Indy 500: Final Rating Avoids Low, But Race Least-Viewed Ever

Posted by | May 29, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Final ratings for the Indianapolis 500 narrowly avoided setting an all-time record low.

The 2013 Indianapolis 500 drew a 3.7 rating and 5.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen fast-nationals — down 14% in ratings and 16% in viewership from last year (4.3, 6.8M), and down 8% and 15%, respectively, from 2011 (4.0, 6.7M).

The race ranks as the second-lowest rated Indianapolis 500 since the race began airing live from start-to-finish in 1986, ahead of only 2010 (3.6). Prior to 2010, the Indianapolis 500 had never dipped below a 4.0 final rating.

Viewership for the race was the lowest since ’86, falling below the previous mark set in 2010 (5.8M).

Final numbers were not immediately available for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte. The race had a 4.1 overnight, and is likely to inch up even further when the final numbers are released.

In the past ten years the Coca-Cola 600 and Indianapolis 500 have aired on the same day (2002-08, 2010-12), the NASCAR race has had a higher final rating nine times and a larger audience every time.

Indianapolis was the top market for Sunday’s race, with a 9.3 rating for a tape-delayed re-air in primetime. The 9.3 marks a 6% decline from last year (9.9), as the re-air aired directly opposite Game 3 of the Heat/Pacers NBA Eastern Conference Finals on TNT (17.3).

Dayton (OH) was the second-highest rated market, with an 8.6. Louisville (8.3), Oklahoma City (7.5) and Cincinnati (6.8) rounded out the top five.

Ratings, Viewership, For Indianapolis 500

Past decade
Year Date Winner
Net
Rating
Viewers
2013
Sun., 5/26/13
Kanaan
ABC
3.7
5.7M
2012
Sun., 5/27/12
Franchitti
ABC
4.3
6.8M
2011
Sun., 5/29/11
Wheldon
ABC
4.0
6.7M
2010
Sun., 5/30/10
Franchitti
ABC
3.6
5.8M
2009
Sun., 5/24/09
Castroneves
ABC
4.0
6.3M
2008
Sun., 5/25/08
Dixon
ABC
4.6
7.2M
2007
Sun., 5/27/07
Franchitti
ABC
4.3
6.4M
2006
Sun., 5/28/06
Hornish, Jr.
ABC
5.0
7.6M
2005
Sun., 5/29/05
Wheldon
ABC
6.5
9.7M
2004
Sun., 5/30/04
Rice
ABC
4.1
6.1M
2003
Sun., 5/25/03
de Ferran
ABC
4.6
6.7M

(This year’s numbers from ESPN)

  • Indianduh

    Zero, well one, comment. I think 3.7 might be a little high.

  • Morgan Wick

    Were there any changes from the fast nationals to the truly final ratings, or do you even know that? And regardless, do you have more specific numbers?

    • Paulsen

      No change. 3.7, 5.704M.