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Where is the Key Demo? Nashville TV Ratings Yield Mixed Results

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Circle B Diecast Push Down

TV Ratings for Nashville were released by, and they were mixed. The overall viewership showed an increase, but last year’s race was hampered by weather delays. As far as the key 18-49 demographic, Jaret Lundberg noted that it was a 4.4% decrease in that key demographic.

  • This continues to raise more questions about NASCAR reaching the key demographic. That demographic continues to turn out ratings that NASCAR does not likely want to see even if overall viewership is up. Why is NASCAR struggling?
  • With NASCAR’s ratings on FOX being disappointing during the first half of the season, NASCAR was likely looking for a ratings increase once NBC came along. They did get it, but the results were not exactly what NASCAR was looking for.
  • As this trend continues, could this have an impact on how NASCAR distributes its content?

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Why is NASCAR Struggling to Reach the Key Demographic?

This is not the only race where NASCAR has shown its’ struggles with the key demographic. Back in May, NASCAR and Formula One went directly head-to-head against each other with NASCAR at Kansas and F1 in Miami. That weekend, NASCAR won the overall TV ratings battle, but they lost the key demographic by nearly 200,000 viewers to F1 in Miami.

TV ratings are about as inexact a science as science can be. That being said, why is NASCAR now seeing a pattern of struggling to reach this audience?

Is it the lack of a quality video game to capture the attention of this audience? According to, the average age of someone who plays video games is 35 years old. However, just shoving a video game on a shelf does not inherently mean that younger audiences will automatically gravitate towards NASCAR.

Is it the fact that NASCAR remains on linear TV with little presence on streaming? According to The Guardian, 90% of people 18-24 prefer streaming services to broadcast TV. NASCAR is reportedly looking at making a move to increasing their presence on streaming with their next TV deal.

Even with this, NASCAR will have a select amount of races streamed on Peacock while the races are broadcast on NBC starting with the Chicago Street Race this weekend. Other sports are putting content exclusively on streaming services now including NFL Thursday Night Football, and IndyCar having an exclusive race on Peacock.

How did they perform? According to The Athletic, Thursday Night Football averaged 9.58 million viewers according to Nielson and 11.3 million viewers according to Amazon. The Athletic reported that this was a decrease from 13.33 million viewers the previous season.

So, is streaming the answer? That’s tough to say, but NASCAR is probably going down that route regardless just because that’s where media is going.

Is there a Future for Sunday Night Racing?

NASCAR is trying something a bit different this year. Instead of running their night races on Saturday, they moved a majority of their night races to Sunday for TV ratings. How did they fare?

Well, the TV viewership ranked 9th out of 11 races on network TV this season with just over 3.2 million viewers, beating out two Sunday afternoon shows in Sonoma and Circuit of the Americas. Long story short, the ratings were not terrible, but not great either.

As far as how fans felt regarding Sunday night racing, some fans liked it, but some did not like it. Some preferred the Saturday night shows to allow them to stay up late rather than racing on Sunday nights.

RealRadman was one of those who loved that it was a night race.

BUNDY was one who was unsure.

The jury is still out on Sunday night racing. Whether or not the fans love it is uncertain, and the TV ratings are both inexact and have too small of a sample size.

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Joshua Lipowski

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