Daytona 500 Ratings: Race Nets Big Increases in Big Markets

Posted by | February 26, 2013 at 6:38 PM

The highest rated Daytona 500 in five years had disproportionately large increases in some of the biggest markets in the country.

Ratings for the Daytona 500 collectively increased by 42% in the nation’s top ten television markets, Fox Sports said in a Tuesday press release, outpacing the 24% increase nationally. In particular, the top three markets — New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago — each had increases of over 40%.

In the nation’s #1 market, New York, the race earned a 5.0 rating — up 43% from last year’s Monday night race (3.5), up 22% from 2011 (4.1), and the market’s highest rating for the race since 2005 (5.5).

Los Angeles (#2) turned in a 6.4 rating, up a whopping 60% from last year (4.0), up 56% from 2011 (4.1), and the highest local rating for the race since 2004 (6.9). Keep in mind the race faced tough competition from the Lakers’ NBA game on ABC (7.6).

Chicago (#3) had arguably the most impressive performance, averaging a 8.4 rating — up 91% from last year (4.4), up 46% from 2011 (5.8), and the highest local rating since 2005 (9.0). To put that in perspective, the Blackhawks’ top rating this season was a 7.4.

Other notable top ten markets included Dallas-Ft. Worth (#5), where the race earned an 8.1 rating — up 25% from last year (6.5), up 13% from 2011 (7.2), and the market’s highest local rating since 2006 (9.8). The race topped the Mavericks’ 4.3 rating on ABC by 88%.

The Bay Area (#6) averaged a 5.9 for the race, up 64% from last year (3.6), up 26% from 2011 (4.7), and the market’s top rating since at least 2003.

The race also had an 8.1 in Boston (#7), up 59% from last year (5.1), up 69% from 2011 (4.8), and tied as the market’s highest rating for the race since 2005 (8.6). By comparison, last year’s NBA Finals averaged a 7.2 in the market.

It should be pointed out that despite the increases, these large markets also finished well below the national average of 9.9. The top overall markets for the race were Greensboro, NC (21.8), Indianapolis (20.5), Charlotte (20.3), Jacksonville (19.6), and Dayton (19.1).

(2013 and 2012 local numbers from Fox Sports via Fang’s Bites; 2011 and 2010 numbers from Fox Sports via Fang’s Bites; 2004-2009 numbers from Sports Business Daily)