Race Weekend Central

Overnight TV Ratings Again Down in Phoenix

TV ratings declined for the fourth consecutive week on Sunday for the Good Sam 500 from Phoenix International Raceway. The race scored a 3.6 overnight rating, which is down five percent from last year’s 3.8 rating, according to Sports Media Watch.

While it was another drop in the ratings, the declines for the past two races at Las Vegas and Phoenix haven’t been as drastic as the first two races of the season. Ratings for the Daytona 500 were down sixteen percent and Atlanta ratings fell twenty-seven percent.

Sunday’s ratings marked the lowest for the spring Phoenix race since the event moved to a daytime event beginning in 2011. However, from 2011 until 2014, the race was the second event of the year which often receives a bump in ratings following the Daytona 500.

The race was the highest rated sporting event of the weekend. It did trail the NCAA Selection Show that scored a 3.7 rating, which is historically low for the program. When final ratings numbers are released, it is expected the Good Sam 500 will come out on top.

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Maybe the leaking of the bracket had something to do with the ratings for the selection show??

Stephen H Hackett

maybe it’s because of darell waltrips incessant drone of ‘boogity, boogity boogity’. so tired of that drivel. i wont watch the race until after the drop of the green, and then only on dvr. the commentators are just plain f’g boring, blah.

Jim Bailey

Could it be that driving a Prius while texting on Sunday afternoon is way more exciting?

Charles Jenkins

And>>>> They (FOX) show mostly a tight shot on the lead car. Another thing, hundreds of times for the past many years, when a pass is happening, they switch to a bumper cam just as the pass is starting and we see mostly a full screen of whatever color the car is. By the time they go back to a “full” shot, the pass is already completed. Thus, the tv audience misses most of the pass. If the booth guys had to watch the on air monitor instead of the actual track, they would have no clue what was going on.

Tim S.

I don’t think the effect of the absence of Gordon and Stewart on-track can be overstated. Gordon ‘s fans don’t want to put up with the Waltrips to hear him, and Stewart fans aren’t going to watch 3 hours of commercials just to get a glimpse or a short blurb of a story on “their guy.”


Do you ever notice that you may be “watching” with one eye while doing something else to pass the time? That you really dont care about the pass for the lead on lap 35 because you know that theres still 250 laps to go? Maybe its just not as exciting to us as it used to be. Alternatively maybe there are so many other ways to entertain ourselves that dont require spending 3 hours of waiting to get to the exciting part.

Bill B

Yep, it used to be that entire race and season mattered.

Now you know, due to the crapshoot nature of the rules, that only the last 30 minutes of the race really determines the finishing order. Unless a driver wrecks or has a mechanical issue they are in it right until the end, making the first part of the race a waste of time. (Would you watch an entire football game if every week the score was reset at the two minute warning, or would you just watch the last two minutes if there were other things you could be doing?) Nothing worse than watching a guy spend 2 hours putting half the field a lap down and then having everyone back on the lead lap with 20 to go. What’s the point?

And we all know how every version of the ever-changing chase has devalued the importance of week to week excellence throughout the season. It used to be that you could never relax as a fan, every race mattered and one bad week made a difference in the standings. Now once your driver wins you can pretty much relax. This creates an attitude of “So what if I miss this week’s race? My driver is already locked in”. By the all-star race 10 drivers and their associated fan bases can have that attitude. It didn’t used to be that way before the chase.

Charles Jenkins

And yet, Bill B, on we go. Nothing and I mean nothing seems to matter to BZF and company. That is except the television revenue, and there for sure is plenty of that. Ratings down, whatever; Track attendance down, remove seats; Remaining stands not full, close in on car shots and show very few blimp views of the stands; Lower series ruined by Cup drivers, Hey it is good for the young drivers and attracts fans; 36 charters and short fields, 43 was too many anyway; 2 to 3 hours of parade laps and a close finish, greatest racing ever; and one of my favorites, the wave around, look at all the cars still on the lead lap – look how competitive NA$CAR is. There are more of course but I am not going into it. As I have said before, this is motor sports entertainment, not racing.

Bill B

These poor ratings will matter to the bottom line as I have been told that, at some point, ratings do figure into the amount a network is willing to pay. The only thing we are waiting to see is where that tipping point is.


I agree with all of the comments above. Fans have been complaining about the tv coverage for years now and NASCAR has chosen to do nothing about it. Surely the fancy lawyers they have should have been able to put clauses in the contract defining HOW the presentations were made.

Factor in the Gordon fans who are no longer watching full time, if at all and yes, that is a big group who have “fallen out” of the ratings pool.

If there was a filter that would allow me to only hear Mike Joy & Jeff Gordon’s voices in the booth, I’d probably watch more of the races but I declared my home a Waltrip-free zone many years ago. It was bad when it was just DW but adding Mikey into the mix has made it an absolute no-go for me.

Bill B

I’ve always wished that they would give us the video feed synched with the MRN radio broadcast.


I don’t dump on DW as bad as most. I’m old enough to remember his rise and fall –way before nascrap’s explosive growth– so I guess there’s somewhat of a soft spot. He also publicly took Lord Helton to task on safety issues & forced nascrap’s hand after Dale died.

For the actual coverage, I blame the director. Other than at tracks > 1 mile, there’s lots of racing action but the commentators only talk about what the director is giving them. A side-by-side battle for 23d is more interesting than a leader outpacing the field.

Ditto lots of other comments on the foolishness of the chase, the cookie cutters, JJ clones, etc.


Sure it is the director but someone at Fox apparently gave DW “creative” control which means that his favorites (and of course those companies who ante up for advertising $ on Fox) get the majority of the coverage.

I stand by my opinion that NASCAR should and could (if they wanted to) influence the tv coverage but as others have said, for NASCAR/BZF, it’s all about the benjamins and whether there are any fans watching or not on TV or from the stands doesn’t matter much.


Maybe people don’t want to watch the movie (in the comedy category) they try to make. “Hollywood Hotel” says it all.


I actually had no interest in the race. My heart and brain had zero curiosity. Sad, I want to support my favorite drivers but I just could not muster will to watch. So sick of this Chase 2.0..no matter what a driver does, it doesn’t matter at the end, so why invest?

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