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.”