By Keith Melrose 12:45pM 2 JAN 2017
THE much-anticipated debut of ITV’s new live racing show on New Year’s Day attracted an average audience of 676,000 viewers, an increase on Channel 4’s audience for the same fixture in recent years.
Figures obtained from ITV show viewing figures peaked at 831,000 as racing returned to Britain’s leading commercial channel on Sunday following a 32-year absence.
The viewing figures compare favourably with the final two years of Channel 4’s New Year’s Day coverage, when an average audience of 558,000 tuned in 12 months ago and 601,000 in 2015.
ITV’s first broadcast, which introduced members of a new team that on day one included new front man Ed Chamberlin, Sir Anthony McCoy and Luke Harvey, along with betting ring reporter Matt Chapman, was met with mixed reaction from the public.
Chapman, whose forays into the betting ring proved particularly divisive, said: “This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s a brilliant sport and we’ll do our best to show that.”
From now until the Cheltenham Festival the channel’s coverage will be shown on ITV4, starting from Saturday, when the new morning programme will launch at 10am.