Race Weekend Central

Ratings Increase Substantially For Sprint Unlimited, Daytona 500 Qualifying

On Tuesday, overnight ratings were released for FOX’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited.  The network heads were likely quite pleased that their telecast averaged a 3.2 rating for the night, up 78 percent from the 1.8 that the race received last year on FOX Sports 1.  Also, according to TV by the Numbers, the telecast had the second-highest rating of the evening in the all-important 18-to-49 age demographic.  However, the race is down slightly from the 2013 telecast, making it the least-watched Sprint Unlimited to air on the main FOX broadcast network.

The coverage saw FOX take second out of the four full broadcast networks in primetime Saturday.  NBC defeated FOX with a rerun of Dateline and its Saturday Night Live Valentine’s Special.  Cable network TNT posted the highest ratings of the evening with their coverage of NBA All-Star Saturday Night from Madison Square Garden in New York.
FOX’s coverage of Daytona 500 Pole Qualifying on Sunday posted a 2.1 rating, an increase of 24 percent over 2014.  It is the best rating for qualifying on FOX since 2009.  Coverage of tonight’s Budweiser Duels at Daytona will air on FOX Sports 1 starting at 7 p.m.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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They certainly were better than last year, which was obviously an anomoly. However the number of viewers, while almost a million more than last year, was a million less than 2013. “Slightly down from 2013” seems like a bit of spin to me.


Last year, these events competed against the Winter Olympics. Agreed, the comparison with 2013 is more appropriate. NASCAR and the networks have to wonder and be concerned about how many of the Jeff Gordon fans stick around for 2016.

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