SBD/February 26, 2013/Media

Fox, NASCAR See Largest Daytona 500 Audience Since '08 Telecast

Albuquerque-Santa Fe saw largest percentage gain among local market ratings

Fox earned a 9.9 fast-national Nielsen rating and 16.7 million viewers for Sunday’s Daytona 500 telecast, marking the best audience for the race since ’08. The telecast was up 24% and 22%, respectively, from last year’s race, which aired in primetime on a Monday due to weather and also had a two-hour delay after Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer. The year-over-year audience gain is the best yet for the Daytona 500, as last year's race was the first on a Monday. Among the top 10 metered markets in the U.S., there was a collective 42% jump in ratings for the race, including at least 25% for the top five markets. Albuquerque-Santa Fe led all markets in percentage gain with a 115% jump (10.3 vs. 4.8). The race started with an 8.6 rating (14.3 million viewers) and peaked during the final laps with a 12.7 rating (21.4 million viewers). Fox saw gains across key demos, including a 14% jump among males 18-34. The race also saw gains for women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 (Fox).

DAYTONA 500 AUDIENCE TREND
YEAR
NET
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
WINNER
'13
Fox
9.9
16,700
Jimmie Johnson
'12*
Fox
8.0
13,700
Matt Kenseth
'11
Fox
8.7
15,597
Trevor Bayne
'10**
Fox
7.7
13,294
Jamie McMurray
'09***
Fox
9.2
15,958
Matt Kenseth
'08
Fox
10.2
17,800
Ryan Newman
'07
Fox
10.1
17,530
Kevin Harvick
'06
NBC
11.3
19,355
Jimmie Johnson
'05
Fox
10.9
18,685
Jeff Gordon
'04
NBC
10.6
17,796
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
 

CHART NOTES: * = Rainout on Sunday; Monday night race had two-hour delay due to exploding track dryer. ** = Race had two-hour delay due to potholes in track. *** = Race shortened by rain.

ONE-HIT WONDER? In Indianapolis, Anthony Schoettle wrote the "vastly improved TV ratings for Sunday’s Daytona 500 prove that people are as fascinated as ever" by driver Danica Patrick. Not "coincidentally, Patrick was sitting in third place late in the race as TV viewership surged" (IBJ.com, 2/25). NBC Sports Network’s Dave Briggs said NASCAR "got lucky because of Danica." Briggs: "The ratings would not have been up if it weren’t for Danica. The finish just wasn’t compelling enough” (“The Crossover,” NBC Sports Network, 2/25). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes it is "anybody's guess" if Sunday's race will "jump-start NASCAR ratings or end up as a one-shot ratings wonder" (USA TODAY, 2/26). ESPN’s Tony Reali said the ratings for Sunday’s race were “huge” and it will be “interesting to see how that goes going forward." The "ratings bump" the IndyCar Series got from Patrick's fourth-place finish in the '05 Indianapolis 500 “happened, and then it plateaued for quite some time” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/25). Oakland Tribune columnist Monte Poole said NASCAR “is one of these sports where any publicity is good publicity,” and they “need Danica Patrick right now, they need her out there” ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 2/25).

CLICK TO WATCH: ESPN's Bomani Jones said NASCAR suffered a "black eye" by attempting to "scrub the Internet, fighting against the water and drowning," in trying to take down YouTube videos of the crash during Saturday's Nationwide Series race. Jones: "It made them look bad, as though they had something to hide, when I think most people recognize this was something that happened that was beyond people’s control. ... You cannot fight the Internet because trying to take those videos down made more people go find them and more people watch them” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/25). NBC Sports Network's Michelle Beadle said, "NASCAR learned a very quick lesson this weekend with social media. ... It’s out there, you can’t take it down.” Beadle: "Baseball is real quick on not letting people use video and taking things down. That’s not the way you want your sport to grow” ("The Crossover," NBC Sports Network, 2/25). SPORTS ON EARTH's Will Leitch wrote the policing between NASCAR and YouTube "seems arbitrary, based on content more than legal standing." For instance, a compilation video of reactions to Cardinals 3B David Freese's triple in the '11 World Series was "taken down because of the same vague 'own data' notions that NASCAR was trying." It is "not that MLB and NASCAR and the NFL (which is probably the worst offender at this, giving embedded videos in large part only to corporate partners like Yahoo) are inherently wrong or right, it's just that there hasn't been a legitimate public discussion on any of it." YouTube just "takes things down because these leagues ask" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 2/25).
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