Daytona 500: Marred By Delays, Race Ties Sixth-Lowest TV Rating Since ’79

Posted by | February 28, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Considering the extenuating circumstances, Monday’s Daytona 500 earned solid television ratings on FOX.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 earned an 8.0 final rating and 13.7 million viewers on FOX Monday night, down 8% in ratings and 12% in viewership from last year (8.7, 15.597M), but up 4% and 3%, respectively, from 2010 (7.7, 13.294M).

Due to rain, the race was postponed from Sunday afternoon to Monday afternoon, and then postponed a second time from Monday afternoon to Monday night. During the race, there was a two-hour delay after a fiery explosion on the track.

The 8.0 rating for this year’s race is tied as the sixth-lowest for the Daytona 500 dating back to 1979 (34 telecasts), the first year the race was televised in full. This is the fourth straight year the Daytona 500 has drawn a single-digit final rating, the longest such streak since CBS held the rights.

The 13.7 million viewers ranks a more respectable fourteenth over the same time period.

New Orleans (7.3) led all markets in growth for this year’s Daytona 500, with a 46% increase over last year. Greensboro, SC (18.1) was the top overall market.

Daytona 500 Final Ratings Dating Back to 2001
(Full Daytona 500 ratings and viewership dating back to 1979 are available here.)

(Monday’s numbers from Fox Sports press release via Fang’s Bites)