Final TV audience numbers from the NTT IndyCar Series‘ season opener at Texas were down fractionally from the record high projections for the telecast from The Nielsen Company’s Fast Nationals, but still provided a decent boost to the series as it returns to action following the pandemic-induced shutdown.
The NBC telecast on Saturday night averaged a 0.80 rating and 1.25 million viewers. That’s up massively from the 0.24/366,000 that watched last year’s race on the same weekend, when it aired on NBCSN. The last time the Texas race aired on broadcast network TV (ABC) was in 2013, when it averaged a 1.0/1.4m.
IndyCar’s return helped motorsports claim three of the top four sports ratings of the week. Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series round from Atlanta on FOX was No. 1, averaging a 2.46 rating and 3.96m viewers. While solid, those numbers are a significant drop-off from last year’s Atlanta race (3.0/5.1m) that followed the Daytona 500 in February.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series ranked third overall among sports events for the week (splitting FOX’s WWE show on Friday night) with an 0.83/1.27m from Atlanta Saturday afternoon on FOX, edging IndyCar on the same day. That’s the series’ best since its return to action from the pandemic, and a big increase over the 0.50/743,000 that watched the Michigan Xfinity race run on this date last year on FS1.
The Xfinity Series round from Bristol last Monday night on FS1 was nowhere close to those numbers, finishing with a 0.36/561,000. By contrast, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series round from Atlanta on Saturday dropped off the pace of its mid-week relaunch. The Atlanta race averaged a 0.38/570,000 on FS1. That’s down from a 0.48/778,000 average for its Tuesday night race at Charlotte on the same network.