NASCAR Wrap: Ratings, Viewership, Drop For Sprint Cup Series

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After an uptick last season, the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series suffered another decline in ratings.

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series averaged a 3.6 U.S. rating and 5.8 million viewers across FOX, TNT, ESPN and ABC, according to Sports Business Daily — down 5% in ratings and 11% in viewership from last year (3.8, 6.5M), and flat and down 4%, respectively, from 2010 (3.6, 6.0M).

Of the 33 races that can be compared to last year, 22 had declines in ratings, and 12 had double-digit declines.

The 11 highest rated races of the season aired on FOX. On the flip side, 10 of the 11 lowest-rated races aired on ESPN — with the caveat that most of those ESPN races aired opposite NFL football coverage.

The Daytona 500, not surprisingly, was the top race of the season (8.0, 13.7M). The top non-Daytona race was the Subway Fresh Fit 500 from Phoenix (5.6, 9.2M).

The Sylvania 300 from New Hampshire and the AAA 400 from Dover tied as the lowest rated of the season (2.2).

Also this season, coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series averaged a 1.3 U.S. rating and 2.0 million viewers on ESPN2, ESPN and ABC.

Ratings For 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
With comparisons to previous two seasons
All ratings are U.S. area ratings

Date Race Net 2012 2011 vs. ’11 2010 vs. ’10
Mon., 2/27/12 Daytona FOX
8.0
8.7
-8%
7.7
+4%
Sun., 3/4/12 Phoenix FOX
5.6
5.9
-5%
3.7
+51%
Sun., 3/11/12 Las Vegas FOX
5.2
5.9
-12%
4.4
+18%
Sun., 3/18/12 Bristol FOX
4.4
4.3
+2%
4.4
even
Sun., 3/25/12 Fontana FOX
3.8
4.6
-17%
5.6
-32%
Sun., 4/1/12 Martinsville FOX
4.3
4.4
-2%
rainout
Sat., 4/14/12 Texas FOX
4.0
4.0
even
rainout
Sun., 4/22/12 Kansas FOX
4.3
3.9
+10%
no race
Sat., 4/28/12 Richmond FOX
3.6
3.7
-3%
3.7
-3%
Sun., 5/6/12 Talladega FOX
5.1
5.2
-2%
5.2
-2%
Sat., 5/12/12 Darlington FOX
3.8
4.1
-7%
4.2
-10%
Sun., 5/27/12 Charlotte FOX
4.4
4.5
-2%
4.0
+10%
Sun., 6/3/12 Dover FOX
3.7
4.4
-16%
3.7
even
Sun., 6/10/12 Pocono TNT
3.2
3.1
+3%
3.1
+3%
Sun., 6/17/12 Michigan TNT
3.2
2.9
+10%
2.9
+10%
Sun., 6/24/12 Sonoma TNT
3.3
3.2
+3%
2.7
+22%
Sat., 6/30/12 Kentucky TNT
2.5
3.0
-17%
no race
Sat., 7/7/12 Daytona II TNT/TruTV
3.8
3.4
+12%
3.6
+6%
Sun., 7/15/12 Loudon (NH) TNT
3.1
2.9
+7%
3.0
+3%
Sun., 7/29/12 Indianapolis ESPN
3.3
4.0
-18%
3.6
-8%
Sun., 8/5/12 Pocono II ESPN
2.9
3.4
-15%
3.8
-24%
Sun., 8/12/12 Watkins Glen ESPN
2.8
rainout
3.2
-13%
Sun., 8/19/12 Michigan II ESPN
3.3
3.2
+3%
3.1
+6%
Sat., 8/25/12 Bristol II ABC
3.7
3.0
+23%
3.5
+6%
Sun., 9/2/12 Atlanta ESPN
3.4
rainout
3.4
even
Sat., 9/8/12 Richmond II ABC
3.3
3.7
-11%
3.1
+6%
Chase For the Cup
Sun., 9/16/12 Chicago ESPN
2.6
rainout
2.8
-7%
Sun., 9/23/12 Loudon (NH) II ESPN
2.2
2.7
-19%
2.3
-4%
Sun., 9/30/12 Dover II ESPN
2.2
2.6
-15%
2.4
-8%
Sun., 10/7/12 Talladega II ESPN
3.2
3.3
-3%
3.1
+3%
Sat., 10/13/12 Charlotte II ABC
3.2
3.2
even
3.2
even
Sun., 10/21/12 Kansas II ESPN
2.5
2.6
-4%
2.3
+9%
Sun., 10/28/12 Martinsvile II ESPN
2.4
3.1
-23%
2.4
even
Sun., 11/4/12 Texas II ESPN
2.5
2.9
-14%
2.9
-14%
Sun., 11/11/12 Phoenix II ESPN
2.8
2.9
-3%
2.5
+12%
Sun., 11/18/12 Homestead ESPN
3.0
4.0
-25%
3.3
-9%

(2012 Sprint Cup average from Sports Business Daily; Nationwide Series average from ESPN)

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