IRL TV ratings take dive

April 28, 2009
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IRLTVThe Indy Racing League TV ratings took a step back at Kansas this past Sunday. After posting TV viewership gains for the Long Beach race April 19, the IRL earned a .15 rating nationally (.3 share) for the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway on April 26.

The race that began airing at 4 p.m. (actually pre-race at 4 p.m. and race at 4:45 p.m.) drew viewership from 171,000 households nationwide. The race, the IRL’s third this season and first oval race, fared much better in the Indianapolis market, earning a 1.0 rating (2 percent share), or about 11,000 households.

The rating at Kansas paled compared to the .5 (388,864 households) the IRL race at Long Beach earned. The season opener at St. Petersburg on April 5 earned a .3 rating (233,000 households). The NASCAR Nextel Cup race overlapped the IRL race Sunday. The week before, the NASCAR race ran on the Satruday before the Sunday Long Beach race, and likely helped boost the ratings there. 

Bolstered by Danica Patrick's victory a week earlier in Japan, the 2008 IRL race in Kansas earned a .74 rating on ESPN2, which means about 740,000 households tuned in.

After airing its first three races this season on Versus—the league’s new TV partner—the next two races, Indianapolis (May 24) and Milwaukee (May 31), will air on ABC. Versus will cover qualifications and Carb Day at Indianapolis.

Though Kansas Speedway and league officials did not release any attendance numbers, several team executives said it looked like the size of the crowd at this year’s race was down in Kansas due to windy conditions that made racing difficult and the threat of rain.
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  • .15 is just a number :lol:


    IRL: Easy to make fun of
  • Danica has NASCAR # on speed dial
  • Forget it, BigSky, she ain't goin' to race a heavy Chevy.
  • the irl keeps up this mess, and she wont be racing anything. thanks Tony!
  • No surprise. Still would like to know what the ratings are for the qual show on Saturday.

    As for the site attendance, the truck race on Saturday, when the weather was worse, drew about the same, probably a little more, than the 'league'.

    Y'all that are always moaning about me and the others here for having our intense dislike of the earl need to understand that there's a lot of valid reasons for it, and clearly we're not the minority. You can cheerlead for Inheritor Boi and his paid shills all you want but it ain't gonna help. Might as well take off your blinders and realize nothing is going to change until he and his rotten 'league' are out of the picture completely.

    Is that effin Anton mad at Nascar for trademark infringement with Carl Edwards gratering? :lol:
  • So stans way to save open wheel it to kill the only real open wheel racing left? He must have been a strategist for c?rt/owrs/ccws/

    Not good ratings, but I think most expected a drop, especially going up against Talladega. The big hope is that the Vs. coverage gets a lot of publicity during May. It takes a lot of time to build viewership for a channel like Vs. Hoepfully the IRL can pull it off.
  • are you serious indyman? :lol:


    i have NEVER seen such apologozing for the EARL. What next? Blame the 500's crappy ratings on Swine Flu? You KNOW it will be mentioned....
  • What a joke, just like _TG and his semi pro league. What does CART/CCWS have to do with ratings lower than a Shamwow infomerical, I thought they were bankrupt? And the excuses have started, tornadoes, Talladega, swine flu etc. Here's the real deal, the product sucks, the spec sucks, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. LMAO. I can't wait until the irl* goes teats up. How many races did OWRS run?
  • What gases me in the buckeye is this: several team executives said it looked like the size of the crowd at this year’s race was down in Kansas.

    Again, IRL officials and the like are cleverly working to get this whole Versus thing dropped so the league can get on the Comedy Channel.

    Not a bad start.
  • Wow! Attendance was down significantly this year - and last year for that matter. Kansas used to be a sold-out with people joking that it was the second home of Indy car racing after Indianapolis. Now you'd be very generous to say that the stands were even half full last Sunday. I thought everyone said that the merger with the powerful and ultra-popular CART series was going to be the cure all for open wheel racing.

