With Just One More Race To Go, NASCAR Ratings Continue To Drop


NASCAR continued its year-long ratings slump with Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500, the second-to-last race of the season.

The Kobalt Tools 500 drew a 2.5 U.S. rating and 4.201 million viewers on ESPN Sunday afternoon, down 24% in ratings and 19% in viewership from last year (3.3, 5.172 mil, ABC), and down 31% and 26%, respectively, from 2008 (3.6, 5.657 mil, ABC).

This marks the lowest rated edition of the race 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).

As recently as five years ago, the race drew a 5.0 rating and 7.433 million viewers on NBC. In every year since, ratings and viewership have declined for the race.

Sunday’s race is also tied as the fifth-lowest rated Chase For The Cup race ever (69 telecasts). Of the nine Chase races this year, seven rank among the ten lowest rated ever.

Overall this season, ten Sprint Cup races have drawn less than a 3.0 rating, and thirteen have drawn less than five million viewers. Last year, only one race dipped below 3.0, and only two drew less than five million.

Of the 30 NASCAR races that can be compared to last year, 25 have had declines in ratings and 24 have had declines in viewership.

Despite the lower numbers, Sunday’s race ranked as the 20th-most viewed program of the week on cable, and the third-most viewed ESPN program.

(Ratings/viewership from ESPN; weekly cable rankings from TV By The Numbers)