The year had its first weekend with multiple major racing series competing for television eyeballs — although staggered start times limited direct competition between them.
Formula 1 started the marathon Sunday morning with its season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix. The ESPN live telecast averaged an 0.69 Nielsen rating and 1.318 million viewers per numbers from ShowBuzzDaily.com. That is down fractionally from the 0.75/1.353m for last year’s race, also on ESPN, although it was still the fifth-largest audience on cable for F1 ever and slightly ahead of 2022’s average F1 race viewership of 1.21m, which itself was a record. ESPN also noted that its Saturday qualifying telecast averaged 652K viewers, the largest audience of the day on ESPN2.
The NTT IndyCar Series launched its season on NBC shortly after the F1 race ended, with the St. Petersburg GP telecast averaging a 0.76 rating and 1.189m viewers. That too was down from last year’s race (0.89, 1.405m) but NBC noted that its Total Audience Delivery (including streaming) of 1.22m ranks as the third most-watched IndyCar season opener in seven years, and marks the first time in 12 years IndyCar has had a TAD of more than 1.2m two years running (the 2022 TAD was 1.44m, the network says).
NASCAR’s season continued in Las Vegas, with the Cup Series race averaging a 2.22 rating and 3.991m viewers on FOX, but this too was a year-on-year drop, from 2.71/4.544m. The previous week’s Auto Club Speedway race averaged 2.48/4.315m, down from 2.61/4.570 in 2022.
Among the coveted 18-49 aged demographic, NASCAR Cup had 813,000 viewers, followed by F1 with 633K and IndyCar with 216K, although these numbers apply only to the TV telecasts.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series race from Las Vegas averaged a 0.67 rating and 1.133m viewers Saturday on FS1, compared to a 0.63/1.055m last year, while Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday night averaged 0.36/623,000, making it the only one to score a year-on-year gain (from 0.33/543K).