NBC Sports’ focus on the Olympic Games may have thrown a scheduling curve at the U.S. racing series it covers, but the results of their return to action last weekend suggested the brief break hasn’t affected 2021’s audience momentum for U.S. motorsports.
The NTT IndyCar Series‘ inaugural Music City Grand Prix in Nashville — which benefited from a direct lead in from NASCAR — averaged 1.212 million viewers on NBCSN. That makes it the most-watched IndyCar race on cable in NBC Sports history dating back to 2009, the previous high being 934,000 for Mid-Ohio in 2016. It’s also believed to be the most-watched IndyCar race on any cable network in 23 years.
The NASCAR Cup Series round from Watkins Glen that preceded the Nashville race on NBCSN averaged 2.124 million viewers. That’s down from 2.7m viewers for the 2019 race at The Glen on the same network (the race was not held in 2020) but essentially unchanged from the previous race on NBCSN before the Olympics, at New Hampshire.
Delayed coverage of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from Road America on NBCSN after the IndyCar race averaged 207,000 viewers.