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DATE News (chronologically)
11/22/12
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NASCAR TV audience smallest in 5 years UPDATE After an uptick last year, NASCAR's Chase For the Cup fell back to record-low levels. The 2012 Chase For the Cup averaged a 2.7 U.S. rating and 4.2 million viewers on ESPN and ABC, down 13% in ratings and 12% in viewership from last year (3.1, 4.763M), and flat in ratings and down 7% in viewership from 2010 (2.7, 4.494M). The 2.7 rating is tied with 2010 as the lowest ever for the Chase For the Cup (dates back to 2004). Complete historical viewership for the Chase was not available, but it is likely that this year's edition ranks as the least-viewed ever. Of the nine Chase races that can be compared to last year, eight had a decline in ratings and all nine had declines in viewership. Year-to-year comparisons were not available for the season-opener from Chicago, as last year's version of the race was rained out. Compared to the equivalent 2010 race, however, the Chicago opener was also down. The highest rating of the Chase was a 3.2 for the Talladega and Charlotte races. Talladega ranked as the most-viewed race, with 5.113 million viewers. The Loudon and Dover races were the lowest rated of the season, each earning an all-time Chase record low 2.2. The Loudon was as the least-viewed of the season, with 3.517 million viewers. Sports Media Watch

11/21/12 NASCAR executives like to compare their sport’s TV ratings to a roller coaster. This year, the sport’s premier series took a downward ride, posting its smallest TV audience in five years and registering a 25 percent drop in the 18- to 34-year-old demographic.

Coverage on Fox, TNT and ESPN averaged a 3.6 Nielsen rating and 5.8 million viewers through 35 of 36 races, down 5 percent and 10 percent respectively from last year, giving up all of the gains the sport made last year, which was its first annual ratings increase since 2005. 

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TV ratings and viewership vs. 2011

Track Network Avg. rating % change No. of viewers (000s) % change
Daytona Fox 8.0 -8.0% 13,669 -12.4%
Phoenix Fox 5.6 -5.1% 9,230 -10.8%
Las Vegas Fox 5.2 -11.9% 8,528 -15.4%
Bristol Fox 4.4 2.3% 7,307 0.9%
Auto Club Fox 3.8 -17.4% 6,153 -23.8%
Martinsville Fox 4.3 -2.3% 6,835 -5.5%
Texas Fox 4.0 0.0% 6,766 -3.8%
Kansas Fox 4.3 10.3% 6,830 8.7%
Richmond Fox 3.6 -2.7% 5,914 -3.6%
Talladega Fox 5.1 -1.9% 8,300 -8.2%
Darlington Fox 3.8 -7.3% 6,393 -8.4%
Charlotte Fox 4.4 -2.2% 7,405 -8.9%
Dover Fox 3.7 -15.9% 5,700 -22.9%
Pocono TNT 3.4 6.2% 5,257 1.6%
Michigan TNT 3.2 10.3% 5,284 8.1%
Sonoma TNT 3.3 3.1% 5,200 0.2%
Kentucky TNT 2.5 -16.7% 3,879 -21.9%
Daytona TNT 3.3 -2.9% 5,449 -9.6%
New Hampshire TNT 3.1 6.9% 4,775 4.7%
Indianapolis ESPN 3.3 -17.5% 5,055 -20.7%
Pocono ESPN 2.9 -14.7% 4,449 -18.9%
Watkins Glen ESPN 2.8 NA 4,473 NA
Michigan ESPN 3.3 3.1% 5,200 3.4%
Bristol ABC 3.7 27.6% 5,905 16.5%
Atlanta ESPN 3.4 NA 5,558 NA
Richmond ABC 3.3 -10.8% 5,079 -17.6%
Chicago ESPN 2.6 NA 3,949 NA
New Hampshire ESPN 2.2 -18.5% 3,517 -17.0%
Dover ESPN 2.2 -15.4% 3,581 -12.5%
Talladega ESPN 3.2 -3.0% 5,113 -5.8%
Charlotte ABC 3.2 0.0% 5,095 -5.6%
Kansas ESPN 2.5 -3.8% 3,897 -6.6%
Martinsville ESPN 2.4 -22.6% 3,617 -26.5%
Texas ESPN 2.5 -13.8% 3,943 -16.6%
Phoenix ESPN 2.8 -3.4% 4,423 -7.2%
Totals 3.6 -5.3% 5,790 -10.1%

Note: Does not include the season-ending race at Homestead. Percentages are based on comparable events, not comparable weekends.
NA: Not applicable because of rainout
Source: Austin Karp, SportsBusiness Daily

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