The virtual version of the real thing pulls in around half the audience of last year’s real race.
ITV’s Virtual Grand National reached a peak audience of 4.8m, with an average of 4.3m (a 28% audience share) tuning in to the broadcast.
The computer simulation of the annual horse race – which ran at the usual start time of 5.15pm – raised more than £2.6m for NHS charities, with all profits from bookmakers going to the NHS.
The Virtual Grand National isn’t something new but, with the main event being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the profile of the virtual race was massively raised. Last year’s event, in comparison, managed a total audience of 737K, while the Grand National itself brought in almost 10m viewers last year.
Potters Corner (18-1) won the Virtual Grand National.
The programme was made by Carm Productions, which said: “We first aired the Virtual Grand National in 2017, and we feel honoured that it has been able to stand in for the Grand National at this difficult time.”
The Betting and Gaming Council chief executive Michael Dugher added: “I’m sorry we couldn’t have the real Grand National to find out if Potters Corner would have won or whether it would have been an historic three in a row for Tiger Roll, but at this time of need the nation used the day to come together and back our NHS.”