|With Brian France's gimmicks the Daytona 500 drew a lower rating and fewer viewers than every game of last year's NBA Finals, World Series, Final Four and College Football Playoff, horse racing's Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, and the final round of The Masters|
Ratings for the Daytona 500 neared a record-low despite the closest finish in race history. The 2016 Daytona 500 earned a 6.6 'final' rating and 11.4 million viewers on FOX, down 14% in ratings and 15% in viewership from last year (7.7, 13.4M) but up 18% and 23%, respectively, from 2014, when coverage was delayed to primetime due to rain and faced the Winter Olympics (5.6, 9.3M).
Denny Hamlin's narrow win was the second-lowest rated Daytona 500 since live start-to-finish coverage began in 1979, ahead of only 2014. That spot was previously held by the 1990 race (7.3).
It also scored the second-smallest audience for the race since 1991 (10.9M), again ahead of only 2014.
Five of the ten lowest rated Daytona 500 telecasts have taken place in the past seven seasons. Compared to other sports, the Daytona 500 drew a lower rating and fewer viewers than every game of last year's NBA Finals, World Series, Final Four and College Football Playoff, horse racing's Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, and the final round of The Masters. Sports Media Watch
02/22/16 Fox earned a 6.1 overnight rating yesterday afternoon for Denny Hamlin's come-from-behind win in the Daytona 500, down 16% from a 7.3 for Joey Logano's win last year. However, yesterday's race, which featured Hamlin beating out Martin Truex Jr. in the closest finish in Daytona 500 history, is up 9% from a 5.6 overnight in '14, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the rain-delayed event. Fox drew a 10.0 overnight in '13 for Jimmie Johnson's win. Yesterday's race peaked at a 6.9 rating between 4:30-5:00pm ET, and projects to be the most-watched sports event of the weekend. It also will likely end up in the top 10 among all TV telecasts last week, but the drop from 10.0 in 2013 to 6.1 in 2016 is alarming – down 40% in just 3 years. Josh Carpenter/SBJ