    Since I'm not a revisionist I do have to say ... gee, thanks Dan Gurney.
  • The earl is getting closer to ZERO POINT ZERO!!!
    Re-Versus will get better ratings for the up coming Tour de Lance!
    Paging Berwickgirl and Mindyboi!
  • Ratings took a step back?! The ratings are junk! The attendances are just as bad. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Tony George KILLED this sport.
  • Don't worry. The Great Wall of China SuperPrix will save the sport! Half a million in attendance, new relationships
  • Remember, Kansas sells their tickets as a season package, to get the Cup tickets you have to take the ICS tickets. Cup fans may have stayed home due to weather, Talladega, Swine Flu (you said it had to come up!!!, and I am kidding), or whatever.

    Coverage is good, product is ok, the channel is unknown. It does not get surfed very often. It is 603 on DirecTV, not somewhere someone is just surfing thru.
  • powerful and ultra-powerful CART series

    Who's smoking the crack pipe? CART couldn't even manage to buy live television coverage, let alone attract it. The merger was never about that. It was about uniting the two series to build a stronger series and get rid of the divisiveness that had butchered the following for both. Unfortunately, it took them 13 years to get there and that may have been too little too late.

    Unfortunately, the merger doesn't seem to have resulted in a bigger league or a much different schedule, due to the costs involved and pre-existing contracts with the tracks. The autoracing industry in general is hurting right now and with Nascar races not even selling out I very much doubt that Indy can expect to build its attendance or following at this point in time.

    I admit that I'm a fan, but I also admit that the IRL seems to be its own worst enemy.
  • misquoted and meant popular and ultra-powerful CART series but you get my drift.
  • Casey: CART was all that. You must be referring to CART II, CCWS which was run by a group of idiots and crooks. The racing was better, but the marketing deteriorated, and it just fell apart. The Spike TV days were the beginning of the end.

    And so now with IRL version 09.2 you have the worst of CART, the worst of the IRL, and now its just the worst racing out there at the moment. quit making excuses for their crappy performance. It sucks now, has always sucked, and will forever suck as long as it is under the direction of Tony.

    Tony's IRL: Making the same dumb mistakes over and over and over...
  • I'm a fan, but this last race was a skunk for sure. I fell asleep for about 2/3 fo the race. Had to rewatch on DVR and it wasn't any better. The quals were just as bad, but there are some ways for Vs. to improve the oval qual package.

    I'm not a cynical TG or ICS hater (see all of my other posts), but races like this last one at Kansas do not help build a following. The only silver lining is that momentum can be gained at Indy, provided certain stories play out.

    BTW...on the flip side, the Lights race was entertaining to watch (mini crapwagons as some call them). Some great racing up front, for the majority of the race even. Sure they are spec wagons, but it was good racing. A lot of good driver/team stories in FIL this year.

    Anthony, is it possible to get total package viewing numbers for the IRL? Quals, ICS Race, Lights Race, & ICS Race replay?
  • JoBu, I'll work on getting the total package viewing numbers. And just out of curiousity, DaHooey, if you could chose one person to lead the IRL or open-wheel racing out of the wilderness, who would that be? Seriously, I am curious.
  • I would also be interested to know what the Internet stats are on feed views for IRL on IndyCar.com. I have several friends who are casual fans that won't pay extra for Vs. in their communities, but they still watch online.

    There definitely is a distribution issue with Vs. As much as I hate to say it. As Vs. grows, they need to be in packages that don't require additional investment (at least at this stage in the game).
  • Thanks, Anthony!
  • Anthony, thanks for your question. I appreciate you reading my column. :lol:

    Seriously - I have thought that one thru many many times. I understand that Tony controls all of this, and he is insulated from the masses by a faitful loyal, well paid crew of yes-men that give him the Bagdad Bob feedback, telling him what he wants to hear, not what he needs to hear. So, Tony ain't going away any time soon, unfortunately. If this were a publicly traded company, which it isn't, he'd been fired many many years ago. Remember, Fred Nation told us they have wasted over 100 MILLION on the IRL since its inception.

