UPDATE: The final ratings numbers for the Indianapolis 500 showed ABC’s final telecast of the race earned a 3.08 rating and averaged 4.9m viewers. That’s down from the 3.4 overnight reported earlier, and from last year’s 3.41/5.5m viewers, and represents the lowest rated Indy 500 telecast ever.
On a more positive note, Sports Media Watch noted that Indy scored its biggest win over the rival Memorial Day weekend race from NASCAR since 2000. The Coca-Cola 600 rating also dipped slightly from its overnight, even though the addition of numbers from small markets traditionally boosts NASCAR’s numbers. The Charlotte night race earned a 2.33 rating on FOX, averaging 4.1m viewers. That’s down from a 2.76/4.6m last year. It did slightly outperform Indy in the coveted 18-49 age demographic, though, 0.79 to 0.72.
Meanwhile, F1’s Monaco Grand Prix was the only one of the Big Three to see a year-on-year improvement with its replay on ABC following Indy, where it scored a 1.04 rating and averaged 1.6m viewers. That’s up from a 0.97/1.4m for last year’s live telecast on NBC, suggesting ABC/ESPN is on to something with its live telecasts for die-hards on cable and replays in more user-friendly time slots on network (when they’re available, of course).
Tuesday, May 29
Can good and bad news come in the same numbers? They did for the Indianapolis 500, which fell to a 3.4 overnight rating for ABC’s final telecast of the race – the lowest since live broadcasts of the Indy 500 began in 1986 – and down from a 3.6 last year, which then ranked as the all-time low.
The good news? Despite the slide, Indy still easily eclipsed Sunday night’s NASCAR Coca-Cola 600, which managed just a 2.4 on FOX, down from a 2.8 last year. SportsMediaWatch notes that this year saw the biggest metered market lead for Indy over Charlotte’s Memorial Day weekend race since at least 2000, and that the Indy 500 has increased its lead over the Coke 600 each year since 2013.
SMW also noted that a key element of Indy’s ratings drop was its delay of the live telecast in the Indianapolis market so that it competed directly with Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Indy telecast had an 8.7 rating in its home market, down 41% from last year (14.7) and down 74% from 2016. NASCAR’s prime-time race also faced the same competition.
Final ratings numbers are expected to be available later this week.