Seven hails Bathurst 12 Hour TV figures
The Seven Network has signalled intentions to retain the Bathurst 12 Hour next year after trumpeting its rating success over the V8 Supercars on Sunday.
Seven’s coverage was a landmark moment for the GT event, with the free-to-air coverage signalling the first time the race had been broadcast in its entirety.
The race was split across Seven and 7mate throughout the day, with the latter showing the opening hours in all markets and the final hour in both Melbourne and Sydney.
The Seven portion of the telecast recorded a five-metro average audience of 238,000 and a peak of 368,000, with an average of 98,000 and peak of 229,000 on 7mate.
The combined result ensured the overall average for the 12 hours was line-ball with the average that tuned into the final three hours on SBS last year, where V8 Supercars star Craig Lowndes took his Ferrari to victory.
A Seven statement hailed the Bathurst numbers as a “dominant” result over the five-metro averages of 97,000 and 19,000 for the V8 Supercars SuperTest on Network Ten and Fox Sports respectively.
Fox had kicked off its V8 Supercars coverage with a seven hour broadcast from Sydney Motorsport Park, while Ten had a one-hour highlights package from 4:00pm.
The Fox broadcast marked an opportunity for the network to test out its range of new technologies ahead of the season-opening Clipsal 500, which will be one of six events also televised live on Ten.
The weekend’s ratings comparison had been much anticipated following controversy over the clash between the Bathurst 12 Hour and V8 Supercars test events.
Seven, which lost the V8 Supercars rights to the Fox/Ten partnership at the end of last season, signed the 12 Hour under a one-year deal, which is understood to contain a four-year option for renewal.
“That’s our plan,” a Seven spokesman told Speedcafe.com when asked whether it will renew for 2016. “It’s a great event.”
Although dwarfing the SuperTest numbers, the 12 Hour remains a long way from V8 Supercars’ flagship Bathurst 1000, which reached a five-metro average audience of 1.4 million for its eight-hour epic last year.
Bathurst 12 Hour promoter James O’Brien told Speedcafe.com that he will soon “have a sit down with Seven” to discuss the future, but stressed that the race will continue to be streamed online regardless of its television package.
“Any discussion we have about TV there will be a requirement to have the race streamed internationally,” he said, having also targeted increasing the involvement of international GT teams as a major growth area for the race.
“I think the future is live streaming but at the moment TV is still king, so we’ve got the best of both worlds.”
Both the 12 Hour and SuperTest claimed record crowds over the weekend, with Bathurst’s three-day attendance of 32,294 an increase of more than 6,000 on 2014.
V8 Supercars released a figure of 27,000 for its free-to-attend SuperTest, which was increased to a two-day event for the first time this year.
Several V8 Supercars paddock figures, including Team Penske’s Tim Cindric, Erebus Motorsport’s Betty Klimenko and Tekno Autosports’ Jonathon Webb were notable attendees of both events across the weekend.
While O’Brien has pointed to the benefits of increased publicity for his race due to the date clash with V8 Supercars, a repeat of the scenario is expected to be avoided next year.
The Bathurst marathon has again been slated for early February, although the exact date will not be locked in until after further consultation with Seven.
V8 Supercars blamed this year’s clash on Fox’s busy summer schedule, which included the recent Asian Cup soccer and the Cricket World Cup, which starts this weekend.
Although giving no assurances of avoiding a clash, V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton has hinted that the test will be able to revert to a mid-February date next year.
“Next year there is not the clutter,” Warburton told Speedcafe.com of the 2016 sports schedule.
“To be completely honest the thing that interests me is the break for the teams. This year was a week earlier for them.
“We’ll make the decision when we look at the calendar.”
The V8 Supercars calendar is traditionally unveiled at the Sandown 500 in September.
Nissan, which had been at the centre of the date clash controversy due to its ultimately unsuccessful push to have V8 Supercars star Rick Kelly at Bathurst, took a famous victory in Sunday’s 12 Hour with international trio Katsumasa Chiyo, Wolfgang Reip and Florian Strauss.
CLICK HERE for more on Nissan’s victory