IndyCar posts 34 percent year-on-year viewing increase on NBCSN in 2014

3 Comments

NBCSN’s viewership numbers for its 12 Verizon IndyCar Series telecasts this season posted a 34 percent year-on-year increase over 2013.

The average number of viewers per race was 378,000, up from 282,000 in 2013. Since the series’ 10-year contract began with the network formerly known as VERSUS in 2009, this was the second highest yearly number (402,000 in 2011) in six seasons.

The first race from Toronto shifted to Sunday morning on CNBC due to rain; it was originally set for NBCSN on Saturday. A full release on the viewership gains is linked here, via the NBC Sports Group Press Box website.

“The viewership increases this year clearly demonstrate the benefits of everyone in the industry working together,” Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports & NBCSN, said in the release. “Our two organizations successfully cooperated to reduce scheduling conflicts; drivers and teams delivered thrilling races week after week; our marketing department drove viewers to telecasts by utilizing all of our motorsports platforms; and our production team continued its best-in-class coverage. We look forward to growing viewership for the sport for many years to come.”

Of note, NBCSN’s coverage reached a total of 4.356 million unique viewers, five races beat the top 2013 race, and Race 2 in Toronto averaged 484,000 viewers to be the most watched since the 2011 Baltimore race (591,000). There were key demographic increases as well:  up 13% among Adults 18-49, and up 21% among Adults 25-54 vs. 2013.

The following is a table of the six most-watched IndyCar races of the 2014 season on NBCSN:

Race 2014 Viewership 2013 Viewership % Change
Toronto 2 484,000 258,000 +88%
Iowa 444,000 253,000* +75%
Texas 424,000 383,000* +10%
Barber 400,000 253,000 +58%
Houston 2 396,000 161,000 +144%
Mid-Ohio 386,000 195,000 +98%

 

March 28 in Motorsports History: Adrian Fernandez wins Motegi’s first race

Leave a comment

While auto racing is an international sport, oval racing remains uniquely American. 

That almost always has remained the case since the inception of the sport, but in 1998, the citizens of Japan got their first taste of American oval racing.

Having opened the previous year, Twin Ring Motegi was built by Honda in an effort to bring Indy-style racing to the Land of the Rising Sun. 

Adrian Fernandez was the first driver to win at the facility, taking the checkered flag in CART’s inaugural race after shaking off flu earlier that day.

Fernandez held off a hard-charging Al Unser Jr to win by 1.086 seconds. The victory was the second of his career and his first since Toronto in 1996.

Adrian Fernandez celebrates with Al Unser Jr and Gil de Ferran after winning the inaugural race at Motegi. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

The race was also memorable for a violent crash involving Bobby Rahal.

Running third with 15 laps remaining, Rahal’s right front suspension broke in Turn 2, causing his car to hit the outside wall and flip down the backstretch.

Luckily, Rahal walked away from the accident without a scratch.

“The car was on rails through (turns) 1 and 2, and all of a sudden it just got up into the marbles, and it was gone,” Rahal said. “Thank God we’ve got such safe cars.”

The following season, Fernadez went back-to-back and won again at Motegi. The track remained on the CART schedule until 2002.

In 2003, Honda switched their alliance to the Indy Racing Leauge, and Motegi followed suit.

The track continued to host IndyCar racing until 2011 with the final race being held on the facility’s 2.98-mile road course, as the oval sustained damage in the Tōhoku earthquake earlier that year.

Also on this date:

1976: Clay Regazzoni won the United States Grand Prix – West, Formula One’s first race on the Long Beach street circuit. The Grand Prix would become an IndyCar event following the 1983 edition of the race.

1993: Ayrton Senna won his home race, the Grand Prix of Brazil, for the second and final time of his career. The victory was also the 100th in F1 for McLaren.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter