Sprint Cup

Daytona 500 Most-Watched Since 2008

Tony Stewart (14), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) and Marcos Ambrose (9) lead a pack of cars during Sunday’s Daytona 500. (HHP/Alan Marler Photo)

NEW YORK – The anticipation and buzz leading up to Sunday’s Daytona 500, coupled with the dramatic action on the track, fueled this year’s race to become the highest-rated and most watched in five years.

Sunday’s Great American Race, which featured Danica Patrick’s historic pole position start, the official coming out of the Gen 6 car and Jimmie Johnson’s second Daytona 500 win earned a 9.9/22 rating/share, averaging 16.7 million viewers according to fast national figures released today by Nielsen Media Research.

It ranks as the highest-rated and most-watched Daytona 500 since 2008 (10.2/20, 17.8 million viewers) and marks a huge +24% ratings gain over last year (8.0/14), and a +22% rise in average viewership (13.7 million). An estimated 31.6 million Americans watched at least part of Sunday’s Great American Race, the best for a regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon Daytona 500 since 2008’s 33.5 million viewers.

This year’s rating and viewership increases mark the best year-to-year rise for the Daytona 500 ever.

Sunday’s rating reaffirmed the Daytona 500 as one of the biggest events in sports. The 2013 race ranked as the top-rated sports event on any network since the Super Bowl and garnered more viewers than last week’s NBA All-Star Game (+108%, 8.0 million), the 2012 Kentucky Derby (+53%, vs. 10.9 million), the Final Round of the 2012 US Open (+74%, vs. 9.6 million) and the Final Round of the 2012 Masters (+24%, vs. 13.5 million).

As strong evidence that this year’s compelling stars and storylines transcended the traditional NASCAR fan base, Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener was bolstered by a +42% ratings increase in the country’s top 10 markets, with the top five markets notching jumps of 25% or more.

Tune-in for Sunday’s green flag was a strong 8.6/20, with 14.3 million viewers and peaked from 4:30 – 4:45 PM ET when 21.4 million viewers (12.7/26) watched as Johnson held off Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s charge in the exciting final laps to take home the 2013 prize.

Sunday’s race witnessed viewership increases in female demographic categories including +16% among Women 18-34 (2.2 vs. 1.9), +3% among Women 18-49 (3.2 vs. 3.1) and up +8% among Women 25-54 (4.2 vs. 3.9). Across key male and adult demographics, the year-to-year increases were also impressive as Sunday’s race was up +14% among Men 18-34 (4.0 vs. 3.5), +8% among Men 18-49 (6.4 vs. 5.9), +11% among Men 25-54 (8.2 vs. 7.4), and +7% among Adults 18-49 (4.8 vs. 4.5).

Posted by on Feb 26 2013 Filed under Latest Headlines, NASCAR, Sprint Cup, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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