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Mixed Sport TV Ratings Amid COVID-19

T
he COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the viewing habits of sports fans across the world, resulting in mixed television ratings.

Australian Open viewership drops

The Australian Open women and men’s finals both experienced drops in viewership from 2020, however, Channel 9’s broadcast won the Australian television network share figures for 14 nights in a row throughout the tournament.

Naomi Osaka’s straight-sets win over Jennifer Brady saw 849,000 tune in across Australia, with a 23.9% primary share.

This was down from 890,00 viewers in 2020.

1.173m watched Novak Djokovic dominate for his ninth Australian Open title, obtaining, 27.4% primary share in Australia.

This figure was a significant drop down from 1.524m in 2020.

Despite these ratings, Channel 9 will not seek to obtain more compensation from Tennis Australia for the broadcast rights.

With the tournament moved back two weeks into February, Nine negotiated an AUD$6m discount on their annual fee.

F1 bucks global ratings trend

The 2020 Formula One season saw Sky’s audience in the UK grow by 19.8%.

According to data from the Broadcasters Audience Research Board, Sky’s dedicated Formula One channel has achieved year-on-year growth of 2.6%, with 1.25m weekly viewers in 2020.

This is despite the shortened 2020 calendar, with Sky obtaining an average of 2.72 million viewers on race weeks – a 19.8 per cent increase on 2019.

The British broadcaster broke the three million race week viewership barrier for the first time since 2014 when Pierre Gasly claimed his first ever race win at the Italian Grand Prix.

The Bahrain Grand Prix, featuring Romain Grosjean’s shocking crash, was the most successful in the ratings, reaching 3.37m viewers in the UK.

These UK viewership statistics come amidst a global decline in Formula One, with global viewership decreasing 4.5% per year.

UK broadcasters to keep showing every Premier League match

With fans not set to return to live sporting games until May 17 in the UK, the Premier League are ensuring that all games will continue to be broadcasted on television.

This sees the Premier League extend its deal to make all matches available to fans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data from October 2020 showed a drop in average viewership amongst all broadcasters.

UK broadcaster Sky also revealed increased interest in ‘big games’, which was diluted by lessened interested in smaller games.

Viewership was up 8% for their initially selected 12 games compared to 2019, with extra, less-important matches bringing figures down significantly.

The number of fans allowed in stadiums from May 17 will depend on the type of venue, with large outdoor stadiums to be allowed up to 10,000 spectators or 25% capacity, whichever is lower.