    With that said, and to answer your question: there should be a board in place. some racing people, some lawyers, some ad/promo people and some tech folks. Draw up your wish list, like someone said affordable cars, run what ya brung, with a seduction for technology and manufacturer participation. A bit like what F1 does, but a broader board of members. One thing you CANNOT have is track owners or team owners or suppliers (like Haas selling parts or Penske selling engines) on the board. That is what F'd it up and what contunies to F it up. CART died because of it. So then you need to hire someone with clearly defined responsibilities to police it and promote it and admin it, and it will fly. You'd be looking for someone with superior negotiating, management, promotion and leadership skills. Someone you might think of as an Athletic Director at a major University. A turn around artist from the Corporate world, or maybe someone who has run long term successful marketing campaigns - you get the drift. You need one guy at the top, where the buck stops. And Tony hasn't shown much hope in that dept. Anthony, I hav every confidence in the world that YOU or ME or even that dodo brain Berwick guy could do a better job.
  • IRL Fever is a lot harder to catch than Swine Flu apparently.
  • If swine flu is spread through tenderloins then all 171,000 irl* fans that are left may be wiped out.
  • I think the Kansas race was so electrifying because the colorful and exciting Scott Dixon won it. That and Vitor Mania just won't subside.

    The only thing missing was the Canadian fella, what's his bucket...Tags? Race fans across America love him too. Had he been there the ratings would have gone well past .4 to almost .5. You gotta think it.

    And had someone the smarts to sign Enrique Bernoldi this year, then the IRL would be in the catbirds seat.
  • I'm sorry, but most of you IRL haters just come across as completely ignorant.
    You do realize that there are several factors in play here, don't you? Perhaps you didn't realize that we are in the midst of what many economists are calling a RECESSION? (Or, perhaps you've been unemployed for the past few years and HADN'T noticed... who knows). Perhaps you forgot that the majority of IRL television coverage is on a channel that only a relatively small fraction of households even get? TRUE open-wheel fans have been clamoring for this unification for years. Now that it's here, either get behind the IRL and support it or jump on your tractors and head over to NASCAR, 'cause one thing is certain - CART is dead. It's dead... gone.... bankrupt.... finito..... kicked the bucket.... went bye-bye. The IRL is here...to...stay.
  • TV ratings aside, actual ATTENDANCE at the Long Beach Grand Prix was IMPROVED over last year. In fact, it was estimated (by Long Beach police) to be the best attendance in YEARS.
  • In reference to the IRL race coverage and viewer numbers from the Kansas race:
    The coverage was the best I have ever seen on an IRL race in recent years.
    There is no doubt the race probably lost viewers due to the threat of rain. Even those in Kansas were uncertain of the possibility of the race even starting due to weather concerns.
    Even as I watched the race I was monitoring the radar on my cell phone to see if it would be a rain out.
    Versus is doing a GrEAT job of covering the races and commentary.
    However, where I live Versus is not available on basic cable channels. It is only accessable through dish or expanded packages. This I believe limits fans ablity to view the races.
    I wonder if the veiwer numbers takes into account the people that watch the race in public venues, i.e. bars. Where I was watching the race there were about 20 people watching IRL… Not NASCAR..
  • TV ratings aside, actual ATTENDANCE at the Long Beach Grand Prix was IMPROVED over last year. In fact, it was estimated (by Long Beach police) to be the best attendance in YEARS.

    Improved over last years 16 car race finale for the bankrupt CCWS? And how a bout a link to the Long Beach police quote? Or is that information you can't share.... LOL What does this have to do with Kansas other than deflection? The fact of the matter is that no one is watching or attending irl races. CART is gone. _TG has had 14 years to perfect his league and the best he can do is run a spec series on the former Outdoor Life Network with his step son, 3 girls and AJ Foyt's illegitimate Grandson. That's why no one is watching.
  • Brett, I live in Long Beach and police estimates of the attendance were reported in live newscasts and local newspapers. Add to that they I have actually BEEN to the past several races and with my own two eyes (and sitting stuck in traffic on the 710) can make a pretty reasonable observation in regards to an attendance which, by many accounts, was the highest in SEVERAL years (not just last year). As soon as I track down an official estimate, I will post a link here.

    Again, in regards to TELEVISION ratings.... what is it that you people don't understand about the limited availability of the VERSUS network? ESPN is available on most ANY basic cable package. VERSUS - far from it! Far less TV's with access = less viewers. What moron can't make that equation? I swear, you IRL hater's have severely limited logic capabilities when it comes to making your arguments. It's almost laughable... almost.
  • How about waiting until after the races being broadcast on ABC to declare IRL viewership dead in the water? I'm willing to bet we see increased numbers for both over last year.
  • How about all the league haters biting the bag?? Nah, they'd slip in their own spittle.
  • TG has had 14 years to perfect his league and the best he can do is run a spec series on the former Outdoor Life Network with his step son, 3 girls and AJ Foyt’s illegitimate Grandson. That’s why no one is watching.

