In an encouraging sign for Fox Sports 1, last weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Martinsville, VA (STP 500) gave the network one of its top audiences in its young history. The race garnered about 4.1 million viewers which is the 4th highest audience since Fox Sports 1 began in August 2013.

Three games of the National League Championship Series averaged higher audiences than last Sunday’s event.

However, the race’s viewership on Fox Sports 1 did draw a lower audience when compared with the last two years when it aired on Fox. Sports Media Watch points out that the Martinsville race drew 6.7 million people in 2014 and 6.9 million in 2013. That’s down 39% and 41% respectively.

The last time the race aired on cable was in 2002 on FX and it was able to average 5.4 million viewers. But this was the most-watched motorsports event on Fox Sports 1 beating the previous high, the Sprint Unlimited in 2014 which had 3.5 million viewers.

SMW says on two occasions, Fox Sports 1’s previous home, Speed, was able to draw audiences higher than last Sunday’s race, for the Sprint Cup All-Star Race in 2011 and 2008.

Overall, it’s an encouraging sign for Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports officials will tell you that they feel the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup races will garner even higher audiences. This year has seen higher ratings for Fox Sports 1 and a lot of that has to do with increased NASCAR programming which includes the Xfinity Series and Sprint Cup qualifying.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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