An estimated 500 million viewers tuned in as Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on 12th October, including a 779,000 peak audience recorded via the event’s live stream on YouTube.
Broadcast by 49 networks across more than 200 territories, including NBC in the US, British public-service broadcaster, the BBC, and the international sports network, Eurosport, the Ineos 1:59 Challenge captured serious viewing figures.
With Sunset+Vine, the British media company tasked with producing and distributing the event, having secured a streaming deal with YouTube towards the end of last month, Kipchoge’s feat has racked up 4.9 million views via the social video platform so far, with many watching the full attempt either live and on repeat.
In addition, the official Ineos 1:59 social media channels also attracted a combined 39.8 million video views and 2.6 million engagements on the day of the event, and represented five of the top seven trending topics on Twitter worldwide, including the #INEOS159 and #NoHumanIsLimited hashtags.
Jo Grindley, Ineos 1:59’s chief marketing officer, said: “Whilst Eliud Kipchoge and the performance team were set the incredible challenge of running the first ever sub-two-hour marathon, it was our responsibility on the engagement side of the challenge to ensure that we fulfilled Kipchoge’s dream to inspire the world and leave a legacy that no human is limited.
“The initial numbers coming from this weekend’s coverage are simply astounding and there is no sign that the coverage is slowing down. It will take a long time for the impact of this event to fully sink in, but Kipchoge said in his post-event press conference that ‘sport can unify people’ and we are delighted that every piece of evidence points to the fact that Kipchoge has successfully achieved his goal.”
Kipchoge came close to becoming the first to run 26.2 miles in less than two hours in May 2017, recording a time of two hours and 25 seconds for Nike’s Breaking2 project, which was made into a documentary available on Amazon Prime Video.
This time, the 34-year-old completed the circuit in the Austrian capital with just under 20 seconds to spare and roughly 120,000 in attendance. The time will however count as the official world marathon record, which is also held by Kipchoge, as the conditions put in place saw the attempt fall outside of World Athletics regulations.