NASCAR’s shift of its “throwback weekend” at Darlington to the spring resulted in higher numbers from last year’s race in September.
The NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday afternoon averaged a 1.71 Nielsen rating and 3.1 million viewers on FS1, up from the 1.37/2.4m for last year’s race, which aired on NBCSN. That was also up from the 1.2/2.2m that watched the Cup race from Kansas on this date two years ago, pre-pandemic.
Darlington’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday afternoon on FS1 averaged a 0.58 and 934,000 viewers, compared with a 0.73/1.2m last fall when it aired on NBC. The Camping World Truck Series on Friday night averaged 0.38/643,000, up from last fall’s 0.34/595K, both on FS1.
Formula 1 maintained its upward curve in audience on ESPN, with Sunday morning’s Spanish Grand Prix averaging a 0.55 and 857,000 viewers. That was a big step up from the last Spanish GP on this weekend in 2019 (0.40/223K on ESPN2) and the highest-rated running of this race on cable to date. Overall, ESPN says the 2021 F1 season is averaging 893,000 viewers on its networks after four races, up 64 percent from the same span of races in 2019 (544,000). Even the live qualifying show from Spain Saturday morning on ESPN2 averaged 501,000 viewers.
CORRECTION: The original version of this story stated that the Spanish GP attracted 557,000 viewers. The correct figure is 857,000.