The Grand National, the annual and most infamous horserace event, based on 2017’s sporting calendar, it is the most watched UK sports programme based on the percentage share of viewership it commands during time of airing. Based on audience insights from last year’s event, the Grand National had the highest percentage share of TV audiences than any other sporting event, with over 60% of the UK viewing population tuning into the closing stages of the race. This is comfortably higher than other flagship events including the FA Cup Final (52%) and the Wimbledon Men’s Final (51%).

Much like the Grand National, one-off annual events such as the London Marathon attract national interest spanning beyond only sports fans. The peak TV audience for the Grand National surpasses that of the London Marathon by +152%, and is +45% higher than The Boat Races.

In terms of peak percentage share, The Grand National also performs well against entertainment shows, attracting a higher proportion of the TV viewing population than the I’m a Celebrity Final (49%), the Britain’s Got Talent Final (49%), the British Bake Off Final (43%), and the X Factor Final (27%).


This year’s Grand National really demonstrated how the event has elevated above and beyond other key sporting events when focusing on peak programme share %, which is a good indicator of how strongly an event is capturing the attention of the viewing population. Of the sporting events, across terrestrial TV, the Grand National (in both 2018 and 2017) ranks HIGHEST with both recording over 60%.

It remains for brands and sponsors in the UK one of the best moments to capture the attention of the majority of a viewing public.