In a week that included the college basketball championship game and Tiger Woods’ return to golf mastery at the Masters, auto racing was always going to play second fiddle, but held its own.
NBCSN’s telecast of the IndyCar Long Beach Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon scored a 0.28 rating and averaged 436,000 household viewers. That’s up from a 0.24/370,000 for last year’s race on the same network, and the first year-on-year increase of the season for the series.
By contrast, Formula 1 had its first disappointing result after a strong start to the year. The Chinese Grand Prix from Shanghai’s late night live telecast on ESPN2 averaged 260,000 viewers, down from a 290,000 last year (rating numbers were not available).
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series round from Richmond, airing Saturday evening on the FOX over-the-air network, scored a 1.73/2.8m. That’s down from a 1.82/3.0m last year, also on FOX, when it ran a week later on April 21.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series race from Richmond on Friday night scored a 0.36/543,000 on FS1.
It was another strong weekend for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, which scored a 0.60/902,000 for live coverage of the finals from Houston on FOX. That’s almost double the numbers from last year’s finals that aired on cable network FS1 (0.31/472,000). Like NASCAR, this event was held a week later in 2018.
As for the top sports telecasts of the week, the NCAA basketball title game between Texas Tech and Virginia Monday night (played on April 8 — final ratings reports run Monday to Sunday) on CBS scored an 11.59 rating, averaging 19.6m viewers. The Masters coverage of the final round Sunday morning on CBS scored a 6.92/10.8m.
The top NBA basketball playoff game of the week — the L.A. Clippers vs Golden State — ran opposite NASCAR’s Cup race Saturday night and scored a 2.97/4.8m on ABC.