W Series ‘smashed estimates’ with 400,000 UK viewers for championship’s first race

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W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir says the championship attracted a far bigger UK television audience than expected for its first live race.

Over 400,000 viewers tuned into the live broadcast of the inaugural W Series race at the Hockenheimring, according to the championship. Bond Muir told RaceFans the championship is an example of how women’s sport has become ‘acceptable’ to more viewers.

“Three years ago people were saying ‘But people don’t watch women’s sport’,” she said. “But even [on] Channel 4 we absolutely knocked out of the park is the internal estimates of the audience. And I think that’s happened throughout the world even though we’ve got to get the stats back from that.”

The first W Series race was broadcast in more than 50 different countries. The company this week announced a new broadcast deal to show its races on NBC in the United States.

“I could never have forecast in our first season that we would get the broadcast coverage that we did,” she said. “And also it’s almost on a weekly basis.”

Sponsors are increasngly keen to back women’s sport, she added. “The major global sponsors are giving announcements saying they’re going to put the same amount of money into the women’s football as they do for the men’s football. And then Adidas is saying that they are going to match the bonuses for the Women’s World Cup.

“So what is happening with the big corporates is that three years ago, or in 2013, over 97% of all sports sponsorships was going into men’s sport. That is changing significantly.”

Will W Series encourage more women to take up motor racing? Read @DieterRencken’s exclusive interview with Catherine Bond Muir in today’s edition of his RacingLines column on RaceFans.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 14 comments on “W Series ‘smashed estimates’ with 400,000 UK viewers for championship’s first race”

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      22nd May 2019, 7:56

      Fantastic, and look at the immediate impact for Jamie Chadwick having already been snapped up by Williams. Having a series for young women to aspire towards as a huge high profile stepping stone can only be a good thing. Even just sitting down with your daughter and watching the race has a great impact for showing that motorsport is for women and in fact everyone. Hopefully a time will come in the future when the series isn’t even required, but for now I can only see positive impacts.

    2. Great to hear that the public is getting behind the series. So far the racing has been close and entertaining. Some people complain the cars are slow or that the drivers do not have the talent to succeed in other series.
      Honestly I don’t care about that, I just want to see good racing and good motorsport. And W Series is delivering on that.
      Motorsport is the sport I care most about, and having it as a basically exclusively male sport is almost embarrassing. I think female race drivers have had an unfair disadvantage in motorsport and it is great to see something being done to try address that.

    3. I know viewing figures can often be taken with a pinch of salt, but if these are correct, they’re about half of what Sky are getting for live F1. I only hope that should W Series become part of the F1 race weekend, as has been rumoured, it doesn’t end up behind a pay wall or shoved into a time when no one will watch.

    4. It is a very solid number. Shows that everyone who is interested in Motorsport was probably having a look – again showing how foolish the Sky Paywall is limiting the F1 viewership.

      I would be most curious to see how viewership for following events was / is. The first one is a lot about curiosity, it is likely to be lower for the further races.

    5. Electroball76
      22nd May 2019, 13:46

      Ah! I had no idea this was on live in UK. As someone who has given up on F1 this season, after 3 decades of watching, I might have to give this a try instead.

    6. Yeap, we were all watching for the accidents! :D

        1. Why, because he has a different viewpoint? I happen to agree. If women were so equal why do they need their own league? Race with the big boys and prove your true meddle.

      1. How are things in your cave, by the way?

    7. The free twitter live stream had 500 viewers, I don’t believe these numbers at all.

      1. Well you should because they cant just make them up. It’s pretty easy to find out if they were true

      2. Who watches anything on twitter? I didnt even know it was a thing

      3. @francorchamps17 I didn’t even know W Series had a livestream – anywhere – until this week, and thought TV was the only option. It probably wasn’t a focus of their advertising, even if that’s the only way three-quarters of the world can currently watch it.

    8. Plus Facebook & Twitter all around the world!

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