Last Sunday‘s NASCAR Daytona 500 averaged a 2.8 rating and 4.83 million viewers on FOX, easily the lowest in the history of the race. Ratings fell 36% and viewership 34% from the previous low set last year, when most of the race was run on a Monday afternoon (4.4, 7.33M).
Keep in mind the race was halted for five hours due to rain and did not resume until after 9 PM ET. While a factor, the lengthy pause cannot fully explain the poor ratings. Rain delays have become common at Daytona without tanking the ratings to such a degree.
Beyond trailing last year‘s Monday race, ratings and viewership fell well below the 2014 edition — which like this year‘s race was delayed more than five hours and took place primarily on a Sunday night (5.6, 9.30M). While Dale Earnhardt Jr. won that year, the primetime restart aired directly opposite the Olympics.
➖ That’s lower than initial tune-in last year when former President Trump gave the event a notable bump, but higher than ’19, the last year with no president. pic.twitter.com/uVHaiV0yfC
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) February 17, 2021
What will this year‘s Daytona 500 ratings tell us? That it rained. Tough way to start the year but says nothing about the rest of the season. On to the Daytona road course and a sunnier Week 2.
— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) February 17, 2021