After lower ratings on both FOX and TNT, NASCAR’s ratings slump continued in its ESPN season debut.
Sunday’s Brickyard 400 drew a 3.6 U.S. rating and 5.709 million viewers on ESPN, down 12% in ratings and viewership from last year (4.1, 6.487 mil), down 16% and 14%, respectively, from 2008 (4.3, 6.668 mil), and down 14% and 13%, respectively, from 2007 (4.2, 6.574 mil).
This marks the lowest rating ever for the Brickyard 400, which debuted in 1994. Only once before had the race ever drawn less than a 4.0 rating — 2000, when it hit a then-record low 3.7 on ABC.
From 2001 to 2005, the race drew at least a 6.0 rating each year, topping out at a record-high 6.3 in 2002.
This is also the least viewed edition of the race since at least 2001 (viewership info prior to 2001 was not available).
Since moving to ESPN in 2007, the Brickyard 400 has been the highest rated, most-viewed NASCAR race on cable each season. However, this year’s race only ties the July 3 Coke Zero 400 in ratings (3.6) and ranks behind the race in viewership (6.127 mil).
Similarly, Sunday’s race tied this year’s Indianapolis 500 in ratings (3.6), but drew fewer viewers (5.793 mil). This is only the third time since ’01 that the Brickyard 400 has drawn fewer viewers than its Indianapolis Motor Speedway counterpart.