BTCC audience increase now at 43 per cent

Official figures have revealed a continuing dramatic increase in the number of people tuning in to ITV Sport’s coverage of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in 2011. Statistics from the British Audience Research Board (BARB) show that an average 43% more viewers had watched the BTCC’s first seven rounds this season compared to the first seven in 2010.In May, a 36% increase for the opening three rounds had already been recorded compared to the same time last year.ITV Sport’s commitment to the BTCC includes around seven hours of live race day coverage from all ten of the championship’s events on its ITV4 and ITV4 HD channels. That is supported by 90-minute highlights – shown at least three times – on ITV4 and ITV4 HD and also ITV1 and ITV1 HD during the following week. Both the live and highlights broadcasts are also ‘simulcast’ on ITV’s website www.itv.com. A dedicated ITV web page www.itv.com/touringcars now shows each of the BTCC’s Saturday qualifying sessions live as well.Niall Sloane, Controller of Sport for ITV, commented: “This is yet more wonderful news for both the BTCC and motor sport enthusiasts watching on mainstream ‘free-to-air’ television in the UK.

“The championship provides dramatic, exciting racing and the latest viewing figures demonstrate how people are coming to this vibrant sport in increasing numbers.

“The BTCC is an important part of ITV’s sports content and we very much look forward to bringing our viewers coverage of all the action as the 2011 title race reaches its conclusion – I’m sure there are a few twists and stings in the tail still to come in the closing rounds at Brands Hatch (2 Oct) and Silverstone (16 Oct).”Alan Gow, BTCC Series Director, added: “For any programme to attract a continual rise in viewing figures, in an age when TV has become increasingly diversified, is impressive enough. But to attract a rise of these proportions is astonishing and speaks volumes for both the championship’s appeal and ITV Sport’s ability to deliver top-class sporting entertainment directly into people’s living rooms.

“Everyone involved in the BTCC – our teams, drivers, sponsors, partners, officials and the fans – should be immensely proud of what we are achieving.”

ITV's coverage of the BTCC will continue this weekend (1-2 Oct) with the championship's penultimate round of 2011 at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent. Its cameras will again be in force at the season finale at Silverstone, Northamptonshire (15-16 Oct).