RTE Racing’s executive producer was “delighted” by viewership levels for the national broadcaster’s Christmas festival coverage, as audience share percentages over the festive period saw year-on-year increases.

An average of 19% of all people watching television in Ireland at the time of the broadcasts tuned in to RTE Racing this Christmas - up from 17% and 13% in the previous two years. More than one in five people (21%) watching television at the time of Savills Chase card on December 28th had eyes on RTE’s coverage.

Across the four days, 411,000 people tuned in to Leopardstown and Limerick’s feature events, down 2.6% from the same comparable figure of 422,000 in 2021 and up 7.9% from the 2020 total of 381,000.

Executive producer Ryan McCann told The Irish Field: “We’re delighted that our increased coverage of Irish racing is continuing to build on what has always been a very loyal core audience. Our average Christmas festival viewership in 2022 increased from what were already very healthy numbers in 2021.”

RTE Racing showcased six back-to-back weekends of televised coverage this winter in the lead-up to Christmas.

The lowest average viewing figure of the series came on the opening broadcast at Down Royal as 39,000 (10% audience share) watched Envoi Allen’s win in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase. It was the only Saturday in RTE’s winter run, with the remaining five fixtures falling on Sundays.

Navan’s Fortria Chase card attracted an average of 70,000 (14% audience share) a week later, followed by 59,000 (10%) for Morgiana Hurdle day at Punchestown - the same afternoon the World Cup kicked off.

An average of 60,000 (9%) tuned in for Navan’s Troytown Chase card, 108,000 (17%) for Honeysuckle’s first defeat in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle and 76,000 (13%) for the John Durkan and Hilly Way Chase cards from Punchestown and Cork.

McCann added: “Our pre-Christmas winter racing coverage from around the tracks also saw increased television audiences in 2022, up against the World Cup, further underlining the popularity of live Racing on RTE Television.”

In Britain, ITV Racing drew average viewing figures ranging from 191,000 to 485,000 across December 26 to 29, and averaged 336,000 viewers for comparable racedays on the same weekends as RTE’s pre-Christmas winter series.

ITV’s audience share for the same Christmas dates tallied at 7%, 5% and 3% (twice) relating to all television viewers in Britain at that time.

RTE Racing’s Christmas Festival coverage

Average number of viewers and

audience share %

December 26th

2020: 109,000 (14%)

2021: 94,000 (13%)

2022: 94,000 (16%)

December 27th

2020: 96,000 (13%)

2021: 108,000 (17%)

2022: 112,000 (19%)

December 28th

2020: 107,000 (15%)

2021: 110,000 (18%)

2022: 114,000 (21%)

December 29th

2020: 69,000 (11%)

2021: 110,000 (21%)

2022: 91,000 (19%)