The television ratings for the 2019 Daytona 500 are the lowest since the recording of viewership numbers for the race began in 1979.
The overnight television ratings for the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season opener, the 61st annual Daytona 500, provided positivity in the NASCAR world, as they indicated that the race had drawn slightly more viewers than the 60th edition of it did last year.
The 60th annual Daytona 500 at the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) Daytona International Speedway oval in Daytona Beach, Florida drew a 5.3 rating and roughly 9.30 million viewers.
Neither one of these two statistics ended up being topped by this year’s running of the race, which ended up being a 207-lap race that lasted for three hours, 45 minutes and 55 seconds, making it the longest Daytona 500 since the 2011 Daytona 500, which was a 208-lap race that lasted for three hours, 59 minutes and 24 seconds.
This year’s Daytona 500, which was won by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin in his #11 Toyota ahead of two of his three teammates, Kyle Busch and Erik Jones, in second and third place in their #18 Toyota and #20 Toyota, respectively, ended up drawing a rating of 5.3 but with only roughly 9.17 million viewers. In other words, this race was the least-watched Daytona 500 since the recording of viewership numbers for the race began in 1979 with its 21st annual running.
The lone positive takeaway from these statistics is the fact that the viewership drop-off was not as huge as it was from the 2017 Daytona 500 to the 2018 Daytona 500. Roughly 11.92 million people tuned in to the 59th annual running of the race, which drew a rating of 6.6.
The drop-off from the 2017 Daytona 500 to the 2018 Daytona 500 can be largely attributed to the fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 15-time winner of the NASCAR Cup Series Most Popular Driver Award, retired following the conclusion of the 2017 season as well as the fact that the 2018 Daytona 500 went up against the 2018 Winter Olympics in terms of its competition for viewers.
However, the fact that these statistics decreased from the 2018 Daytona 500 to the 2019 Daytona 500 when the latter was not up against the Winter Olympics in terms of its competition for viewers is alarming.
How will television ratings look throughout the remainder of the 36-race 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season compared to previous seasons? Will the television ratings of future Daytona 500 races improve?
The next race on the 2019 Cup Series schedule is scheduled to take place at 2:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, February 24. This race, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, is set to be broadcast live on Fox from Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, so be sure not to miss it.