03/21/12 The 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on the ABC network posted a very strong 13 percent ratings increase over last year’s broadcast, making it the most-watched Sebring race ever.
According to Nielsen’s preliminary overnight ratings, this year’s opening race of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron achieved a 0.51 rating versus a 0.45 in 2011 (These numbers are small for network TV). That translates to well over a half-million U.S. households that tuned in. No figures for online viewership on ESPN3 or ESPN3 via Microsoft’s X-Box LIVE were immediately available, so the total viewing audience is expected to increase still further when those figures are taken into account.
Last year’s Sebring race was the first time the event aired on the ABC network, and it set a record for viewership of the classic 12-hour enduro. Previously, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring had been broadcast exclusively on cable TV.
“We expected a solid ratings performance this year owing to a number of factors attracting interest," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “Fans wanting to witness the historic 60th anniversary of this classic motorsport event – plus the sheer quality and quantity of the field of 64 of the world’s fastest prototypes and the best GT racing on the planet – made for a show that clearly boosted our rating. It also means we’ve delivered increased ROI for our broadcast sponsors and marketing partners. Such a solid increase in TV ratings is a great way to start our 2012 season."
Attendance at the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida broke all previous records as well.
“The 60th Sebring was everything we had hoped for," stated Sebring Raceway President and General Manager Tres Stephenson. “An epic race, great weather and a record crowd. We are already planning to make next year another record-breaker!"
The next race in the 10-event ALMS championship will be the live broadcast of the Tequila PatrÂ¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. ESPN2 will air the race live from the world famous Long Beach Grand Prix circuit in Long Beach, Calif., starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. The race will still be carried simultaneously on ESPN3. Viewers outside the U.S. will be able to watch live on ALMS.com. The Series’ website will offer additional content such as live in-car cameras, timing and scoring, and car-to-pit radio.