While Sports Ratings Crash, NASCAR Races Back Toward TV Relevance

NASCAR managed to somehow bounce back in a big way in the weekend television ratings game.

While the Daytona 500 drew a so-so rating of 2.8, last weekend’s Daytona road race matched it with the same rating. That’s news because the road race generally draws miniscule viewers.

Overall, NASCAR finished third in weekend ratings for adults in the critical 18-49 age range, trailing just Saturday Night Live (1.2) and American Idol (1.0).

TV viewership of sports has experienced a sharp decline over the past year and a half, as we at OutKick have consistently documented. Even the Super Bowl ratings crashed.

But unlike so many other sports, NASCAR ratings seem to be climbing, slowly but surely. That appears to be true despite the paltry Daytona 500 viewership — which can be at least partially attributed to the five-hour rain delay.

“Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Daytona road race averaged a 2.8 rating and 4.75 million viewers on FOX, up 40% in ratings and 47% in viewership from the inaugural edition of the race on last year, which aired in August on NBC (2.0, 3.24M),” wrote Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch. “Both this year and last, the Daytona ‘Roval’ was added to the schedule as a replacement for a canceled race (Watkins Glen last year, Fontana this year).”

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.


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  1. Comparing a race in August with one in February when half the country was inside due to weather might be seen as a quintessential apples to oranges comparison. Careful drawing conclusions.

  2. I have watched when normally I would not. Betting helps and many sites offer head to head betting options which you can parlay. Makes it very entertaining. Clint Boyer and Jeff Gordon have a good chemistry which has helped too.

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