Stewart accident helps NASCAR Watkins Glen TV ratings (2nd Update)

UPDATE #2 The news around Tony Stewart’s incident at a dirt track race last Saturday night contributed to increased viewership around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen Int’l on Sunday afternoon. ESPN finished with 4.94 million viewers for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, marking the race’s best audience figure since the net first aired the race in ’07.

ESPN also drew 2.23 million viewers for “NASCAR Countdown" leading up to the race, marking the cable net’s best figure for the pre-race show since Labor Day weekend in ’12, when a Sunday night telecast leading into the Atlanta Motor Speedway race drew 2.91 million viewers.

Meanwhile, ABC drew 1.93 million viewers for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday afternoon at WGI, up 12% from the same race in '13, which had to go head-to-head with the PGA Championship.

08/12/14 ESPN’s live telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Sunday, Aug. 10, earned a 3.1 'final' U.S. household rating, averaging 4,939,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media.

Both the rating and viewership rose from last year’s Watkins Glen race, which earned a 2.7 rating and averaged 4,171,328 viewers. The rating was the highest for the race since a 3.2 in 2010.

Indianapolis was the nation’s highest-rated metered market for the race telecast with a 9.6 rating, followed by Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville at 9.5 and Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem at 9.1. Charlotte was fourth at 7.3 and Knoxville, Tenn., fifth at 7.0.

Rounding out the top 10 were Raleigh-Durham, N.C., 6.9; Richmond, Va., 6.7; Tulsa and Nashville, 6.2; and Jacksonville, 6.0.

08/11/14 The news around driver Tony Stewart likely helped ESPN see increased ratings for its NASCAR coverage yesterday. The net drew a 3.1 overnight rating for the Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 from Watkins Glen Int'l yesterday from 1:00-5:45pm ET, which had a lengthy delay due to a crash. That figure is up 19% from a 2.6 overnight for the race last year.

Both races went head-to-head with the PGA Championship. ESPN also earned a 1.6 overnight for "NASCAR Countdown" from 12:00-1:00pm, which opened with nearly 20 minutes of coverage related to Stewart. Last week, the net only drew a 0.9 overnight for the pre-race show.

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