Grand National 2021 pulls in 8.8 million peak viewership

Image: PA Images

A peak of 8.8 million viewers tuned in to watch Rachael Blackmore become the first female jockey to triumph in the steeplechase with Minella Times at the Randox Grand National, screened live on ITV.

The figure has gone down as the second-highest viewership for the event since ITV secured the media rights from Channel 4 in 2017.

Despite talks of postponement of the Grand National following the passing of The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, the event went ahead as planned with coverage switching over to ITV4 on Friday as a result.

Although statistics were down on the 9.6 million audience share from 2019 coverage enjoyed a health 4.78 million viewers across the broadcast. The share of 31.8% compares to an average of 40.3% across ITV’s first three National outings and the network.

“The ITV team has done a superb job over the three days of the Randox Grand National Festival once again,” noted Jockey Club RacecoursesDickon White.

“We all needed to adapt following the sad news of the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and they did so while ensuring our sport received the best showcase possible thanks to their quality production and presentation.

“Minella Times, Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead have given us a story for the ages and I’m grateful that ITV have helped to ensure it inspires people across our society that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, if you have a dream you should go for it.”

In addition, on the Thursday, the free-to-air broadcaster posted a record average audience of over one million viewers, whilst viewership for the Grand National Opening Show on the same channel was up by 100,000 viewers to 400,000 from two years ago when the programming drew in an audience of 300,000.

“It doesn’t matter what you are, we’re jockeys, we win races and it’s just a privilege to be here,” Blackmore told ITV post-victory. “I’m speechless. It’s incredible, I can’t believe we’ve just won the Champion Hurdle.

“I don’t feel male or female right now. I don’t even feel human,” Blackmore added. “This is just unbelievable.”