If you thought 2020 was weird, 2021 is starting out even more so, at least when it comes to motorsports TV ratings. How else to describe audience numbers for the follow-up NASCAR Cup Series race to the Daytona 500 which equaled those for the “Great American Race”?
There were extenuating circumstances of course — a lengthy rain delay that pushed the conclusion of the 500 past midnight for East Coast viewers — but the 2.80 average rating for the FOX live broadcast of last Sunday’s race on Daytona’s road course was identical to that for the season opener, although the audience average was down fractionally at 4.75 million, from 4.83m for the 500. This week’s numbers represented a drop from last-year’s follow-up Cup race to the 500 on the oval at Las Vegas, which averaged 3.24/5.5m, also on FOX in the same Sunday afternoon time slot. It will bear watching to see whether NASCAR’s increase in road races at the expense of ovals on this year’s schedule continues to come at a cost in TV audience.
Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series road course race averaged a 0.76 rating and 1.27m viewers on FS1, down from 0.91/1.6m for the previous Saturday’s race on the oval. The 2020 Xfinity race on this weekend in Vegas race aired on FS2, where it averaged 0.21/341,000.
The Camping World Truck Series offered more apples-to-apples comparisons. Friday night’s Daytona road course race averaged a 0.36/628,000 viewers on FS1, down substantially from 0.63/1.07m for the previous Friday night’s race on the Daytona oval. Interestingly. though, it was up slightly from 2020’s second Truck race on the Vegas oval (0.34/544K), in the same Friday night time slot on FS1.
Monster Energy Supercross continued to struggle on NBCSN, averaging a 0.13/229,000 viewers for Saturday night’s action from Orlando.