The Southern 500 and all of the outstanding throwback should have been TV gold for NASCAR.
But it wasn’t.
Overnight ratings have come in, and they’re way down from 2015 and 2016:
The numbers, though, tell the tale. This year’s race was on cable, on NBCSN; the previous two years were on network TV.
Sports Media Watch did a further analysis of the numbers. The Southern 500 attracted 3.10 million viewers on NBCSN Sunday night, and the rest of the numbers were equally as terrible. Ratings were down 36%; viwership down 33% in viewership from last year, and it was even worse from 2015 — ratings were down 51% and viewership 48%.
Denny Hamlin’s win — which ended up being encumbered — was the lowest-rated Darlington race since at least 1998 and the least-watched since at least 1999.
So, NASCAR, this is an easy fix. Don’t jerk around the fans. Work with NBC to get the races on network television. Don’t force fans to hunt for the race, or find a place that has NBCSN if the don’t.