Adam Stern, reporter for Sports Business Journal, tweeted the weekly NASCAR ratings this morning, and for the first time this season, we saw an increase over last year.
.@FS1 earned a 1.26 rating and 2.218 million viewers for Sunday's NASCAR race at Martinsville, up from last year's comparable race, which was on a Saturday night, and up from last year's season-long FS1 average.— Adam Stern (@A_S12) April 18, 2023
🔲 It's the first increase for a NASCAR Cup points race this year. pic.twitter.com/F7eteRGHYJ
- For the first time this season, we didn’t see a drop in viewership and ratings. This is a great sign as NASCAR is negotiating a new TV deal for 2025.
- There has been a lot of speculation on why we saw an increase, was it Chase Elliott, NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver since 2018 returning after being sidelined for 6 weeks, racing on a Sunday afternoon as opposed to last year’s Saturday night race, or something different?
- As a fan this is incredible news. While TV ratings for sports have been down across the board, with NASCAR having a massive TV deal looming in 2025 that will direct the sport’s future, it is monumentally important to show fans are tuning in and watching the product.
In the stands
Aaron thinks that Chase Elliott’s return definitely had a correlation to the ratings increase.
Jacob says that Chase being back didn’t change anything, that the race being on Sunday rather than Saturday did the trick.
Alex mentions the “Chase Elliott Effect” is legit.
But Connor….. Bristol Night…..
On your Screens
Eric Estepp, Host of Out Of The Groove on YouTube, said it was a mixture of Chase being back, and racing on Sunday.
Some Chase Elliott effect, but this bump is largely due to racing on Sunday as opposed to Saturday Night.— Eric Estepp (@EricEstepp17) April 18, 2023
In 2021 the spring Martisville race was partially delayed to Sunday and averaged 2.3M viewers.
Still WAY better than the 10-15% decreases we'd been seeing 👍 https://t.co/khkZAmdwKX
From the Pressbox
Bob Pockrass, reporter for Fox Sports, says it is hard to tell what led to the ratings increase.
A lot of chatter on whether return of Chase Elliott would impact ratings. Viewership up 11% from 2022 (2,218,000 from 1,995,000) but last yr Martinsville was rain-delayed Sat night. Both FS1. So how much Sun afternoon vs Sat night and how much Chase/other factors hard to say.— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) April 18, 2023
Fox Sports PR on Twitter tweeted out more details about the ratings.
Kyle Larson's NASCAR Cup Series victory at Martinsville on Sunday scored 2,218,000 viewers on @FS1, up +11% from last year's event (1,995,000 on 4/9). The race peaked at 2,828,000 viewers 📈— FOX Sports PR (@FOXSportsPR) April 18, 2023
📺 Top 3 available markets: Greensboro (3.5/11), Charlotte (3.2/11), Hartford (2.1/17) pic.twitter.com/ldrqcgvCcH
While there is a lot of debate surrounding what caused the increase in ratings, at the end of the day the best news is that ratings are up for the first time this season. Could Chase Elliott’s return have aided in increased ratings? Sure, absolutely. Could it be racing on Sunday afternoon as opposed to Saturday night? Definitely. Whatever the reason, we should all celebrate that ratings are up for the first time this season, and that Chase Elliott is back and healthy.