It hasn’t gone unnoticed that the viewing figures for the Grand National have been sliding in recent years. The initial switch of coverage from the BBC to Channel 4 was met with some skepticism. Over the course of three years, from 2013 – 2015 the channel pulled in viewers totaling 8.9m, 8.5m and 8.8m respectively.
That figure then increased to 10 million for Channel 4’s last airing of the great race. The rights to air the race then switched to iTV in 2017 and it was thought they would be able to generate more viewers. But the numbers remained constant and 8.5 million tuned in to see Tiger Roll romp home 2018.
The much loved little horse garnered fans across the globe. As a result, iTV saw a massive bump in figures as 9.6 million watched the Gordon Elliott trained chaser take on the course once again. That translates as a whopping 12% increase. The average audience for Saturday’s show was 5.43m, which equated to a 39% share of the terrestrial TV market.
9.6 million people watched the Grand National on @itv.
(Over a million up on last year).
Plus huge increases on Thursday & Friday.
Jump racing is one very popular sport right now
— Ed Chamberlin (@chamberlinsport) April 7, 2019
One man who is more than delighted with the result is Ed Chamberlin who fronts the Grand National Festival broadcast. He said:
“When I woke up yesterday morning and saw glorious sunshine I did think, ‘Oh no’, as in television terms that’s bit of a disaster.
“Plus there was the slight fear of the FA Cup semi-final, so my hopes were tempered.
“But in Tiger Roll we had a real attraction, and we made no apologies on ITV, we tried really hard to get people to engage with Tiger Roll.”
And while Tiger Roll may have had a lot to do with the viewers, iTV’s Social Stable content, hosted by Matt Chapman and Love Island star Chris Hughes, was a hit with 4.4m video views on multiple platforms. The unlikely duo was quite the hit! As was guest panelist Bryony Frost. Having been sidelined through injury Frost was a breath of fresh air and a hit with fans.
What an amazing 3 days it’s been on @itvracing! History made along the way, showcasing our brilliant sport. Thanks for all the guests and everyone involved, been the best fun. @AintreeRaces pic.twitter.com/3EVROGXQFc
— Chris Hughes (@chrishughes_22) April 7, 2019
There is some speculation that Tiger Roll will not head back to Aintree for a third bid. But let’s hope that the world’s greatest race can still attract the big viewing figures for the Grand National 2020.