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. charlieross
    December 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    no gps sky sports cancelled in my house only reason i have sky is for speedway not interested in football anymore

  2. Andrew Farrar
    December 19, 2012 at 3:42 am

    What a splendid article and so different from the twaddle served up by the likes of Phil Rising.
    What so few people tend to realise, as they’re praising the GPs to the hilt for the “slick presentation” is that the GPs do not pay their way. If it wasn’t for monies earned in the leagues of Sweden and Poland no one could afford to ride for the pittance that the FIM and BSI cough over to the riders.
    The GPs are a luxury that the sport cannot afford.

  3. January 15, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    No sky sport speedway gps in 2013, then stuff the lot then.

  4. January 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Are Sky Sports definitely not showing the SGP in 2013? I can’t see this actually documented anywhere?

  5. Kristian Bell
    January 28, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    end of speedway and the end of my £50 per month for Sky ill cancel it

  6. J Hill
    January 28, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Fell out of love with SGP and Elite League Sky coverage a long time ago. Too much banal commentary and cutting to the studio for more BS to fill the gaps between 60 sec races in a 15-24 heat format for 2-3 hours? Sad thing is most bike fans seem to love watching speedway but the broadcasts just drag on and on. And on…….

  7. Valerie clarke
    January 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Valerie Clarke
    28th January 2013

    I cannot believe that they will not be broadcasting the GPS on sky this year. We as a family look forward to this every year. Sky wil now be cancelled. Speedway always suffers.

  8. Gwen Hardy
    January 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    It’s an absolute joke if this is true. I for one will be cancelling the Sky Sports package as we only have the sports for the speedway as it will be pointless paying out just to watch the league racing if they are going to even cover this!

  9. Peter James Dalley
    February 1, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I used to be with virgin but speedway was poor for viewing so I changed over to SKY. If Speedway is no longer ed by SKY I chall cancel my SKY PACKAGE with imediate effect.
    B L O O D Y D I S CU S T E D

  10. February 2, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    No speedway on SKY this year, what is going to replace it—ping-pong ball or marbles are maybe more boring football? 2012 was in my mind exciting and 2013 promised to be more so.Will be cancelling my subscription. DISGUSTED.

  11. Robert Simms
    February 3, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Another very unhappy Speedway fan and will be making my feelings known to Sky

  12. February 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

    agree with the comments above – sky sports has been cancelled in my house after having it solid since speedway gp was first introduced way back in – was it 1995??

  13. Raymond Marks
    February 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    It only gets worse when we hear Sky will not de covering the British league Speedway next year either when the current contract runs out this year. I phoned Sky last week on the pretence of updating my viewing package, they couldn’t even tell me what Speedway will be on Sky this year. I think it is discussing the way they are treating its own customers. Speedway had a bad season last year with so many meetings being rained off. I have never know such a bad season for the sport, however this should not be the time for Sky to panic and take the easy option of pulling the plug on Speedway and letting a lot of viewers down. I shall not be renewing my Sky package this year in protest.

  14. Kelvin Lewis
    February 5, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I have Virgin and take on Sky sports for the speedway season only. NO MORE

  15. Jamie finch
    February 5, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    What Evers going on finding out there’s going to be no gp’s on this season, just bought sky so I can see it and now it’s not on now I’ve got 12 months of sky with no speedway GP meetings £700 down the drain thanks to sky

  16. Steve
    February 6, 2013 at 6:05 am

    It may not quite be dead in the water, this was a reply from Sky yesterday when I asked about the GP and Elite League………

    “The current deal has ended, and I’m afraid we are not in a position at this time to advise what will happen with the coverage next season as the first GP race isn’t until 23rd March.

    The next Elite League will be shown on 27th March, Sky Sports 1, and will be Birmingham v Coventry”.



  17. February 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Along with so many others i only subscribe to Sky Sports to watch the Speedway, and along with so many others i will be cancelling my subscription as soon as it is prudent to do so.

  18. February 7, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    It is a fair answer from Sky if the viewing figures are to be believed, but it was mentioned that because the speedway is often tucked away on Sky Sports 3 or 4 plus the awful weather during 2012, it has limited the amount of viewers who have actually got the full package. I am sure if speedway was shown regularly on Sky Sports 1 or 2 or even on Sky then the viewing figures would rise.

    Please SKY, have another look at this and give us a year to prove we need you, and you need us. I don’t blame anyone who is considering cancelling their package, as I know many people who only subscribe to Sky for motor sport

  19. Margaret Ingham
    February 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Will it still be the ‘Sky Sports Elite League? Will that be on TV anywhere?

