SBD/November 27, 2012/Media

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sees Its Smallest Audience Under Current TV Rights Deals

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season posted its lowest viewership since the current TV deals with Fox, TNT and ESPN/ABC began in ’07. The four networks combined to average a 3.6 rating and 5.8 million viewers for 36 points races, down 5% and 11%, respectively, from last season (33 races with Sunday rainouts excluded). The 3.6 rating is tied with the ’10 season for the lowest rating under the current TV deals. The Sprint Cup Series gave up the gains it made last season, during which it had its first audience increase since ’05. Ratings among 18-34 year olds also fell 25% this season. The season got off to a tough start with the Daytona 500, which was postponed for the first time in 54 years and run on a Monday night. That telecast then saw long delays due to a jet drier crash. Only eight races this season saw year-over-year audience gains.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES U.S. RATING/VIEWERSHIP TREND
SEASON
NETWORKS
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
'12
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
3.6
5,760
'11
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
3.8
6,451
'10
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
3.6
5,992
'09
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
4.0
6,440
'08
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
4.3
6,917
'07
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
4.4
7,116
'06
Fox+TNT+FX+NBC
4.9
7,855


CHASE
: For the 10 Chase for the Sprint Cup races this season, ESPN and ABC averaged a 2.7 rating and 4.2 million viewers, down 13% and 16%, respectively, from last season’s nine races (Chicagoland in '11 excluded due to rainout). Each Chase race this season saw viewership decline from ’11, including five with a double-digit percentage decline. ESPN earned a 3.0 U.S. rating and 4.7 million viewers for the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400, down 25% and 30%, respectively, from last year’s finale, which remains the net’s most-viewed NASCAR telecast (6.8 million viewers). Last year’s finale also was aided by a close race for the title and weather delays pushing the telecast into primetime.

LOCAL: The Greensboro-Winston-Salem market once again led all local markets for Sprint Cup telecasts this season. The market averaged a 9.9 local rating for points races, down 5% from a 10.4 last year. Southern markets also dominated the top 10 list again, taking eight spots. Charlotte ranked second again in ’12 with a 9.2 local rating, up 1%. L.A. led all markets in number of homes watching per race with 128,000, up 11% from last season. During the Chase, Greensboro also led the way with an 8.4 rating, down 3% from ’11.

'12 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE-BY-RACE AUDIENCE
DATE
NET
RACE
RAT.
% +/-
VIEWERS (000)
% +/-
2/27
Fox
Daytona*
8.0
-8.0%
13,669
-12.4%
3/4
Fox
Phoenix
5.6
-5.1%
9,230
-10.8%
3/11
Fox
Las Vegas
5.2
-11.9%
8,528
-15.4%
3/18
Fox
Bristol
4.4
2.3%
7,307
0.9%
3/25
Fox
Auto Club**
3.8
-17.4%
6,153
-23.8%
4/1
Fox
Martinsville
4.3
-2.3%
6,835
-5.5%
4/14
Fox
Texas
4.0
0.0%
6,766
-3.8%
4/22
Fox
Kansas
4.3
10.3%
6,830
8.7%
4/28
Fox
Richmond
3.6
-2.7%
5,914
-3.6%
5/6
Fox
Talladega
5.1
-1.9%
8,300
-8.2%
5/12
Fox
Darlington
3.8
-7.3%
6,393
-8.4%
5/27
Fox
Charlotte
4.4
-2.2%
7,405
-8.9%
6/3
Fox
Dover
3.7
-15.9%
5,700
-22.9%
6/10
TNT
Pocono
3.4
6.2%
5,257
1.6%
6/17
TNT
Michigan
3.2
10.3%
5,284
8.1%
6/24
TNT
Infineon
3.3
3.1%
5,200
0.2%
6/30
TNT
Kentucky
2.5
-16.7%
3,879
-21.9%
7/7
TNT
Daytona***
3.3
-2.9%
5,449
-9.6%
7/15
TNT
New Hampshire
3.1
6.9%
4,775
4.7%
7/29
ESPN
Indianapolis^
3.3
-17.5%
5,055
-20.7%
8/5
ESPN
Pocono^
2.9
-14.7%
4,449
-18.9%
8/12
ESPN
Watkins Glen^
2.8
n/a
4,473
n/a
8/19
ESPN
Michigan
3.3
3.1%
5,200
3.4%
8/25
ABC
Bristol
3.7
27.6%
5,905
16.5%
9/2
ESPN
Atlanta
3.4
n/a
5,558
n/a
9/8
ABC
Richmond^^
3.3
-10.8%
5,079
-17.6%
9/16
ESPN
Chicagoland
2.6
n/a
3,949
n/a
9/23
ESPN
New Hampshire
2.2
-18.5%
3,517
-17.0%
9/30
ESPN
Dover
2.2
-15.4%
3,581
-12.5%
10/7
ESPN
Talladega
3.2
-3.0%
5,113
-5.8%
10/13
ABC
Charlotte
3.2
0.0%
5,095
-5.6%
10/21
ESPN
Kansas
2.5
-3.8%
3,897
-6.6%
10/28
ESPN
Martinsville
2.4
-22.6%
3,617
-26.5%
11/4
ESPN
Texas
2.5
-13.8%
3,943
-16.6%
11/11
ESPN
Phoenix
2.8
-3.4%
4,423
-7.2%
11/18
ESPN
Homestead-Miami
3.0
-25.0%
4,769
-29.9%


NOTES
: Figures for Watkins Glen, Atlanta and Chicagoland excluded from last season due to rainouts. * = Daytona 500 rained out on traditional Sunday and run on a Monday night, which experienced long delays. ** = Race was shortened by rain. *** = Simulcast on truTV, which averaged 735,000 viewers. ^ = Went head-to-head with London Olympics. ^^ = Race had two rain delays and finished just after 1:30am ET.
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