TV News: Weekend USA TV Ratings (Update)

ESPN’s telecast of the F1 Hungarian GP drew the race’s largest ever US TV audience, peaking at 1.5 million viewers on a Sunday morning.

Heading into the summer break, ESPN’s F1 ratings are up another 35% this year from last year to an average of 1.3 million viewers.

F1 averaged 934,000 viewers last year which was up 39% from 2019 and the best all-time in the U.S., beating the prior record of 748,000 in 1995.

The Cubs/Giants Sunday Night Baseball game had 11,000 more viewers than the F1 Hungarian GP, but the F1 telecast had almost 90% more adults under 50.

Additionally, F1 qualifying on Saturday led all ‘cable’ live broadcasts in adults under 50.

August 2, 2022 


NASCAR: The NASCAR Verizon 200 Cup race from Indianapolis on NBC drew 3.373 million viewers, up 19.1% from last year’s race of 2.831 million viewers, also on NBC. The TV rating was up 13.89%

The NASCAR Xfinity race from Indianapolis on NBC drew 1.516 million viewers, up 64.6% from last year’s 921,000 viewers on NBCSN. The TV rating was up 67.86%.  The race moved from cable to over-the-air NBC this year, so of course the rating was up big.

Most important – only 19% of the NASCAR race viewers were young (18-49 years old) indicating an old, aging out fan base. Although the NASCAR race drew twice as many overall viewers than the F1 race because it was on NBC instead of a cable channel, the F1 race still drew more total viewers under 50 years old.  A key metric.

Formula 1: The F1 Hungarian GP on ESPN Sunday morning drew 1.249 million viewers, up 29.5% from last year’s 964,000 viewers, also on ESPN.  Most important:  52% of the F1 race viewers were young (18-49 years old) blowing away all other race series with its vibrant fan base.  All the other series have an old, aging out fan base. Once again, F1 on cable channel ESPN on a Sunday morning drew more viewers (+19.4%) than IndyCar on over-the-air NBC. If F1 had an American driver in a competitive F1 drive, the TV ratings would be off the charts.

IndyCar: The Gallagher GP IndyCar race on the Indianapolis Speedway road course drew 1.046 million viewers, up 108% from last year’s 502,000 on NBCSN. The rating was up 123% but the number of viewers 108%. Of course, last year was NBCSN, so not unexpected – the network that ruined any chance IndyCar had of growth for over 10 years.  Most important – only 22% of the IndyCar race viewers were young (18-49 years old) indicating an old, aging out fan base.

Weekend TV Ratings

Network Event Location Total Viewers 18-49 Viewers Ratio:
/18-49 Yr Old
Total Viewers
2022 TV Rating 2021 TV Rating %Chg
NBC NASCAR Cup Race L Indianapolis 3,373,000 640,000 19% 2.05 1.80 13.89%
NBC NASCAR Xfinity Race L Indianapolis 1,516,000 267,000 18% 0.94 0.56 *67.86%
ESPN F1 Hungarian GP L Budapest 1,249,000 645,000 52% 0.74 0.57 29.5%
NBC IndyCar Race L Indianapolis 1,046,000 233,000 22% 0.67 0.30 *123.33%
FOX NHRA NW Nationals L Kent, WA 622,000 98,000 16% 0.37 N/A **N/A
FS1 NASCAR Truck Race L IRP 492,000 115,000 23% 0.31 N/A **N/A
ESPN F1 Hungarian GP Pre-Race L Budapest 347,000 132,000 38% 0.19
FS1 ARCA Race L IRP 219,000 47,000 21% 0.14 **

*Race was on NBCSN last year, NBC this year
**Race was not held in 2021