Bristol was such a fantastic race – Yet, other than 2015-16 – It was the least watched Bristol race since 2000
August 19th, 2017 at Bristol displayed everything you wanted in a NASCAR race. It had excitement, a bit of drama and a multi car battle for the lead in the closing laps of the race.
It’s just a shame nobody saw it.
“Nobody” is possibly a bit strong. 3.8 million people watched the 2017 Bristol night race. But, in terms of NASCAR numbers, they are down, again.
Technically, they are up from 2015 and 2016. I know, I just gave you conflicting statements. I’ll explain why that’s no win… The 2016 race was a weather postponed event that ran on a Sunday. That one doesn’t count, attendance dropped through the floor for that one.
The 2015 was aired on NBCSN. This year, it moved back to the free version, NBC.
2014 was the last fair-comparison Bristol night race. The 2014 race aired on the free version of ABC. The 2017 race drew 1.3 million less viewers than the 2014 version of the same race.
Related: Bristol Results – August 19 2017
The crowd looked strong for the Saturday night race. However, other than 2015-16, it was the least watched Bristol race since 2000. It was also the least rated, since 1998.
Bristol TV Viewers
The lack of viewership has a lot less to do with Bristol Motor Speedway and the racing surface. It has more to do with NASCAR itself.
NASCAR is in a steep decline. 19 of 22 NASCAR races have seen a decline in tv viewers over the previous year. 22? Several rain dates are excluded, that’s why only 22 are listed.
However, that by no means implies that NASCAR is dead. Though many fans in the comment section will argue otherwise. NASCAR is huge. It still averages 3.6 million viewers per race.
In terms of sports, it’s winning. Yes, NASCAR itself looks to be in a decline. However, with an exception of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, all sports are in a fan decline.
In the last 8 week’s, NASCAR has been the most-watched sport event of the weekend, 6 times. NBC is up 11% over last season. However, if you exclude the rainout’s from last season that drew low viewership, NBC is actually down 12% on NASCAR viewership.
Currently, NBC is averaging a 2.2 rating and 3.6 million NASCAR viewers. That’s still a massive audience.
It’s not as rosy as it once was. But, those days are simply gone, for sports as a whole.
Author: Shane Walters