For the second straight week, NASCAR ratings plumbed the depths on ESPN.
Sunday’s NASCAR AAA 400 drew a 2.4 U.S. rating and 3.966 million viewers on ESPN, down 23% in ratings and 22% in viewership from last year’s race on ABC (3.1, 5.084 mil) and down 27% and 26%, respectively, from the 2008 race on ABC (3.3, 5.348 mil).
The 2.4 rating is the second-lowest ever for a Chase For The Cup race, ahead of only last week’s Sylvania 300 (2.3). Additionally, this is the second-lowest rated Sprint Cup race of any kind over at least the past four seasons.
Keep in mind this excludes rained out races.
This marks the lowest rated edition of the AAA 400 since at least 2000 (ratings prior to 2001 were not available) and the least viewed since at least 2001 (viewership prior to 2002 was not available).
While the declining ratings can be partly attributed to the move from broadcast (ABC) to cable (ESPN), keep in mind that the AAA 400 aired on cable network TNT four times in the past decade (2002, 2004-06) — drawing at least a 3.0 rating each year.
The same can be said of last week’s Sylvania 300. The 2.3 rating for that race not only trailed past editions of the race on ABC (2007-09), but TNT (2003-06) as well.
So far this season, four Sprint Cup races have drawn less than a 3.0 rating, compared to just one last year. Eight races have drawn less than five million viewers, compared to just four over the previous two seasons combined.
Overall, of the 23 NASCAR races that can be compared to last year, 18 have had a decline in ratings and 17 have had a decline in viewership.