NASCAR’s return to Sonoma Raceway’s road course yielded an almost identical TV audience from its pre-pandemic numbers. Last Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series telecast on FS1 averaged a 1.49 Nielsen rating and 2.49 million viewers, compared with 2019’s 1.51/2.48m.
Formula 1 continued its upward trend with last Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, averaging a 0.6/956,000 viewers on ESPN. That makes it the fourth-largest cable F1 audience on record, according to the network, and is up from a 0.34/539,000 in 2019, when the race aired on ESPN2. (Like Sonoma, the Baku race was cancelled last year by the pandemic.)
Interestingly, this year’s numbers were helped, not hurt, by the red flag that delayed the decisive final two laps, which produced the peak viewing of the telecast (1.04m).
ESPN reports that for the season to date, F1 is averaging 911,000 viewers, up 50% from last year and 36% from 2019 (672K).