Daytona 500 TV rating (2nd Update)

UPDATE Despite a new format and a later start time, Daytona 500 ratings could only match last year’s near-record low.

The NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 delivered a 6.6 final rating and 11.9 million viewers on FOX Sunday afternoon, flat in ratings and up 5% in viewership from last year (6.6, 11.4M) but down 14% and 11% respectively from 2015 (7.7, 13.4M).

Kurt Busch‘s win, which peaked with 14.0 million viewers in the fast-nationals, tied the second-lowest Daytona 500 rating since the live start-to-finish coverage of the race began in 1979. Only the 2014 race, which was pushed into primetime due to lengthy rain delays and faced the Olympics on NBC, had a lower rating (5.6).

Sunday’s race also delivered the third-smallest Daytona 500 audience since 1995 (11.4M), ranking ahead of only last year and 2014 (9.3M) over that span. Figures do not include the 40,000 who streamed coverage on Fox Sports GO, a record for NASCAR on the streaming platform, or the Spanish-language audience on Fox Deportes (n/a). Even with those numbers added to the mix, the audience of 12.0 million still ranks as the third-smallest in 22 years.

The Daytona 500 has now failed to earn at least a 7.0 rating or 12 million viewers in three of the past four years. During NASCAR’s 2000s heyday, the race topped a 10.0 rating and 17 million viewers in seven of eight years from 2001-08.

Though ratings were flat overall, Sunday’s race did post growth in key demographics — including an uptick among adults 18-49 (from 2.7 to 2.8). Ratings hit a four-year high among adults 18-34, rising 13% from 1.6 to 1.8. In addition, the five percent bump in viewership ended a streak of 12 straight Cup Series races to decline year-over-year.

Compared to other sports, the Daytona 500 trailed every game of the World Series and NBA Finals, all three games of last year’s NCAA Final Four, the final round of The Masters (7.7, 12.4M) and the race portion of the Kentucky Derby (9.0, 15.5M). It did top all-but-four of last season’s college football bowl games, including the half of the “New Year’s Six" — the Orange, Sugar and Cotton Bowls.

Greensboro N.C. led all markets Sunday with a 17.5 rating, followed by Greenville S.C. (16.5), Indianapolis (14.4), Knoxville TN (12.7) and Jacksonville (12.4). Sports Media Watch

(Sun. numbers from Fox Sports)

None of the major events did particularly well by historical standards, but NASCAR’s Daytona Speedweeks still managed an increase on Fox Sports.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series opener from Daytona scored a 1.4 final rating and 2.3 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 Saturday afternoon, flat in ratings but up 6% in viewership from last year (1.4, 2.1M) but down 18% and 23% respectively from 2015 (1.7, 2.9M).

The 1.4 rating is tied as the lowest for the race since at least 1998. As recently as 2012, it had a 2.9 rating and 4.4 million on ESPN.

Less than 24 hours earlier, the Truck Series race from Daytona pulled a 0.8 and 1.3 million on FS1 down a tick in ratings and 8% in viewership from last year (0.9, 1.4M) and down 20% and 15% respectively from 2015 (1.0, 1.6M). It was the lowest rated and least-watched Truck Series opener since at least 2010.

Not counting The Clash, which was postponed a day due to rain, ratings for all five Daytona Speedweeks events this year set or tied a multi-year low. Having said that, viewership did increase for the two biggest events, the Xfinity and Cup Series races.

Despite the generally low numbers, the full Daytona Speedweeks coverage averaged 463,000 viewers across the Fox Sports networks — up 14% from last year (405K). That includes an average of 276,000 on FS1 alone, up 28% from last year and the network’s best-ever average for the event (including its days as Speed Channel*).

The averages were helped by double-digit growth for shoulder programming. Daytona 500 pre-race coverage increased 16% on FOX (from 5.3M to 6.1M) and 30% on FS1 (from 841K to 1.1M), the Xfinity Series pre-race increased 8% (from 1.1M to 1.2M) and the post-race 6% (from 2.1M to 2.3M), the Duel at Daytona pre-race increased 15% (from 527K to 604K), and NASCAR Race Hub averaged a 15% bump (from 186K to 214K).

