The numbers are in, and NASCAR took the checkered flag … barely … in Sunday’s showdown with the highly anticipated Formula 1 race in Miami.
The NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington, which aired on Fox Sports 1, earned a 1.45 rating with 2,614 million viewers. The all-important 18-49 demographic included 517,000 viewers.
The inaugural Miami Grand Prix, meanwhile, aired on main ABC, earning a 1.08 rating with 2,066 million viewers (this includes the 90-minute pre-race show).
The F1 race did, however, get the slight edge in the 18-49 demographic with 735,000 viewers.
According to a release from ESPN, the race peaked at 2.9 million viewers and averaged 2.6 million during the actual race telecast from 3: 30-5: 30 pm
TV ratings have been a hot topic, rightfully so, in NASCAR for the past few seasons. So far in 2022, they have been mostly up across the board, including the most-watched Daytona 500 in a few years and consistent numbers through the first three months of the season.
The numbers from the two races Sunday, which overlapped, may seem close, but could (at least by those at Fox) be viewed as a win for NASCAR because the Cup race aired on FS1.
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The inaugural F1 event in Miami, a star-studded affair that saw figures like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady and Dan Marino in attendance, was certainly the more hyped and attended event of the two, but failed to beat the Cup race despite being on ABC .
Despite losing in the ratings to the stock cars, it was certainly a successful weekend for Formula 1. The event became the second most-watched F1 race in US history (live or tape-delayed), and also became the No. 1 live race.
F1’s popularity has exploded in recent years, especially in the United States where the Netflix series, Drive to Survivehas become a hit.
Regardless, Sunday’s head-to-head TV battle went to NASCAR, albeit slightly.