The twin titans of NFL and college football were back to dominate the sports TV landscape last weekend, but auto racing held its own.
The NASCAR Cup Series playoff round at Kansas led the way with a 1.10 Nielsen rating and 1.878 million viewers for the USA telecast, per numbers from ShowBuzzDaily.com. That is down from a 1.26/2.105m for last fall’s Kansas race, which ran in October and aired on NBCSN.
Ranking second among race coverage was Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix, which averaged 0.57/995,000 viewers on ESPN2, up from 0.53 and 880,000 last year on the same network. ESPN reports that made last weekend’s race the most-viewed live Italian Grand Prix to date. Overall, the 2022 season is still averaging 1.2 million viewers per race across ESPN networks, up 30 percent over last year through the same number of races (957K).
NBC’s coverage of the NTT IndyCar Series finale at Laguna Seca seemed hit hardest by opening weekend for the NFL, averaging a 0.32 rating and 507,000 viewers on NBC Sunday afternoon. That was down from a 0.44/715,000 for last year’s Laguna race on NBC, when it aired against the third week of pro football’s regular season. This year’s TAD viewership was up 40 percent from last year’s season finale at Long Beach, however (0.21/368,000 on NBCSN) and overall, NBC Sports still averaged its highest IndyCar viewership to date in 2022.
Labor Day Monday’s live coverage of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series on FOX averaged 0.49/840,000.
Among the 18-49 age demographic among these telecasts, F1 once again led the way with 407,000, followed by NASCAR with 341K, NHRA with 167K and IndyCar with 137K.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas on FS1 averaged 0.28/436,000 viewers Friday night, while the rain-shortened Xfinity Series race on Saturday averaged 672,000 viewers (rating number was not available).
*Updated to reflect that Long Beach rather than Laguna Seca was the IndyCar season finale in 2021. -Ed.