Speedway World Cup Viewing Figures 2012: slightly up but still second worst yet
The good news is that the 2012 FIM Monster Energy Speedway World Cup finally halted the ongoing precipitous decline of the Speedway World Cup television audience on Sky Sports. The international big name sponsorship of Monster Energy was extensively trailed and hailed as the dynamic future by themselves, the speedway trade press and rights holders BSI as sign of a bright new future for the event and, possibly, the sport. The reality was an increase over previous the year (2011) of 1,917 (2.48%) in the average television audience.
No matter how small in actual or percentage terms, any year on year increase in the average Sky Sports television audience is certainly something that the Speedway Grand Prix organisers & rights holders BSI presently can’t claim about their declining SGP viewer numbers.
These 2012 Speedway World Cup viewing figures are better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but still far short of anything that requires a celebration, let alone sign of the green shoots that might justify the organisers publicity or, even, lead to a fully-fledged recovery. Indeed, these are the second worst UK viewing figures since publicly available viewing records were kept. Despite pre-meeting cost cutting (no reserves and reducing team sizes from five to four), the team format and the competitive racing remains exciting.
Nevertheless, a glance at the recent history of the publicly available (average) viewing figures for 2006-2012, illustrates that – Monster Energy or no Monster Energy sponsorship – the popularity of the Speedway World Cup on Sky Sports has gone from robust to disastrous in quick fashion.
Even those in denial about the calculation basis of these figures (I’d note that the majority of SGP’s continue to appear on the obscure Sky Sports 3 [2011:4 2012:2] & Sky Sports 4 [2011:5 2012:8]. This is an editorial decision by Sky Sports which reflects their historical experience of the attractiveness of the Speedway Grand Prix to their viewers on a Saturday night), can’t gainsay that they reveal a downward trend. This remains undeniably disappointing news for the organisers, genuine speedway fans and sponsors alike. Average UK viewer numbers on Sky Sports are still down by over half from the 2006-2008 viewing peaks. Hopefully, small uplift in average viewers along with the genuine cut and thrust of a team format that pitches country versus country will continue excite Sky Sports in 2013 (and after) enough to continue to persevere with televising the Speedway World Cup competition in the UK.
Methodology note and thanks: How BARB compile their figures is again explained here. Once again, these British audience Sky Sports television-viewing figures are kindly and diligently compiled by Charles McKay.