Formula E claim they had over 60,000 spectators attend Battersea Park for the final weekend’s racing of the inaugural season for the series. Daily tickets ranged from £8-60 for non-hospitality packages.
However, Wandsworth Council decided to make parking as difficult as possible for race goers. There was no dedicated parking offered and hundreds of pay and display parking bays adjacent to the park were made into temporary additional ‘local permit’ parking. Almost 50% of these were vacant just an hour before the final race of the season.
More importantly, with no Formula One last weekend, Formula E captured the attention of the British TV viewing public’s imagination in a way the CEO of Formula E ‘couldn’t have dreamed of’.
On Saturday, the event was aired live on ITV4 and pulled combined viewer numbers of 900,000 between the live and ITV highlights programmes.
On Sunday, the qualifying and race were broadcast on the main ITV channel. Live viewing figures show 1.2 million people watched Sam Bird win his home GP and Nelson Piquet Junior win the Formula E drivers’ title.
By comparison, Formula One when shown live only on SKY’s UK TV platform, draws around 700,000 viewers. And this is an improved number on previous years due to SKY providing some races on their SKY Sports 1 channel and not exclusively on SKY F1. Just under 4 million viewers watch European F1 races in the UK when BBC broadcast a live event.
The TV camera worked has improved vastly over the Formula E season, and the nature of the circuits and the close racing presents an exciting viewing proposition.
The switch from ITV4 to ITV appears to have boosted the number of viewers too. Free to air TV clearly works for the viewers.
With better promotion and visibility in year two, Formula E can surely only go from strength to strength with the TV viewer and in 2016, there will be the added interest of different engines on offer from different manufacturers. Currently all cars run the Renault-Spark power unit.