Some of those who attended last week’s IMSA season opener in Daytona reported an encouraging challenge as navigating the infield by foot, golf cart, or car proved more problematic than expected.
Days after a thrilling finish to the Rolex 24 At Daytona, IMSA CEO Ed Bennett wouldn’t be drawn on the exact figure, but he did confirm a suspicion that the storied endurance race experienced a modern record for attendance at Daytona International Speedway.
“By all accounts, the 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona was a resounding success both on and off the track,” Bennett told RACER. “The increase in our fan consumption numbers across all platforms continues to showcase IMSA’s momentum.
“Our fans continue to make the Rolex 24 one of the top races in this country every year. It was no surprise there was a record crowd over the weekend after seeing how many fans were on the pre-race grid walk, in the infield and the car corrals.”
Broadcast on NBC, NBCSN, and through a new live streaming option via NBC Gold’s TrackPass, The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s curtain raiser also generated meaningful ratings traffic by reaching its largest audience — for any IMSA race — since 2014.
The Rolex 24’s closing sequence on NBC drew an average of 994,000 viewers over the two-hour sprint to the finish, peaking at 1.1 million as the checkered flag was being readied to wave over the event. From Saturday’s opening on NBC to its finish on the network, an average of 844,000 viewers were looking in on the race won by Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Traction was also gained for IMSA through social media, as digital video views generated across the series’ various accounts rose by 102 percent over the month leading into the 2019 Rolex 24. Overall social media impressions, which includes photos and any other postings to go with the aforementioned videos, saw an 11-percent year-to-year increase as well.
“There are many ways for fans to watch our races, and that stretches far beyond the traditional television viewer,” Bennett said. “The addition of TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold has been extremely positive giving our fans yet another modern way to access premium IMSA content. The service’s live flag-to-flag coverage has been well-received, and we are optimistic that subscriptions will continue to increase throughout the year.”