While NASCAR and Fox may have gotten the start, finish and a winner they wanted at the Daytona 500 on Sunday, the same cannot be said for the TV ratings.
Sports Media Watch reported Monday that the race on Fox earned a 5.1 overnight rating, down a whopping 22 percent from last year and the lowest overnight rating for the season-opening race in at least 10 seasons.
Overnight ratings were not immediately available before 2009 and the report stated: “It is likely that the 5.1 is the lowest ever for the race.”
According to the report, after five straight years of reaching an overnight of at least 7.0, the Daytona 500 has hit the mark just once in the last five races. The 5.1 overnight is the same number the Atlanta 500 — the next race on the NASCAR schedule — pulled in just three years ago.
The ratings could be particularly alarming considering the storylines — both entering the race and as the race developed — that spanned a wide range of demographics:
–It was the final NASCAR race for Danica Patrick, the most successful female in the league’s history.
–Bubba Wallace Jr. was the first African-American full-time driver in the Daytona 500 since 1971. He was in contention to the end, finishing in second.
–The race featured a green-white-checkered finish, with a last-lap crash taking out the then-race leader.
–Austin Dillon won the race in one of NASCAR’s most revered numbers, taking the No. 3 to victory lane in the 500 for the first time since Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 1998.
–Field Level Media