Another blockbuster weekend of racing on the tube last weekend offered up some interesting numbers to crunch.
NASCAR’s Cup Series had its first race of the regular season on cable network FS1, and predictably took a significant hit in audience. Saturday’s night’s race at Martinsville averaged a 1.10 Nielsen rating and 1.885 million viewers per numbers from ShowBuzzDaily.com. That was down by more than half from the previous week’s race on FOX (2.30/3.958m) and was also down from last spring’s rain-interrupted Martinsville race that ran on the same weekend and also on FS1, but on Sunday afternoon (1.37/2.3m).
Interestingly, the Xfinity Series race at Martinsville came closer to matching last year’s audience despite running on Friday night rather than 2021’s Sunday noon start. The FS1 telecast averaged 0.51/854,000 viewers, compared to last year’s 0.55/886K. Camping World Trucks averaged 0.29/455,000 on FS1 Thursday night.
It was a big weekend of motorsports for NBC, anchored by the NTT IndyCar Series at Long Beach, which averaged 0.64/1.055m viewers. That was up fractionally from the last race at Texas (0.62/954,000, also on NBC) and well ahead of the last couple of Long Beach races that ran on now-defunct NBCSN. Last year Long Beach ran as the season finale in September and averaged 0.21/368,000, while the previous springtime Long Beach race in 2019 averaged 0.28/436,000.
UPDATE: NBC Sports reports that the Long Beach IndyCar telecast was the most-watched edition of the race since it began televising the event in 2009, with a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.078 million viewers on NBC and Peacock — an increase of 13% compared to the 2021 IndyCar season average.
NBC led into IndyCar with two-wheeled action, including delayed coverage of Monster Energy Supercross from St. Louis that averaged 0.40/603,000, followed by MotoGP from COTA that averaged 0.35/534,000.
Formula 1, meanwhile, had its first setback in audience in a while. The timeslot-challenged live telecast on ESPN of the Australian Grand Prix – the first since 2019 – averaged 0.34/568,000, down from 2019’s 0.40/649K, although another 223,000 watched the replay on ESPN2 at a more familiar 9:00 a.m. ET Sunday start.
The IMSA WeatherTech Championship race at Long Beach on USA Saturday afternoon averaged 131,000 viewers (rating number was not available)
Among viewers aged 18-49, NASCAR Cup drew 401,000, ahead of F1’s 316,000 (for the live telecast) and IndyCar’s 294K. Xfinity had 193,000 viewers in this demographic, ahead of Supercross (188K), MotoGP (173K) and Trucks (111K).