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Can NASCAR Get Any Viewers on Streaming In 2025 and Beyond?

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What’s Happening?

Recently the NFL did something unprecedented and exclusively streamed a Wild Card Playoff game on Peacock. The viewership numbers show it was a massive success, but, what does it say about NASCAR and its future in streaming?

  • NASCAR has two connections to this story. First, the NFL streamed the event on Peacock, which NASCAR has been streamed on a few times per season since 2021. Secondly, NASCAR is streaming 5 races exclusively on Amazon Prime starting in 2025 under the new media rights agreement.
  • This broadcast gives NASCAR a rough idea of what kind of viewership they can expect under their next TV deal when streaming is introduced. Will they be happy with it?
  • Many football fans were not happy to see a Playoff game exclusively streamed to the majority of the country. They are accustomed to NFL Playoff games being televised nationally, usually on free-to-air, network TV. NASCAR fans are similarly skeptical about the move to streaming.

Breaking Down Peacock’s NFL Viewership

Before we bring NASCAR into this discussion, we need to first break down the NFL broadcast numbers. According to NBC Sports Press Box, the AFC Wild Card Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins averaged 23 million viewers, which is a 6% increase from the same time slot one year ago. NBC also boasted that the game was responsible for 30% of Internet traffic, which made it the largest online event ever.

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However, there are some caveats to this. The viewership number NBC gave is not simply how many devices tuned in on Peacock. The number combines streaming along with TV viewership in Miami and Kansas City. While most of the country could only access the game on Peacock, fans in both Miami and Kansas City could access it through their local NBC affiliates on free, broadcast TV.

NBC Sports also said that Kansas City pulled in a 45.1 Nielsen rating, or 45.1% of households, which was on broadcast TV. According to Statista.com, around 2.2 million live in the Kansas City metro area as of 2021. If, theoretically, 45.1% of that population watched the game, that means roughly around 1 million people may have watched the game on TV in Kansas City.

Miami is a similar story, with a 14.1 (14.1%) Nielsen rating according to NBC, and roughly 6.3 million people living in the Miami metro area according to macrotrends.net. If, theoretically, 14.1% of Miami residents watched the game, that means roughly 888,000 may have watched it locally on TV.

Those viewership figures are very rough estimates and NOT official at all, but, it shows that potentially around 21 million people around the country may have still tuned in on Peacock. NBC also reported that Peacock had as many as 16.3 million concurrent devices, meaning at least 16.3 million viewers. Any way you slice it, it was a major success for the NFL, even if the overall viewership number is slightly misleading.

What Can NASCAR Take From This?

So, what does NASCAR have to do with this? Well, it proves that at least one sports league, despite putting a Playoff game behind a streaming paywall to the vast majority of the country, was able to at least tread water with their viewership. This does NOT mean that NASCAR will suddenly bring in 23 million viewers for their first Amazon race in 2024, but, it does give NASCAR some hope.

NASCAR is also on a much more popular streaming partner for 2024. According to Statista.com, Peacock only had 28 million subscribers as of the third quarter of 2023. Amazon Prime has well over 200 million subscribers in a country of just under 332 million people.

Theoretically, the majority of the average population will not have to buy an extra subscription to watch NASCAR in the summer of 2025. It’s all about making sure NASCAR is properly promoted on the platform.

Streaming will probably only get prominent as NASCAR approaches 2025. It will be interesting to see how these types of events perform through 2024 and early 2025 as NASCAR prepares for exclusively streamed races.

Long story short, the NFL’s success proves that NASCAR has the potential to get solid streaming viewership in 2025. NASCAR is going to have more than just one race on streaming in 2025, but, it still has a good chance.

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