The 2009 FIM MotoGP World Championship is turning out to be one of the most closely contested and unpredictable title battles in recent times and the excitement of this year’s Grand Prix racing is having a highly positive effect on the sport’s viewing figures, with the British Grand Prix last weekend enjoying particularly strong numbers.
Figures provided on behalf of MotoGP commercial and media rights holders Dorna Sports make for impressive reading, as the MotoGP race at Donington Park saw record BBC audience figures which peaked at 2.9 million viewers and the UK’s national broadcaster reported an average audience share of 23%.
The BBC’s coverage of Andrea Dovizioso’s maiden MotoGP race win, which also saw a solid performance from home rider James Toseland in sixth place, brought in an average audience of 2.8m – a 50% increase on the BBC usual MotoGP audience and an increase on the previous best average audience record by a million viewers.
In Spain, national broadcasters TVE saw 2.34 million people tune in for Sunday’s race, giving them a 22.9% audience share as MotoGP pulled in more viewers in Spain than the final day of the Tour de France, won this year by Spaniard Alberto Contador, and the Hungarian Formula 1 race.
German broadcaster DSF, meanwhile, enjoyed an audience of 410,000 for the Donington Park contest, a significant increase on the 270,000 viewers who watched last year’s British Grand Prix in Germany.
In Italy, live viewing figures for the recent MotoGP races as national hero Valentino Rossi edges ahead in the championship have also been noteworthy.
Dovizioso’s superb performance and Rossi’s important fifth place finish despite a midrace crash, were watched live by 4.03 million fans on Italia 1 (a 39% audience share), whilst the visits to Mugello for Italy’s home race and Rossi’s amazing win at Catalunya earlier this year were enjoyed by 6.79 million and 5.98 million viewers respectively.