After a strong performance the last two years, NASCAR’s annual night race at Bristol fell back to earth over the weekend.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Bristol drew a 3.2 U.S. rating and 5.1 million viewers on ABC, down 18% in ratings and 20% in viewership from last year (3.9, 6.3M), down 14% in both measures from 2012 (3.7, 5.9M), and a three-year low in both measures.
The 3.2 rating is the third-lowest for the season’s second Bristol race since 2000 (2.9), ahead of only 2008 and 2011 (3.0 both years).
The ABC telecast was preempted in 11 television markets, up from seven last year and eight in 2012. Charlotte was among those 11 markets, with the race earning a 5.6 rating on independent affiliate WAXN — down 36% from last year on ABC affiliate WSOC (8.7).
Considering that most NASCAR races have had declines in ratings this season, the preemptions were likely only partly to blame. Of the 21 races this season that can be compared to last year, Bristol was the 18th to have a decline in ratings and the 16th to have a decline in viewership.
(Sat. numbers from ESPN)