Thanks in part to last year’s low numbers, ratings and viewership for NASCAR’s Chase For the Cup increased on ESPN/ABC.
The 2011 Chase For the Cup averaged a 3.1 U.S. rating and 4.763 million viewers on ESPN and ABC, up 14% in ratings and 6% in viewership from last year (2.7, 4.494M), but down 9% and 13%, respectively, from 2009 (3.4, 5.489M).
This year’s averages exclude the Geico 400 from Chicago, which was postponed due to rain.
The 3.1 average rating for the Chase is the second-lowest ever, ahead of only last year. That said, this marks just the second time that average ratings for the Chase have increased from the previous year.
Unlike last year, when ratings and viewership declined for every Chase telecast, seven races had increases in ratings and eight had increases in viewership. Five races were up double-digits in ratings and viewership compared to last year.
Only one race had a decline in ratings or viewership — the November 6 AAA Texas 500, which was down 2% in viewership.
Though generally up from last year, only two races had increases in ratings and viewership compared to 2009 — the October 30 Tums Fast Relief 500 from Martinsville (up 7% and 5%, respectively, from 2009) and Sunday’s Ford 400 from Homestead, FL (up 11% and 21%, respectively, from 2009). Of course, 2009 was the last year ABC aired every Chase telecast.
The season-ending Ford 400 was the most-viewed Chase For the Cup telecast since 2008, and the most-viewed season finale since 2007. For more details on that race, click here.
(This year’s averages from ESPN)