Yesterday's 3.9/9 is down -7% compared to last year's Bristol race. The effect of last week's early season bye week, which is always damaging, was even worse than expected this year. Sunday's 3.9/9 is -26% lower than the 5.3/11 that FOX earned for the Las Vegas race that preceded the bye.
Last year FOX came out of the bye week with a 4.2/9 for Bristol, which was just -12% lower than the 4.8/11 posted in Atlanta two weeks earlier. Competition from the NCAA Tournament does not appear to have been a major driver of the decline. Although the Tournament was generally stronger this weekend, the two windows that faced the Bristol race were up only +4% over last year (5.8/13 vs. 5.6/13). Despite this week's decline NASCAR is still pacing ahead of last year for the season-to-date. FOX has averaged a 5.7/12 for its first four races, up +10% over last season's.