced in to having to pay heat leader money to second string riders barring of course the like of Tai, Darcy and Chris. (Woffinden, Ward and Holder respectively). I have no magic wand but somehow the BSPA need to get their acts together to rejuvenate our beloved sport to put it back on the map the like of which has not been seen since the late seventies. Sky are only doing what they see as a money saving/making exercise and nothing else by cutting their losses on this sport as it costs to buy the viewing rights from foreign TV stations to show the GP’s. There is only one way the sport of speedway will ever regrow and make it back on to the big time TV channels in my mind. Bring track entry prices right down and get more footfall into the tracks we do have still running in this country and get people interested again and change the race day to the same one for every track in the country (Friday or Monday). The likes of Wembley stadium hosting a world final with 100,000 people attending will never be seen again unless the people in speedway that matter do something for the sport and not themselves.

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