Opposite afternoon coverage of the Olympics that attracted an audience on par with the NBA Finals or NCAA Final Four, the NASCAR Brickyard 400 unsurprisingly suffered a decline in ratings on Sunday.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400 from Indianapolis drew a 3.3 U.S. rating and 5.054 million viewers on ESPN Sunday afternoon, down 18% in ratings and 21% in viewership from last year (4.0, 6.377M), and down 8% and 11%, respectively, from 2010 (3.6, 5.709M).
This marks the lowest rated edition of the Brickyard 400, which debuted in 1994. The previous record low of 3.6 was set in 2010.
In addition, the five million viewers for the race is the lowest tally since at least 2001 (viewership prior to 2002 was not immediately available).
The record low numbers should be no surprise, nor should they be cause for much concern. On NBC alone, coverage of the Olympics attracted sixteen million viewers Sunday afternoon, an audience well beyond that of even the Daytona 500 (13.669M).
Factor in a few extra million viewers on the various NBC cable networks, and the Olympics provided competition that NASCAR generally only faces during NFL season.
Sunday’s race drew a 10.9 rating in Indianapolis, leading all markets.
(Sunday’s numbers from ESPN)