According to Nielsen Media, the 17 races aired across ESPN and ABC averaged a 3.0 U.S. household rating, up from a 2.9 for last year, and averaged 4.8 million viewers, up from 4.6 million last year. Fourteen of the races aired on ESPN and three Saturday night events aired on ABC.
The 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup averaged a 2.8 U.S. household rating, up from a 2.7 for last year, and 4.5 million viewers, up from 4.2 million last year. Seven of the nine Chase races that were run and telecast as scheduled saw ratings and viewership growth over last year. The opening race of the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway was rain-delayed and not included in the totals.
The highest-rated race during ESPN’s schedule was the Aug. 24 Saturday night event at Bristol Motor Speedway, which earned a 3.9 U.S. household rating on ABC. The second-highest was the July 28 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which earned a 3.6 rating on ESPN.
The metered market with the highest average rating for the 17 races was Greensboro, N.C., which averaged an 8.3 rating. Greensboro also was the top-rated metered market for nine of the 17 races, was second five times and third twice. Greensboro had ratings of 10.0 and higher for four races, including a 10.3 for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Greenville, S.C., was the second-highest metered market for ESPN’s portion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule with an average rating of 8.0, finishing first in the nation six times.
Rounding out the top 10 metered markets were Norfolk, Va., and Knoxville, Tenn., 6.3; Charlotte, N.C., 6.1; Indianapolis, 6.0; Richmond, Va., 5.8; Birmingham, Ala., 5.6; Nashville, Tenn., 5.1; and Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla., at 5.0.
In addition to having the sixth-highest average rating, Indianapolis also scored the highest single-race metered market rating of ESPN’s portion of the season with a 13.7 for the Brickyard 400.