The British GP was the first full GP weekend without The Doctor present to charm the television with his media moxie (did we mention his crash was “worth” $8 million?), and as such we get our first glimpse into what the repercussions are for MotoGP with Rossi out of commission. Checking TV viewership, MotoGP’s stop at Silverstone saw a 20% decline in total viewership when compared to the last two GP’s at Jerez and Le Mans. The result is that advertisers in some markets are asking the local stations that cover MotoGP to readjust there viewership claims and media rates to account for the loss of audience.
Looking at the numbers, it’s clear to see why some advertisers are miffed over the viewership decline. At Silverstone it was estimated that only 4.8 million viewers tuned in to watch the British GP. This accounted for about 26.89% of the commercial target, or viewers watching TV at the point in time.
At Le Mans and Jerez viewership was around 6 million viewers for each race, and attracted 36%-38% of the commercial target. It’s not that these races are at more popular venues either. The British GP attracted over 6.8 million viewers last year, and with the race moved to Silverstone for 2010, and featuring a new highly praised layout, it’s becoming easy to point the finger at the absence of Rossi as being the cause for the decline.
For MotoGP to rebound in the rankings, it’s going to need to find star performances from its other riders. Many experts have written the season off as Jorge Lorenzo’s to lose, with no other riders stepping up to meet the Spaniard’s speed.
While many riders came out of the woodwork at Silverstone, there still remains a gap of 38 points between Lorenzo and second place Andrea Dovizioso, which means the Fiat-Yamaha rider could sit a race out and still maintain his series lead.
Perhaps the only event that can save MotoGP’s following is the return of Rossi himself, which paddock gossip puts likely to occur at Brno, five GP’s away.