Daytona 500 sees bump from record-low viewership

The Daytona 500 saw its television ratings increase dramatically over the previous two editions, when the race wasn’t held in its regular Sunday afternoon time slot, with the latest viewership total coming in only slightly below the 2019 figure.

The Fox telecast attracted 8.87 million viewers on Sunday, when Austin Cindric took the checkered flag in a dramatic finish.

Last year, the Daytona 500 finished at night after a six-hour rain delay, and the average TV audience was just 4.83 million. In 2020, a Sunday rainout forced the race to Monday, when it attracted 7.03 million viewers.

The last truly comparable running of the Daytona 500 occurred in 2019, when 9.17 million viewers tuned in. In 2018, with the race going up against the Winter Olympics, as it did on Sunday, 9.30 million watched the Daytona 500.

Viewership for NASCAR’s flagship event was at 16.65 million in 2013, but it has fallen dramatically ever since.

The Sunday sports calendar included two other major events. The NBA All-Star Game drew 6.28 million viewers to TNT, up from 5.94 million the prior year. The closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on NBC netted 6.57 million viewers, down from 14.8 million who watched the conclusion of the PyeongChang Olympics in 2018.