While NASCAR is drawing 5 to 7 million viewers every race, NBC Sports Network is bragging about IndyCar's horribly low numbers, but at least there is some improvement. The second race of the IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Houston drew 396,000 viewers on NBCSN Sunday, up 146% from coverage in an earlier timeslot last year (161K). The first race earned 361,000 on Saturday, up 121% (163K).
Last year’s coverage aired in October, facing college football competition on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday. Though this year’s race still faced formidable competition in the World Cup, moving out of football’s shadow likely contributed to the massive increase.
So far this season, NBCSN has averaged 390,000 viewers for IndyCar coverage — up 34% from the comparable point last year (291K).
The problem is that all ratings on NBC Sports Network are low. In the press release below they brag about averaging 209,000 viewers across all shows and if not for the NHL and Olympic numbers that boosted that average significantly, it would be lower than that. How do you sell sponsors on an IndyCar deal with so few watching? Right, you don't. Hence why we have long maintained that IndyCar's welfare Leader Circle money would be better spent with all races on ABC where they would average over 1 million viewers per race.
Buoyed by record viewership for the Sochi Winter Games, the NHL regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Premier League's three most-watched months on U.S. sports cable, as well as rising ratings for Formula One and IndyCar racing, NBCSN averaged 203,000 Total Day viewers (6 a.m.-6 a.m.) in the first half of 2014 – marking the most-watched January-June in the network's history, according to live plus same day data released by The Nielsen Company.
In the first six months of 2014 (Dec. 30-June 29), NBCSN's Total Day viewership jumped 86% vs. last year's first half (109,000), and is up 61% from the prior best first half (126,000 in 2009). Even excluding the Winter Olympics, NBCSN averaged 150,000 viewers — up 38% from 2013 and 19% from the prior record in '09.
Over the past 12 months (July '13-June '14), NBCSN's Total Day growth tops all other sports cable networks with a 29% increase in viewership (to 141,000 average viewers), a 29% increase in Adults 18-49, and a 27% increase in Adults 25-54.
Â· In the second quarter (March 31-June 29), NBCSN posted its most-watched primetime quarter ever, highlighted by the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, averaging 722,000 viewers – up 14% from '13 (632,000).
Â· In the key Adult 18-49 and Adult 25-54 demos, NBCSN set quarterly primetime records averaging 354,000 and 375,000 Q2 viewers, respectively.
Â· NBCSN also set a record for second-quarter Total Day viewership with an average of 191,000 viewers – up 25% from '13.
VIEWERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIRST HALF OF 2014:
Â· NBCSN averaged 1.6 million viewers for the Sochi Games in the 6 a.m.-3 p.m. ET time period – a 134% increase over the network's comparable daytime coverage of the 2012 London Games (692,000 viewers). The Sochi Games had a nine-hour time difference vs. the Eastern Time zone in the United States compared to five hours for London in 2012.
Â· The 10 best weekday daytime audiences in NBCSN's history were provided by its 10 weekdays of Sochi coverage and the network's five highest viewership totals for weekend daytimes also came during coverage of the Sochi Games.
Â· NBCSN televised 62 Stanley Cup Playoff games, averaging 1.227 million viewers – the best Stanley Cup Playoffs ever for the network. The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs ranked as the most-watched NHL playoffs on cable since 1997.
Â· NBCSN delivered the Premier League's three most-watched months ever on U.S. sports cable, averaging a record 476,000 viewers in February, as well as 442,000 viewers in March, and 414,000 viewers in January.
Â· Over the first six races of the 2014 season on NBCSN, Formula One averaged 377,000 viewers — up 111% from the first six races of the 2013 F1 season (179,000 viewers).
Â· Through five races, NBCSN's IndyCar coverage registered 390,000 average viewers, up 34% from the 2013 season (291,000).