By admin | February 19, 2008
Two reasons why television ratings are up
By Richard Allen
Television ratings for both the Bud Shootout, Daytona 500 pole qualifying and the Daytona 500 were up this year. There are most likely two reasons for the new found upward trend in NASCAR’s viewership.
One is almost certainly the Junior effect. NASCAR’s most popular driver has a new ride and people were no doubt curious to see how things were going to turn out. Many wanted to see that their hero could succeed driving for powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports. And, there were probably a few who hoped to see him fall flat.
Either way, enough people tuned in to cause Bud Shootout ratings to improve by 7.1% over 2007. Then, once fans saw that Junior was off to a great start they tuned back in for Sunday’s pole qualifying show. Those ratings were 8% better than last year.
The Daytona 500 itself saw a modest 1% ratings improvement over last year. This year’s version of the 500 was the second most watched “Great American Race” to air on the Fox Network.
The second reason for improved ratings is most likely the fact that ratings have been so low over the past couple of years. It is easy to improve upon poor performance. 8% better than awful may still be bad, but at least it isn’t awful or atrocious.
It will be interesting to watch the ratings comparisons this season, especially if Dale Earnhardt, Jr wins other races. But keep in mind the numbers are being compared to the weakness of the past two seasons. NASCAR and the networks need not get too excited until the ratings climb to the point that they challenge those of 3 or 4 years ago.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association.
His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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