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Sports Business

IRL TV ratings lagging at Richmond

July 2, 2009
KEYWORDS Sports Business

irltvSaturday’s Indy Racing League race—the SunTrust Indy Challenge—posted the second worst national TV rating for an IRL race this year. Only the April 26 race at Kansas scored a lower rating.

The national rating for the Richmond race—which began at 8 p.m. on Versus cable channel—was .22, according to Nielsen Media Research, meaning 248,000 U.S. households tuned in.

Even more surprising was the Indianapolis market rating, usually one of the IRL’s strongest. In central Indiana, the Richmond race posted a .67 rating, equating to 7,000 households.

The IRL races at Watkins Glen this Sunday, with the green flag dropping at 1 p.m. The race is played out at one of the more popular road courses and airs on ABC, which means TV ratings should be substantially higher than Richmond.

The road races coming up on the IRL circuit could bring a new cast of characters to the IRL leader board adding intrigue to the series. Drivers like Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal are especially strong on road courses and could challenge the Target-Penske stronghold on the series. Hunter-Reay won at Watkins Glen last year, but it might be difficult for him to repeat, given that he is driving for A.J. Foyt, who hasn’t put a car in the winner’s circle in some time.

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