NASCAR saw a 5% viewership drop this season for the Cup Series, reports SBJ’s Austin Karp. The stock car racing circuit averaged 2.86 million viewers across NBC, Fox, FS1 and USA this season, down from 3.03 million last year (from the Daytona 500 in February through the finale in Phoenix this past weekend).
Those figures exclude The Clash and All-Star Race. The Cup Series had four Monday finishes this year due to weather (those are factored into the numbers).
Sunday’s championship race from Phoenix averaged 3 million viewers, which is the best for any of the playoff races this season, but it’s also likely the least-watched Cup finale since the playoff system started in 2004. Last season, the championship race in Phoenix averaged 3.4 million. NBC’s audience peaked at 3.8 million viewers on Sunday as Ryan Blaney was taking home the title.
NBC Sports (NBC and USA) averaged 2.47 million viewers for its 20 races in the back part of the season, up around 1% from 2.45 million last year. The debut Cup race on the streets of Chicago drew 4.79 million, marking NBC’s best Cup race in six years (and second-best of the year after Fox’ Daytona 500).
The July 23 race at Pocono averaged 2.83 million viewers, which marked the most-watched Cup Series race on cable in 2023 and the best Cup race on any cable network since 2021.
Beyond the top-level circuit, NASCAR averaged just over 1 million viewers for the Xfinity Series (flat compared to 2022) and 594,000 viewers for the Craftsman Truck Series (down 5%).
November 9, 2023
We have been tracking the NASCAR NBC and USA TV ratings every week and they have been consistently down almost every week, sometimes by large percentages.
The loss of viewers in the all-important 18-49 year old bracket has been alarming, with percentages consistently well under 20% of the viewers.
Our data is based on Nielsen ratings.
However, NBC put out this press release using data that has not been 100% audited and they are including streaming viewers that we have no way of knowing their accuracy, but here is what they have to say:
NBC Press Release
NBC Sports’ coverage of the second half of the 2023 NASCAR season delivered viewership gains across the Cup and Xfinity Series, highlighted by the inaugural Cup Series race on the Streets of Chicago and coverage on the NBC broadcast network.
The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series on NBC, USA Network, Peacock and NBC Sports Digital delivered a Total Audience Delivery of 2.47 million viewers across 20 races, up vs. comparable coverage in 2022 (2.45 million viewers), according to data provided by the Nielsen Company and Adobe Analytics.
Viewership gains were driven by NBC Sports’ coverage of the inaugural Cup Series race on the Streets of Chicago on NBC and Peacock, which delivered a TAD of 4.79 million viewers to rank as NBC Sports’ most-watched NASCAR race in six years and the second-most watched race of the season behind the Daytona 500 on Fox.
Overall, NASCAR Cup Series viewership on the NBC broadcast network was up 3% vs. 2022, including last Sunday’s championship race won by Ryan Blaney, which averaged a TAD of 3.03 million viewers.
Additional Cup Series viewership highlights:
- 16 of 20 Cup Series races averaged a TAD of at least two million viewers, up from 15 of 20 races in 2022;
- Three of USA Network’s Cup Series races (Atlanta, New Hampshire and Richmond) ranked as the most-watched sports programs on television on their respective days, and an additional three USA Network Cup Series races (Pocono, Watkins Glen and Darlington) ranked as the most-watched cable sports programs on their respective days;
- The July 23 race at Pocono averaged a TAD of 2.83 million viewers, making it the most-watched Cup Series race on cable in 2023 and the most-watched Cup Series race on any cable network since 2021.
NBC Sports’ coverage of the second half of the 2023 Xfinity Series delivered a Total Audience Delivery of 1.04 million viewers, up 9% vs. 2022 to make it NBC Sports’ most-watched Xfinity Series season since 2017.
Charlotte and Greensboro led all markets for NBC Sports’ 2023 20-race Cup Series coverage. Below is the full list of Top 10 markets for the season: