05/30 2013

TV ratings in for racing’s biggest day

TV ratings in for racing’s biggest day

While the Coca-Cola 600 and Indianapolis 500 comfortably outscored Formula 1 in the TV ratings on racing’s biggest day, their ratings were flat or slipped slightly from 2012 while F1’s saw a big boost, thanks to broadcast network coverage.

FOX coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte posted a overnight 4.1 rating, basically unchanged from last year (the numbers include the red flag delay resulting from the fallen TV camera cable). The final rating number has not yet been made available (NASCAR ratings typically increase slightly in final ratings, which include all markets).

The 97th Indianapolis 500 on ABC scored a 3.7 final rating (it scored a 3.8 overnight) and 5.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen fast-nationals, which represents a 14% drop from last year’s rating (4.3, 6.8m viewers) and  ranks as the second-lowest rated Indy 500 broadcast since the race began airing live from start-to-finish in 1986 according to Sports Media Watch, ahead of only 2010 (3.6).

Meanwhile, the first appearance of Formula 1 on NBC’s broadcast network with the Monaco Grand Prix was watched by 1.456 million viewers and scored a 1.0 household rating. It is the most-watched F1 race on U.S. television in six years, since Fox broadcast the Canadian Grand Prix in the afternoon in 2007 (1.494 million). It also is 40 percent higher than the average rating for the four Fox F1 broadcasts in 2012. Monaco itself was up 241% over last year’s race, which aired on SPEED, according to “Fast National” data provided by the The Nielsen Company.