Fox' Daytona 500 Telecast Earns 8.2 Overnight, Up 17%
Fox earned an 8.2 overnight Nielsen rating for the Daytona 500 yesterday afternoon, which saw rookie Trevor Bayne become the youngest driver ever to win NASCAR's signature race. The overnight rating is up 17% from a 7.0 overnight last year, which saw the race air up against NBC's coverage of the Vancouver Games, and also up 3% from an 8.0 overnight in '09. Fox also earned a 4.4 overnight for pre-race coverage, up 19% from a 3.7 last year. NASCAR.com also saw record-breaking traffic yesterday, according to date from Omniture and Bango. The site saw a record 1.6 million unique visitors (+11%) and 11.2 million page views (+8%). On the mobile front, the site saw 300,000 unique visitors (+100%) and three million page views (+169%) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
COVERAGE NOT HELPFUL FOR CASUAL FANS: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes Fox "didn't do much to draw in casual fans" during its coverage of the race yesterday, especially during the "dramatic final laps." In those final laps, Fox forgot about something "crucial in big-time sports meant to reach broad audiences -- basic storytelling." The net should have "avoided identifying cars by their numbers or sponsors," as it is the "drivers who should be emphasized because they're the stars." Also, the "on-air analysis lapsed into too much jargon, like talking about a 'green-white-checkered' finish when it would have been clearer to say the cars would race a couple of laps to the finish unless there was another wreck." Hiestand: "In a complicated ending, there was too much emphasis on replays and analysis of car damage and wrecks rather than setting up viewers for what could happen next" (USA TODAY, 2/21). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes Fox' coverage "was both interesting and infuriating." The production and direction "were among the best you are going to find on sports television." However, with broadcasters Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip "so loathe to criticize anything," the race often felt "like an infomercial for NASCAR" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/21).