The NASCAR Sprint Cup ratings are in the midst of another tumble. This past Sunday’s race in Dover scored a record low 1.5 rating on NBCSN and 2.6 million viewers, but that’s down a huge 21% from last year (1.9 rating and 3.2 million viewers). And when you compare it to ESPN’s last year in 2014, it’s even worse off 35% in rating and 32% in viewership (2.3 rating, 3.8 million viewers).
It marks the third straight week that a Chase for the Cup race has seen record low ratings. Sports Media Watch points out that nine out of the past ten Sprint Cup race have hit multi-year lows and viewership, either a record-low or the lowest number in at least 15 years. And while you may think the Olympics may have had something to do with it, only one race, Watkins Glen actually went head-to-head with the Games.
The only race out of the last ten dating back to Kentucky to buck the trend was the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis on NBCSN which increased 3% in ratings from the year before and 11 percent in viewership.
One factor in the lower ratings may be due to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who has not raced since Kentucky. Still, NASCAR has experienced rating drops every season for the past few years and has not been able to stem the tide despite tweaks to the Chase for the Cup in hopes of attracting new fans.
Yet, despite the tweaks and adjustments, the norm for NASCAR has been lower ratings and unless something breaks, one wonders how long this trend will last.