While the extraordinary circumstances bought on by the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption to the NTT IndyCar Series this year, NBC Sports described the audience figures for the 14-race 2020 season, which concluded last Sunday at St. Petersburg, as “solid year-over-year viewership” across NBC, NBCSN, USA Network and NBC Sports digital platforms.
Excluding this year’s Indianapolis 500 — which took place in August instead of May for the first time — and a Friday afternoon race that aired on USA Network, the remaining 12 races (6 NBC; 6 NBCSN) averaged a Total Audience Delivery (including TV and digital) of 664,000 viewers, up 2 percent vs. 2019 (15 races; 649,000). The six races on NBC averaged 891,000 viewers, while the six NBCSN races averaged 432,000 viewers, according to Official National data provided by The Nielsen Company and digital data from Adobe Analytics.
Last Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg averaged a TAD of 675,000 viewers on NBC, up 6% and 18%, respectively, vs. two NBC races earlier this fall — Mid-Ohio (9/13; 639,000) and Harvest GP at IMS road course (10/3; 570,000).
The 2020 season was originally scheduled to begin on March 15 in St. Petersburg, but that race and numerous others were postponed due to the pandemic. After vigorous rescheduling, the season eventually began on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway in primetime on NBC, which averaged a TAD of 1.256 million viewers to become NBC Sports’ most-watched IndyCar race on record and the series’ most-watched race since 2016, excluding Indy 500s.
August’s Indy 500 averaged a 2.29 National rating on NBC and had a Total Audience Delivery of 3.737 million viewers.