Nascar bounces back in Talladega as F1 and IndyCar continue early-season US viewership struggles

IndyCar viewership drops 70% YoY, Nascar exceeds 4m viewers for fifth time, and F1 fails to break 1m viewers again.
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Nascar posted strong US viewership figures for last weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, but Formula One and IndyCar continued their early-season viewership struggles.

Confirmed:

  • Nascar posts average viewership of 4.3 million, a five per cent decrease on last year
  • F1 averaged 626,000 viewers for the Chinese Grand Prix
  • IndyCar’s Long Beach saw an average audience of 307,000 tune in

Context:

While Nascar saw a year-on-year (YoY) decrease in viewership on Fox, averaging over four million viewers for the fifth time this season is already more than last year. It was the second-most watched sport of the weekend as it went up against two National Basketball Association (NBA) playoff games.

This competition was too much for IndyCar, though, which saw a 70 per cent YoY decrease for its Long Beach race going up against both Nascar and the NBA. It is the least-watched Long Beach race since it joined the IndyCar schedule in 2008.

Likely not helping was the fact the race was shown on USA Network, compared to the 1.03 million viewers that watched last year’s race on NBC. It could also be a sign that the month-long break between the first and second races of the season was not conducive to generating audience momentum.

Meanwhile, Formula One averaged 626,000 viewers on ESPN for the return of the Chinese Grand Prix, but there is no direct comparison for a previous race. The last race held in 2019 averaged 268,000 viewers on ESPN2, but this was before the series’ popularity increase in the US.

Coming next:

Nascar’s next race is at Dover Motor Speedway on 28th April, but this will likely see a dip in viewership with its broadcast slot on FS1 (last year’s race averaged 1.07 million viewers).

Formula One will hope that home support can carry it through the one million barrier for its next race in Miami on 5th May, while IndyCar will look to bounce back when it returns at Barber Motorsports Park on 28th April.

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