Opposite the NCAA Tournament and Tiger Woods, Sunday’s rain-shortened Auto Club 500 sputtered in the ratings.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 500 from Fontana drew a 3.8 final rating and 6.153 million viewers on FOX, down 17% in ratings and 24% in viewership from the same race last year (4.6, 8.080M), and down 14% and 16%, respectively, from the comparable Food City 500 in 2010 (4.4, 7.357M).
The 3.8 rating is the lowest for the Auto Club 500 since at least 1998 (ratings prior to 1999 were not available). The previous thirteen-year low was a 4.2 in 2000.
So far this season, four of the first five Sprint Cup races on FOX have suffered declines in ratings and viewership compared to last year. Ominously, several of the races have been among the lowest rated in several years.
The rain-delayed Daytona 500 (8.0) was the second-lowest rated since 1995, the Kobalt Tools 500 from Las Vegas (5.2) was the third-lowest rated since the race began in 1998, and the Food City 500 from Bristol (4.4) was the second-lowest rated since 2000.
The Subway Fresh Fit 500 from Phoenix (5.6) was the second-highest rated since the race began in 2005. However, it was the lowest rated race on the second weekend of the season since FOX began televising NASCAR races in 2001.
Despite the generally lower numbers, average ratings and viewership for ‘NASCAR on FOX’ are not too far below last year’s pace. FOX averaged a 5.8 and 9.7 million viewers for the first five races of the season, down 6% in ratings and 10% in viewership from last year (6.2, 10.8M).
(Sunday’s numbers obtained from Jayski)