NASCAR’s switch to NBC Sports got off to a quiet start after suffering through a three-hour rain delay for the NBCSN telecast of the Monster Energy Cup Series race at Chicagoland. The event averaged a 1.42 rating and 2.4 million household viewers. That’s down from a 1.58/2.5m last year on the same network.
Chicagoland’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series race of the year on NBC Sports was also down, averaging a 0.58/913,000 viewers on Saturday afternoon, compared with a 0.66/1.1m last year.
On a more positive note, FOX Sports revealed that its half of the 2019 Cup Series averaged 4,076,000 viewers, up +2% from last year’s 3,980,000, excluding weather-impacted races both years, and had a net rating increase of 3% over last year (2.44 vs. 2.37).
Among 11 FOX Sports 2019 races directly comparable to 2018 events, six scored viewership increases. The top five markets for FOX Sports this year were Greensboro, N.C., Greenville, S.C., Richmond, Va., Charlotte and Indianapolis.
Other notes from FOX Sports’ NASCAR coverage included:
- Cup Series average minute audience (AMA) streaming per race for the 2019 season was up 37% over 2018
- The 2019 Daytona 500 was most-streamed FOX NASCAR event ever (53,000 AMA, +10% over 2018 Daytona)
- Two million fans streamed NASCAR programming on FOX Sports platforms in 2019, up +79% year-over-year
- 177 million video views of FOX NASCAR content were viewed across social media platforms, up +51% year-over-year
- Adding together streaming and social, 380 million digital consumption minutes were recorded for NASCAR content across FOX properties, up +80% year-over-year
NASCAR’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series remains on FOX Sports for the whole season, and Friday night’s race from Chicagoland on FS1 averaged an 0.22 rating and averaged 330,000 viewers.
ESPN also had some encouraging news to share regarding its Formula 1 programming this season.
The live telecast of last Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix on ESPN2 averaged a 0.41 rating and averaged 640,000 viewers. That audience was up 48 percent over ESPN2’s telecast last year (0.29/431,000 average) and up 94 percent from the 2017 telecast on CNBC (330,000 viewers). This year’s audience was the largest U.S. television viewership for the event since it returned to the F1 schedule in 1997. According to ESPN, this marks the seventh time in nine F1 races this year that viewership has grown year-over-year, and is second-largest year-over-year growth for a race this season.
Through nine races, F1 is averaging 684,000 viewers per race on all ESPN networks, an increase of 21 percent over last year (567,000) and up 18 percent over NBC networks in 2017 (579,000).