Thanks to persistent rain, NASCAR’s Chase For the Cup got off to a poor start last weekend.
Sunday’s rain-drenched NASCAR Sprint Cup Geico 400 from Chicago — the first race in the Chase For the Cup — earned a 1.8 U.S. rating and 2.7 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2.
Rain delayed the start of the race by an hour, and additional rain later in the day forced a five-hour postponement. Race coverage aired on ESPN for just under 90 minutes, averaging a 2.4 rating and 3.6 million viewers. ESPN2 then aired live coverage for just over two hours Sunday night, averaging a 1.3 and 2.1 million.
Not surprisingly, and with an obviously large caveat, the race ranks as the lowest rated and least-viewed of the Sprint Cup season.
Last year’s Geico 400, which was run as scheduled on ESPN, earned a 2.6 and 4.0 million viewers. The 2011 race was also postponed due to rain, earning a 1.6 and 2.2 million on a Monday afternoon.
Despite the weaker numbers, ESPN’s telecast of Sunday’s race still ranked among the 20 most-viewed programs of the week on cable (#18).
(Sun. numbers from ESPN)