Severely delayed/postponed events in italics
2017 6.6 11.92M 1.4 2.25M 0.8 1.31M 1.5 2.51M 1.5 2.40M 1.2 1.85M
2016 6.6 11.36M 1.4 2.12M 0.9 1.44M 1.6 2.55M 1.7 2.83M 2.8 4.84M
2015 7.7 13.36M 1.7 2.94M 1.0 1.55M 1.8 3.02M 2.1 3.40M 3.2 5.61M
2014 5.6 9.30M 1.8 2.74M 0.9 1.50M 1.9 3.12M 1.8 2.91M 2.0 3.53M
2013 9.9 16.65M 2.2 3.36M 0.9 1.40M 1.3 1.97M 2.0 3.10M 3.5 5.72M
2012 8.0 13.67M 2.9 4.43M 1.2 1.96M 1.2 1.80M 2.0 3.21M 4.2 7.47M
2011 8.7 15.60M 2.1 3.25M 1.0 1.79M 1.2 1.92M 2.0 3.30M 4.5 7.85M

* Keep in mind FS1/Speed Channel did not air the Xfinity Series race until 2015. Sports Media Watch

02/27/17 With a thrilling, last-lap pass in the first MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race to feature the new stage format, 2004 NASCAR premier series champion Kurt Busch won Sunday’s season-opening DAYTONA 500 on FOX, with 23.3 million viewers tuning in for all or part of the event. An average audience of 12 million watched the race across the FOX broadcast network, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports GO, including 11.92 million on FOX alone.

Key 2017 DAYTONA 500 highlights are below:

  • The race averaged 11.922 million viewers on FOX, up +5% over 2016’s average audience of 11.357 million, peaking at 14.031 million viewers from 6:15-6:30 PM ET
  • The DAYTONA 500 scored a 6.6/15 HH rating, which is flat overall compared to the 2016 edition but delivers positive gains across key male and adult demographics:



HH Rating vs 2016

Men 18-34


2.2 vs 2.0 (ties a four-year high)

Men 18-49


3.7 vs 3.4

Men 25-54


5.2 vs 5.0

Adults 18-34


1.8 vs 1.6 (ties a four-year high)

Adults 18-49


2.8 vs 2.7

Adults 25-54


3.9 vs 3.8

  • The race projects to rank as the highest-rated and most-watched sports event of the weekend and the highest-rated and most-watched sports event since the Feb. 5 Super Bowl on FOX
  • The DAYTONA 500 projects to rank as FOX’s highest-rated and most-watched telecast of any kind since Super Bowl Sunday
  • The race continues to remain the No. 1 motor sports event in television
  • Top-Five Markets: Core NASCAR markets led the way with Greensboro, N.C., finishing first with a 17.5/31, followed by Greenville, S.C. (16.5/28), Indianapolis (14.4/26), Knoxville, Tenn. (12.7/22) and Jacksonville, Fla. (12.4/22). Markets that experienced the largest year-over-year increases include Austin, Texas (+111%), San Diego (+74%), Oklahoma City (+49%) and Norfolk, Va. (+47%). Yesterday’s race also saw significant gains in America’s biggest markets, including Chicago (+18%), Philadelphia (+32%), Washington, D.C. (+18%) and Atlanta (+20%).

FOX SPORTS GO: FOX Sports GO delivered an average minute audience of 39,832, up +99% over last year’s 20,008, marking the best performance ever for a NASCAR event on FOX Sports GO.

SOCIAL: The DAYTONA 500 was the second-most talked-about event on social media Sunday, trailing only the Academy Awards, with 443,000 people posting about the race on Twitter or Facebook. Two million people posted or engaged socially regarding the DAYTONA 500.

FOXSPORTS.COM: NASCAR was the most popular section on on Sunday, with 450,000 people visiting the section. One in three visitors to consumed NASCAR content on Sunday, while users averaged 9.2 minutes on the site.

FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2017 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES continues this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with live race coverage on FOX at 2:30 PM ET and pre-race coverage beginning at 2:00 PM ET on FOX NASCAR SUNDAY. For more FOX NASCAR information, please visit FOX SPORTS PRESS PASS.

02/27/17 Fox yesterday drew a 6.5 overnight rating for Kurt Busch's last-lap win at the Daytona 500, a figure that is mixed from recent years. This year's race, which saw the introduction of a new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition format and had a later 2:00pm ET start, was up 7% from a 6.1 overnight for last year's 1:30pm start, when Denny Hamlin beat out Martin Truex Jr. in what was the closest Daytona 500 finish ever.

However, the 6.5 overnight is down 11% from a 7.3 for Joey Logano's win in '15. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the event in '14, but that race had six hours of weather delays and did not finish until close to 11:30pm (5.6 overnight).

Jimmie Johnson's win in '13 drew a 10.0 overnight, but that race also featured a then-rookie Danica Patrick on the pole for the race. Earnhardt yesterday wrecked in lap 105 after leading eight laps, while Johnson and Patrick were taken out in wrecks in lap 128 (event has 200 laps). Meanwhile, Fox' pre-race coverage was up 16% from last year. Austin Karp/SBD

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