EXCLUSIVE | The Amazing Statistics of 700 Episodes of THE CHASE AUSTRALIA
The Seven Network’s hugely successful 5pm quiz show The Chase Australia has recently reached its 700th new episode.
To mark the occasion, this article outlines some statistics I have recorded for different aspects of the programme across the first 700 regular shows.
Episodes of The Chase Australia involve four contestants working individually and as a team to try and outrun the Chaser, a quiz expert. If they can twice evade capture by correctly answering enough multiple-choice and quick-fire questions, contestants in the ‘Final Chase’ round share their built-up prize fund. Otherwise, they go home empty-handed.
More details of the gameplay are explained here.
Hosted by Andrew O’Keefe, The Chase Australia features Chasers Issa ‘The Supernerd’ Schultz, Matt ‘Goliath’ Parkinson and Brydon ‘The Shark’ Coverdale, as well as Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegerty and Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett from the original British version.
Shaun ‘The Destroyer’ Wallace and Cheryl ‘The Tiger Mum’ Toh have both featured as Guest Chasers, but Chaser-specific statistics in this article will ignore them due to their very few appearances.
The overall win-loss record for each Chaser is shown in this table. Combined, the Chasers win about 76% of episodes. Because many winning teams do not include all four players (some are caught in their multiple-choice round), roughly 82% of contestants go home with nothing.
Parkinson has had the highest Chaser win percentage for close to a year now, but Schultz occupied the #1 position for much of The Chase Australia’s first few seasons. While some may consider overall win rates to be an indicator of who the ‘best’ Chaser is, they are very much a reflection of the strength of the teams a Chaser faces.
The average team on The Chase Australia builds up a prize fund of about $31,000. However, these vary greatly, from as low as $2,000 to the record high of $102,000.
Teams have won a total of $6,766,000 so far, with the average winning team taking home close to $41,000. On the other hand, the sum of the prize funds of losing teams is a massive $15,028,900.
Coverdale is the Chaser who has lost the most money (almost $1.7 million), but he has also appeared in the second-highest number of episodes.
Final Chase teams consist of between zero (one of the eliminated contestants represents the team in a ‘Lazarus round’) and four players. 62% of all contestants get past their multiple-choice round (58% in Chaser wins, 77% in team wins).
Four-player teams win about 45% of the time, compared to 32% of three-player teams and 14% of pairs. Only five contestants have defeated a Chaser on their own in the Final Chase. None of them did so in a Lazarus round.
On average, Coverdale faces the largest teams while Schultz faces the smallest, although these figures are only 0.1 players apart.
The target a team sets for the Final Chase is very important and a good indicator of its strength. The average team sets about 16.1 steps. This rises to 19.3 steps for winning teams and falls to 15 steps for losing teams.
Average targets do not vary greatly between the Chasers, but Schultz and Coverdale face the highest (16.3 steps) followed by Hegerty (16.2), Labbett (15.9) and Parkinson (15.7). These figures may partially explain Parkinson’s overall win percentage lead and Schultz being in fourth position.
The highest target a team has set is 28 steps, however O’Keefe likely read questions more quickly in the first couple of seasons. Since then, a few teams have set 24 steps and one has set 25 steps. The lowest target on the show is just 5 steps, which has only happened once.
Coverdale holds the record for the highest target caught, 24 steps. Parkinson, Hegerty and Schultz have all caught 23 steps, while Labbett has caught 22 steps. Hegerty has reached as high as 25 steps but lost.
Together, the Chasers have lost at least once to all targets above 12 steps. Four teams have won with 13 steps, but none with any lower target. Coverdale is the only Chaser to have not lost to any target below 15 steps.
There are many extremely close Final Chase finishes on The Chase Australia. Chasers have lost by one step plenty of times, while they have won by just 1 second in nine episodes. The clock has even shown 0:00 remaining in three episodes, where there was less than a second in it.
However, Chasers often give very dominant performances, particularly against teams with low targets. The largest Final Chase winning margin is 102 seconds, meaning the quickest Final Chase lasted just 18 seconds (Labbett was chasing 5 steps).
Whenever a Chaser gets a question wrong in the Final Chase, the team has a chance to push them back. Parkinson holds the record for the most Final Chase mistakes (11), while Labbett has made 10 mistakes before. The highest number of push backs converted by a team is 7. Figures like these normally result in a Chaser losing, although Parkinson once won despite being pushed back 6 times. Only two teams have won without converting any push backs.
A Chaser’s accuracy in the Final Chase is usually a significant factor in the outcome. Even though he has the highest overall win rate, Parkinson is the least accurate Chaser, answering an average of 82% of Final Chase questions correctly. Hegerty is the most accurate (84.9%), while Schultz is second (84.3%).
Perfect Final Chases occur when a Chaser makes no mistakes (100% accuracy). The highest target caught in this way is an incredible 23 steps, achieved by Schultz. He is the Chaser with the most perfect Final Chases (12), although he has also appeared in the most episodes. The lowest Final Chase accuracy on record is just 54.2%.
The average speed a Chaser answers questions in the Final Chase can also be important. On average, Labbett is the fastest Chaser (13.2 questions answered per minute), followed by Coverdale and Hegerty at around 12.7. Parkinson is the slowest (12.4). The fastest average Final Chase speed on record is an astonishing 17.5 questions per minute, while the slowest is just 9.9.
Of course, there is more to The Chase Australia than the Final Chase, although that is the focus of my statistics. Each contestant starts by playing a quick-fire ‘Cash Builder’ round over one minute, where they earn $2,000 per correct answer. I believe the highest Cash Builder a contestant has amassed is $26,000 (this is extremely rare). $24,000 is more common but still quite rare. Only two contestants have failed to answer any Cash Builder round questions correctly ($0).
As an indication, the average Cash Builder in Season 3 (65 episodes) was $12,608. When split by gender, men did better than women: $13,746 compared to $11,237.
When facing the Chaser in their multiple-choice round, a contestant can choose to play for a different amount to their Cash Builder. To the best of my knowledge, the highest high offer so far on The Chase Australia is $86,000, while the lowest low offer is –$5,000. The average high offer in Season 3 was almost $42,000 whereas the average low offer was about $2,000.
In Season 3, only 16 of the 260 contestants went for the high offer, with half of them banking it. The low offer was chosen by 31 players, including two whose amount was negative. About 74% of them made it back to the desk.
Most contestants on The Chase Australia play for their Cash Builder amount. Almost 82% did this in Season 3 and 63% of them reached the Final Chase.