Indy 500 TV Rating (3rd Update)

UPDATE This year's Indy 500 TV ratings represent the lowest TV Rating for a live broadcast in the 31 years the race has been broadcast. Domestic IndyCar TV ratings have dropped every race this year. Where is the growth? There is only contraction. Ditto for NASCAR. In fact NASCAR is even worse.

While there are many reasons for this contraction of TV Ratings, which have a direct correlation to total sponsor dollars in the paddock, the latest observation is that since the advent of Twitter, motorsports TV ratings have plummeted.

Is there a direct correlation with the rise of twitter and the fall of TV ratings? Of course there is. With busy lives why sit in front of a TV screen when you can get constant race updates on your smartphone – for free. So while these race series tout their twitter numbers and Snapchat numbers, in fact they are cutting their own throats.

Race series and their teams generate $0.00 from twitter. Meanwhile, good TV ratings generate sponsor dollars and have a direct correlation to the health of a race series. With twitter destroying TV ratings, i.e. giving the news away for free, series death is only inevitable. In fact twitter results in news being given away for free worldwide every day. There is no free lunch. When all the news agencies and race series go out of business, the 'free' generation that create things like twitter to get news for free, will only have 'fake' news to read and motorsports will be ancient history.

Worldwide the Indy 500 likely had well over 10 million viewers, but we will never know because IndyCar does not attempt to aggregate them

05/30/17 These two articles talk about the Indy 500 TV ratings in Spain and England:


Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso didn’t miss racing in the F1 Monaco Grand Prix he skipped for the Indianapolis 500, and it doesn’t sound like people from his home country did either. The reported Spanish television audience for the Indy 500 was more than double that of Monaco on Sunday.

05/30/17 Based on Nielsen Fast National data, ABC’s telecast of the Indianapolis 500 averaged a 3.3 final rating and 5,272,000 viewers, down 13.2% and 10.1% respectively from 2016. Despite the lower numbers, the Indy 500 topped NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte by 29%, its largest metered-market lead over its stock car rival since 2005.

The 2016 race averaged a 3.8 rating and 5,860,000 viewers.

Last year, the race was televised live in Indianapolis and earned a 33.6 local rating vs 14.7 for a delayed broadcast in 2016, boosting the national rating by two-tenths of a rating point. Indianapolis ratings in 2017 increased from 12.7 (a comparable delayed broadcast in 2015).

Nationally, the race peaked in the 3:30-4pm half hour with a 4.1 HH rating and 6,518,000 viewers.

The top 10 local market ratings:

Indianapolis 14.7

Dayton 8.9

Louisville 6.7

Ft. Myers 6.7

Nashville 6.4

Greenville, SC 6.3

Milwaukee 6.1

Albuquerque 5.7

Cincinnati 5.5

Portland, OR 5.3

Start of 201 Indy 500
Start of 2017 Indy 500


The overnight TV rating for the 2017 Indy 500 on ABC was a 3.6, down 12.2% from from last year's 4.1 overnight also on ABC. However, the overnight rating from last year included the 33.6 rating for the live telecast in the Indy market for the 100th running. Because the race was a sellout last year the race was not blacked out in Indianapolis, but it was blacked out this year as it normally is. This contributed to this year's overnight drop.

The Telecast peaked at 4.2 from 3:30-4 p.m. ET, which was the end of the race.

This year’s race earned a 14.7 tape-delayed rating in the Indy market, up 15.7% from a comparable 12.7 for the delayed telecast in 2015.

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