Daytona 500 overnight ratings are in, and the numbers for NASCAR and Fox are… adequate.
The good news is that the race’s overnight was up slightly from last year’s race. The bad news is that last year’s race got highly disappointing ratings, so topping that number doesn’t mean too much.
Daytona 500 overnight rating up 7% from last year (6.5 vs 6.1) but still down vs 7.3 in 2015.
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) February 27, 2017
A 7 percent increase from last year is pretty solid in a vacuum. But when you look at the broader trend of Daytona 500 overnight ratings, you imagine NASCAR isn’t exactly celebrating. As chronicled by Sports TV Ratings, Daytona ratings have fallen off sharply over the past four years since posting big numbers in 2013.
After poor ratings in 2016 (despite a truly thrilling race), NASCAR pushed back the start time an hour to 2:30 p.m. ET and introduced expanded pre-race coverage. It also introduced Monster as a new title sponsor and changed the points system to stir up interest in the first half of a race. It’s a positive sign for the sport and for Fox that some of those changes seem to have boosted ratings a bit.
As for the race itself, Kurt Busch won for the first time in 17 tries after a pretty compelling finish.
— FOX SPORTS: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 26, 2017