- MotoGP will be ‘proven right’ on more than just sprint events
- Saturday audiences increase 51% with introduction of new format
- Figures do not include India, one of motorcycle racing’s biggest markets
- Indonesia sees 560% increase in TV audience
MotoGP has seen a 27 per cent year-over-year (YoY) increase in its weekend TV audience in the first quarter of its 2023 season.
With the addition of the new sprint format for 2023, Saturday audiences have increased by an average of 51 per cent with more competitive action on offer throughout the day.
But, this overall boost is not only attributable to sprint races, with Sunday viewership also increasing by nearly a fifth across key markets.
“We wanted to release [this data] a week ago,” Dan Rossomondo, chief commercial officer of Dorna Sports, series promoter of MotoGP, told BlackBook Motorsport.
“But we actually took our time to make sure that we weren’t bullshitting people, and that was one of the things that Carlos [Ezpeleta, chief sporting officer at Dorna Sports] and I really focused on.
“Because of the increases [due to] the sprints, we could have said some ridiculous things about the entire weekend, so we really took the time to dig through the ratings.”
Rossomondo also reveals that these global audience figures don’t include India, one of the biggest markets in the world for motorcycle racing. As MotoGP didn’t have the right numbers, they didn’t want to artificially inflate the final figure.
There has also been notable growth in some markets, with Indonesia reportedly seeing a 560 per cent increase in viewership.
But, with sprint races being a new addition to the MotoGP circuit, is there a worry that there is a certain novelty factor to this promising return?
“If we’re doing our job correctly, the novelty shouldn’t wear off,” explains Rossomondo. “It counts for the world championship standings so it’s not a gimmick. It’s something that’s here to stay and we’re going to continue to promote it.”
MotoGP’s success in this area has also seen Formula One deploy a very similar weekend format, with the modification coming ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.
Rossomondo adds: “I think there’s going to be a lot of things we’re going to be proven right about, because I think our sport is in great shape. [Sprints] are one aspect of it, but there’s going to be more as well.”
This trend in TV viewership has been reflected in attendance across race weekends, with the available data showing a 40 per increase across the first five races of the season.
MotoGP recently broke its all-time weekend attendance record at the French Grand Pirx, as nearly 280,000 fans flocked to the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans for the 1,000th International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) Grand Prix.