NASCAR’s viewer losses over the last decade-plus are staggering.
According to Sports Business Journal, NASCAR hemorrhaged television viewers again in 2018. Over 700,000 fewer people per race watched NASCAR in 2018 than they did in 2017. The Cup Series’ average viewership was over 4 million in 2017. It fell to 3.3 million in 2018.
➖On digital front, NASCAR saw race-day content consumption rise 29% while page views and video views were up 13% and 49%. pic.twitter.com/52HTJq35aX
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) November 27, 2018
The drop is significantly larger than it was from 2016 to 2017 when the Cup Series’ average viewership dropped by 400,000.
It also continues a terrible trend for NASCAR. The series’ highest viewership came in 2005, according to SBJ. Nearly 8.5 million people watched each Cup Series race that season, meaning NASCAR has lost over 5 million viewers in 13 years.
More people have stopped watching NASCAR in the last 13 years than are still watching it. Brutal.
The viewer losses are likely a big reason why NASCAR is taking the bold — and misguided to many — step of making massive aerodynamic changes to the cars for 2019. A schedule shakeup could be on the horizon for 2020. A series reliant on corporate money losing viewers at a remarkable rate is terrible for business.
“I think that we are looking with our broadcast partners and with our tracks and with our teams and drivers to get input on what each of them believes would be an ideal schedule, and then we’re obviously doing fan research as part of it,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps said on Nov. 18. “So do I believe that everything is on the table? I do. Will we see a lot of the things that have been talked about, so more short tracks, more road courses, double‑headers, mid‑week racing, pulling the season forward? All those things would be in play. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but we are working diligently on what a 2020 schedule would be.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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