The premiere of NASCAR coverage on NBC Sports Network was a massive disappointment compared to last year’s ratings at Kentucky. According to Sports Media Watch, the NBCSN coverage dropped 10 percent from last year’s Kentucky race on TNT.
Drawing in just 3.2 million viewers, Saturday night’s race was the second-lowest rating of 2015 with only the rain-delayed Kansas race drawing less. It was also the least watched Sprint Cup race in Kentucky history, dating back to 2011.
Of course, NBCSN is carried on far less networks than TNT and thousands of fans likely had to listen on the radio or find another way to enjoy the race.
As SMW points out, the ratings actually were great for blossoming NBCSN. Only Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup drew a higher amount of live viewers on the network. The top motorsports ratings on the network were a meager 642,000 for a 2011 IndyCar race.
While the ratings might come as a disappointment for NASCAR after all of the buildup for the Kentucky race with a new rules package, it proves that the sport is still a huge draw compared to other notable markets in the country.
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