Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
NASCAR is a business, plain and simple. NASCAR is just like the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL in that respect for they are each a business. Like any good business NASCAR wants to make money and produce a quality product. In the world of sports the general correlation is that a quality product will put butts in the seats and viewers in front of the screen. From there the whole making money thing tends to take care of itself, unfortunately this is where NASCAR tends to fall behind some of the aforementioned leagues.
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It’s no secret that NASCAR has struggled when it comes to the ratings for the better part of the last decade. Not only have the TV numbers fallen off of the deep end but the number of people in the stands has also decreased dramatically over that same period of time. Despite that downward trend there were some glimpses of hope during the 2014 chase as NASCAR produced some decent ratings even though 2014 as a whole was down from 2013.
Earlier this week the ratings for the Sprint Unlimited were announced and the numbers might come as somewhat of a surprise. In 2014 the Sprint Unlimited garnered just over 3.5 million viewers making it the most watched event ever on FS1. While that is quite the feat it’s also fair to point out that it was the lowest number of people to watch the event since 2001. This year the Sprint Unlimited was watched by just over 4.7 million viewers, a fairly nice increase from last year.
NASCAR has to find the numbers encouraging after hitting somewhat of a low for the event in 2014. While the 2015 number jumped up nicely it still fell short of the 5.722 million viewers that tuned in back in 2013.
A better test for NASCAR will come this weekend with the Daytona 500. In 2014 9.3 million people tuned in to watch ‘The Great American Race.’ 2014 was also the first time in more than a decade that less than 10 million people watched the event. In 2013 more than 16 million watched and in 2013 the number was just below 14 million. First and foremost NASCAR is going to want to beat the 9.3 million mark from 2014. If they are able to do that and hit north of the 15 million mark, one would have to be strongly encouraged.
NASCAR is a long way from hitting the kind of numbers that they were doing back in the early 2000’s. I think it’s a safe bet that more than 30 million people will not be tuning in this weekend as was the case just over a decade ago. That being said, progress is progress. If NASCAR can see an increase in numbers each week than it’s a good sign. One week into the season and things are looking good, let’s see if it can happen again this weekend.
Do you think NASCAR will draw better numbers this weekend at the Dayton 500 than they did in 2014? Be sure to let us know what you think by commenting below.