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Nashville is quickly becoming more than a destination city. Not only has the country music capital of the world grown rapidly in population over the past ten years, but an impressive array of sports and entertainment options has also followed. What began with an experimental NFL franchise relocation has now burgeoned into a massive influx of sporting options, from hockey and minor league baseball to soccer and NASCAR.
Over the weekend, the city added one more feather to its growing cap: INDYCAR racing.
Nashvillians didn’t just host an INDYCAR race, they obliterated the viewing records for the sport. According to NBC Sports PR department, the Music City Grand Prix averaged a total audience delivery of 1.212 million viewers, making it the most-watched series race on cable in the channel’s history. Furthermore, the ratings are considered to be among the best for INDYCAR in 23 years.
For perspective, think about how much programming has changes since before the year 2000, especially the amount of content available for consumption these days. The numbers are wildly impressive, full stop, and they don’t end there. The 1.212 million viewership figure is up 181% compared to NBCSN’s 2020 INDYCAR race average (432,000 viewers) and up 187% vs. the 2019 cable average (423,000). Streaming across NBC Sports digital platforms delivered an Average Minute Audience of 11,500 viewers, another NBC Sports record for an INDYCAR race, excluding the Indy 500.
The race wasn’t without a few hiccups, but that’s to be expected. So far I’ve heard that larger viewing screens for fans and track adjustments for more passing by drivers would significantly improve the local fan experience, as would an earlier start time. But by all reports, it was a fun day for in-person fans and viewers alike, and will certainly be a summer staple in Middle Tennessee for the foreseeable future.
Congratulations to Nashville, my first home and home to thousands of good people who have proven that they deserve the best sports and entertainment have to offer. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say, can’t wait to see what’s next.
Cover photo credit: WTVF.