Fox Sports has ended another NASCAR season and it continued its theme for 2017 finishing with another ratings low. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma on FS1 Sunday finished with a 2.0 final rating and 3.2 million viewers. That’s down 17% in ratings and viewership from last year (2.4/3.9 million).
That’s the lowest rating for the race dating back to 1998 and lowest viewership since 2002. Sports Media Watch points out that when the race aired on TNT in 2012, Sonoma had a 3.3 rating and 5.2 million viewers. For the season, Fox/FS1’s 15 Cup races either set or tied a multi-year ratings low. Twelve races set or tied multi-year viewership lows.
Back in March, we noted the low ratings and how NASCAR has tried to stem the tide with various tweaks to the points system, changes on how races are run, but they still haven’t been enough to reverse the fall.
Here are some of the races on Fox or FS1 that have suffered lows:
Michigan (FS1, 6/18) — 1.85 rating/3.1 million viewers (ratings down 16%/viewership off 9% from last year), lowest ratings since 1996, lowest viewership dating back to 2000.
Pocono (FS1, 6/11) — 2.2 rating/3.56 million viewers (ratings down from 2.3/viewership down 2% from last year), lowest-rated (excluding rainouts) since 2000 and least-viewed since 2001.
Dover (FS1, 6/4) — 2.1 rating/3.4 million viewers (ratings and viewership off 16% from 2016), lowest-rated race since at least 1998 and least-watched since 2001.
Charlotte (Fox, 5/28) — 2.8 rating/4.6 million viewers (ratings down 18%/viewership down 19%), lowest-rated since 1996 and least viewed since 2000.
Kansas (FS1, 5/13) — 1.55 rating/2.6 million viewers (rating down 18%/viewership decreased by 17% from the year before), tied as the lowest-rated race and 2nd lowest-viewed since 2011.
Talladega (Fox, 5/7) — 3.5 rating/5.9 million viewers (ratings down 13%/viewership off 11% from last year), lowest ratings since 1997 and lowest-viewed since 2001.
Richmond (Fox, 4/30) — 2.9 rating/4.6 million viewers (ratings dropped 6%/viewership down 4% from 2016), ratings tied for lowest since 2001 with viewership lowest since 2004.
Phoenix (Fox, 3/19) – 3.3. rating/5.4 million viewers (ratings down 18%/viewership off 19% versus last year), it was the 4th lowest-rated ever NASCAR race on Fox.
Las Vegas (Fox, 3/12) – 3.6 rating/6.0 million viewers (rating down 18%/viewership off 17% compared to last year), lowest ratings in the history of the race, viewership lowest since 2001
Atlanta (Fox, 3/5) – 3.8 rating/6.6 million viewers (ratings down 7%/viewership off 3% from last year), lowest race rating since 1998 for race following Daytona.
Daytona (Fox, 2/26) — 6.6 rating/11.9 million viewers (ratings flat/viewership up 5% from 2016), tied for second-lowest race since 1979.
So you can see how the ratings and viewership have decreased. And by setting record lows, it’s a massive cause for concern for both NASCAR and its TV partners. With NBC taking over the season this weekend, the Peacock is hoping that it won’t suffer as much, but there’s no evidence at this point that it can reverse the fall.