  20. sue, in Devon
    February 10, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I am so bitterly disappointed that there will be no Speedway GPs on TV anymore. Its a huge favorite in our house and we will also be cancelling our sky package and going with Virgin.

  21. Wendy from Poole
    February 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I had the same message as Steve, but have been following Keith Huwen and Nigel Pearson on Twitter, both are saying that they know nothing, which gives me the impression that there is no tv coverage. I have already cancelled Sky Sports, not worth the money now.

  22. Keith from London
    February 12, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Sky are missing the point the numbers may be down, but most of the people who watch GPs only have Sky for that reason. So if just 1 in 4 cancel Sky that will be 17000 less people subscribing to Sky. Thats gona hurt in the pocket of Sky. I will be giving it up. Would love to see some viewer numbers for other minority sports they still show.

  23. February 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Not sure from this article if it is going to be shown. The interesting point is that for more than 90% of the events, the GP’s finished in the top three. Now that either means Sky has lousy viewer-ship, or there are a lot of programs that fared a lot worse. It is important to note, that the show is not only viewed in UK, they sell it to other countries.
    Had thought that the show was filmed by one group that then sold rights to each body, if not, that is what is needed.

  24. February 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    premier sports who show swedish league racing could take it on keep your eyes and ears open

  25. Martyn Green (Stat Scene)
    February 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I am really upset with Sky, the ony sports I liked were Speedway & Nascar. They cancelled Nascar 2 Season ago so I got Preimer Sports. I will most definatley cancl my Sky Sports Package. I have had Sky since Day 1 & have never yes never watched a football match. I would not walk to end of Short road to watch England in the world cup final.

  26. Tony dawson
    February 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    That’s it sky sports in the bin no Sgp the end

  27. Gary....Salisbury
    February 14, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    This household subscribes to Sky only for the Speedway coverage, and my two boys have been counting down the days to seeing Darcy Ward doing the business in the 2013 GP Series. if confirmed no Gp coverage I will cancel immediately and put the £57 per month towards a mega Cardiff weekend. My kids will grow up without Sky and probably never subscribe as Adults…..Sky need to look at the big picture for the long term also.

  28. darren
    February 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Sky should just change there name to sky sports football cause that’s all there interested in football and more sodding football. Let’s hope motors picks it up or summat like that.

  29. Dave Sercombe
    February 17, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Me too, Speedway is the only television I look forward to, if I can’t watch the G.P. then I won’t subscribe to sky for league matches. A big hole is left in my life without Speedway on T.V.

  30. Tony
    February 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

    No SPEEDWAY no SKY simple as !!!

  31. Wally olsen
    February 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    As a football fan I am delighted,I am informed by a reliable source that when the current elite league speedway deal ends in 2013,sky intend to screen two live Monday night games, I know what 99.9% of sky sports subscribers want to watch on a Monday night “90 minutes of action packed football” not 3 hours of talking,replays, moley, and lets face it tame motorcycle racing in empty dirty so called stadiums.

  32. Hilary Walker
    February 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Please, please, please SKY keep the Speedway on. I am 65 and love Speedway but hate football. Too much football on TV. I will have now to consider cancelling my SKY SPORTS as what’s the point?????

  33. andrew
    February 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    First Wally olsen, there’s 4 sky sports channels and we don’t need football on all of them. Great we all want to watch 90 mins of premier league or championship football on a Monday night (with half half full stadium might we add) NO. Some people want to watch other sports like speedway.

    I worked for sky sports for the last 10 years, and a colleague has informed me that there is not going to be two football matches on a Monday, but will have different sports such as ice hockey, or replays for sports. He also stated that sky could be playing the same game as they did with the NFL with the Speedway grand prix promoters . Also there’s a meeting in may between SGB and sky regarding a new multi year contract to show elite league speedway.

  34. Damien
    February 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    total joke, I only got sky sports for speedway, I am praying this doesn’t happen but if it does, Sky Sports will be cancelled !!
    Sky Sports = Sky Football = Shit

  35. Wheats
    February 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I really hope this doesn’t happen. I can’t afford to take my family to our local track as it costs £36 per meeting (and there are sometimes 2 per week) so I pay for Sky Sports so that we can watch one meeting a week and the SGP. I will be cancelling Sky if this is the case.

  36. Wally olsen
    February 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Andrew, my “reliable source” also informs me that the 2013 speedway gp series maybe a viable option to sky sports on a pay per view basis of £19.99 per gp round, or they may consider a season ticket package at £203.88 which works out at £16.99 per round.
    Not an ideal scenario for all you speedway fans I know,but what price do you put on pleasure! I feel this would be very reasonable package.

