Jury out on V8 Supercars TV deal after solid start

The V8 Supercars field in Adelaide

The V8 Supercars field in Adelaide

The full impact of V8 Supercars’ new media rights deal on audience size won’t become clear until the first of Fox Sports’ exclusive live events later this month.

Ratings for the opening three races of the season, shown live on both Network Ten and Fox Sports, were strong for both channels but, as expected, show a distinct drop from Seven’s numbers last year.

Sunday’s race was watched by five-metro averages of 487,000 (Ten) and 106,000 (Fox), which combined proved 54,000 down on Seven’s 2014 figure.

Similar trends were seen on Saturday, with Race 1 achieving 195,000 (Ten) and 72,000 (Fox) and Race 2 watched by 283,000 (Ten) and 75,000 (Fox).

Those numbers compared with 381,000 and 460,000 on Seven last year, which were measured only on a four-metro basis due to the coverage running on 7mate in Perth.

While moving from the nation’s number one network, Seven, to third best performer Ten and pay network Fox was always expected to bring a decline in raw numbers for the races, the upside for teams and sponsors is the breadth of coverage.

Fox televised over 26 hours trackside across the four days, while Ten’s 18 hours was six more than Seven broadcast last year.

Adelaide is one of six events to be shown live across both Ten and Fox, with the March 27-29 Symmons Plains meeting the first of the eight in which Ten will broadcast highlights only.

After the non-championship Australian Grand Prix, the free-to-air network’s next live V8 Supercars race telecast will not take place until the Castrol Edge Townsville 400 in July.

Statements from both Ten and V8 Supercars have hailed the Clipsal 500 results as positive, with the network noting that it “dominated its timeslot in the capital cities” on Sunday with 37.8% of the commercial TV audience.

The Fox telecasts only provided 20 percent of the combined audience across the three races, but faired strongly against the pay network’s other programming.

Race 3 from Adelaide proved Fox’s second most watched program of the day behind the World Cup Cricket.

Fan response to the roll-out of Fox’s new package was meanwhile largely positive, with subscribers to the service lauding the advert free, High Definition broadcasts.

Fox Sports’ Clipsal 500 review show, Inside Supercars, will be aired tonight at 7:30pm AEDT, hosted by Greg Rust, Neil Crompton and Mark Skaife.

Ten’s motorsport magazine program, RPM, returns this Sunday at 4:00pm AEDT, which will this week be co-hosted by Matthew White and Mark Webber.

The Clipsal 500 meanwhile posted another year of outstanding attendance figures, with a weekend figure of 285,600 the third highest in the event’s 17 year history.

Sunday alone attracted 93,600 fans, which marked an increase of almost 10,000 on last year.

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