    Wally Olsen

  37. Gary....Salisbury
    February 20, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Pay per view may be a viable option, but I think £10 may be as far as I would be willing to go. I assume you would still have to subscribe to Sky to be able to get the pay per view?

  38. Mark M
    February 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Wally, your first name says it all! i’m a massive footy fan but also love my speedway! so bore off with your negative comments!

  39. Wally olsen
    February 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Mark m’y’ words!

    WALLY Olsen.

  40. fred bareham sivers
    February 22, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    like so many of the comments above watching football is like watching paint dry what bunch of wimps they are in comparison to speedway riders and like a lot of others sky are very likely to lose out on our subscription
    fred bareham sivers

  41. Simon
    February 23, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Wally you absolute wally! The typical common football geek,how is this sport tame? Riders get serious injuries in this sport and don’t make an absolute fuss when they get a tiny tap on the ankle! Football in my opinion and a lot of others is just a common game full of over payed pussies kicking a bag full of air about,do not diss speedway it’s a real mans game and all the football coverage on sky and tv in general makes me sick,
    Sky do a brill job of covering speedway and they need to keep it up! I am another of many who will ditch sky if so for this reason,to me like many other sits our sport and without tv coverage it’s pretty much being took from us…all you football fans imagine if no tv coverage of it at all espesh the big games and euros etc….exactly! Yaaawn

  42. February 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    OMG !! Only logged on to my laptop to find out when the Elite League on Sky started …. had NO idea that the GP’s were not to be shown on Sky Sports in 2013. We love our GP’s so much can’t believe that they are not going to be on – We too will take off the Sports package….. No Chris & Darcy … No Mr Nicki Pedersen to scream at ! No watching Emil or worst of all our very own Tai. What a load of bollocks.

  43. February 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    not much more to add to all thats been said will have to cancel sky sports and go to pub!!!!!! cheers sky!!!!!

  44. Ovelak ovfundyn
    February 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    It seems that sky have over spent on the budget of football and formula 1 all to the detriment of our beloved speedway.

    Ovelak ovfundyn Sverige.

  45. Viv Greenwood
    February 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Viewing figures would have been higher if kept to advertised tv schedule without chopping and changing between SS 1 2 3 4 and not having to view half way through the meeting on ‘red’ button !!! Oh well suppose you can afford to lose us as subscribers

  46. william
    February 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    as soon as I heard sky were droping speedway I canceld as thats all I had the sports package for but have now taken sky out altogether, just so disapointed

  47. quarterjack
    February 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Think about it: How much are subscribers paying? Last year, Peter Ljung? Kenneth Bjerre? Bjarne Pedersen? This year the crazily mediocre Tai Woffinden joins as token no-hoper Englishman in the role of Chris Harris and Scott Nicholls. The lapping waves of Tomas Gollob, Nicki Pedersen and Greg Hancock becoming washed up get louder. Has-been Jarek Hampel and never-will-be Emil Sayfutdinov? Not thrilling is it?
    How many people want to pay £60 a month just to watch Darcy Ward, Chris Holder, Antonio Lindback and an occasional flash of brilliance/madness from Andreas Jonsson? Not many, and these four are the only ones that make it worthwhile.

  48. Margaret Ingham
    February 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Viv’s comment about changing channels and chopping events rings home with me. I have lost count of the times I set to record a GP before leaving home and came back on Monday to realise I had lost the lot. Doing the repeat on Sunday is no help when you are away for the weekend. They do so many other repeats, edited highlights of a GP on the following Wednesday would have attracted a lot of viewers.

  49. Margaret Ingham
    February 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I just posted the following on Sky’s facebook page. I suggest the rest of you post something similar.

    “Will you be showing speedway this season or not? I am cancelling if no speedway is shown, so are all the other speedway fans who only pay for sky sports to watch speedway. There are more of us than you think. Your viewing figures do not include watching on Sky plus or V+ on Virgin.”

  50. Thomas
    February 28, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I regret to read this guys but although it may look weird for many of you, I’d suggest to get CYFRA+ from Poland. It won’t cost you a fortune and every single SGP in HD as well with Polish Speedway Extraligue in HD you can easily watch on Canal+Sport HD this year. What’s more there’s Premiership in football, Serie A from Italy, Spanish and French football live in HD as well. It will cost u roughly 20 Pounds/monthly. All u need to do is just speak to someone from Poland and subscribe. Contracts are fro 12, 18 months.
    I am huge fan of speedway and I know what u r fealing right now.

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