    Don't forget a car that looks like a birth control device mated to an anal probe.
  • Why do you think that irl* shills are called Gomers? You take whatever Lord Sagamore lays on bread and ask for (sloppy) seconds...and all you have for a comeback is CART/CCWS/OWRS/swineflu/recession etc. The irl ratings and attendance have been tanking for years. How do you think they ended up on (RE) VS? Do you really think this is where they want to be? How's that title sponsorship hunt going with a .15 rating on a obscure cable channel? Bottom line is no one wanted the irl, so they went to VS, it was the only game in town. I have seen the screen shots of the empty stands at Long Beach this year, go to Dolan Racing forum for confirmation. And you have nothing better to do in So Cal than persue the IBJ? Uh, ok.
  • While Sunday was the biggest day attendance-wise, the real surprise was the attendance Friday, due in large part to the 14 sponsors who offered free Friday tickets with product purchases, Michaelian said.

    I thought it was the evil CART who made up 3 day attendance numbers? I'm sure you have already read this living in Long Beach but heres the link.:

    http://www.presstelegram.com/ci_12188090
  • Dahooey,

    So you cannot even answer Anthony without denigrating the people in the sport. Sad. I was hoping a straight up question would receive a straight up answer.

    That said, the whole board thing is a large part of what killed cart/ccws/owrs. What major racing series is run by a board? Not F1, not NASCAR, not NHRA. They all have one strong entity that controls it. Decisions are not made by committee.
  • LOL at Brett.... I DID read that article, actually. In fact, I read both the LB Press Telegram and The Indy Star daily. Not quite sure what point you were trying to make by directing me to that link though. It didn't serve to discredit anything I had written earlier, if thats what you were hoping.
  • Listen to all these naysayers and whiners. You must care about open-wheel racing afterall. Otherwise, why bother with such passionate posts? If only the IRL could bottle this and build on it.

    Sure, the Versus deal is no way to get eyeballs, but save for football, sports attendance and viewing is down everywhere. Yep, the Kansas race was boring, and Indy car racing is watered down. Major duh! NASCAR? It's like watching pro-wrestling on wheels for 4-5 incredibly boring hours. I don't bitch, I don't watch, but them hillbillies keep goin' around in circles anyway. You go girls!

    Go to a movie, go to a play, bike, paint, fix the faucet, or volunteer. If you don't like something, move on. Y'all are stuck in a rut, just like the IRL. And what's with the foreigner-bashing, as if Anglo-named winners like Buddy Lazier and Eddie Cheever turned the IRL around?!

    Get over it already, move over, or move on.
  • I don't see how the Indy Car series is going to survive much longer. They have done a remarkable job of running this thing into the ground.

    I don't know what they're going to do with the Indianapolis 500 but without a reasonably-healthy Indy Car series I can't see it lasting. The whole situation is pathetic.
  • I love the probe combined with birth control comment. You do realize that open wheel cars do look very similar to each other? Are you saying the CART cars don't look that way or the new aero package on F1 this year looks substantially better?
  • BOy oh boy waht a bunch of haters. BUt you just wate. THe MOnth of MAy is bout here. hahahahahaha THats the cure. NO one will even talk bout KAnsas or LONg BEach or CHina or anyting else unless we got a rain delay. ITs INdy baby. JUst try to imgine wher the IRl woud be without INdy today. hahahahahah Boggels the mind. OR just try to imaginw where INdy would be today if CARt was still runnin there. BOGgels the mind.

    YOU just wate, its bout MAy. THe whole month of MAy. JUSt the way its sposed to be.
  • DaHooey, you're right that I was referring to CART, post-split and it's later iteration as CCWS. While I have been going to the 500 for almost 20 years and did stay with Indycar with only Road America added in for Cart/CCWS after the split, I am with all of you that TG is a douche. I have been saying since '94 that if I ever met him in person, I would kick him in the nuts. I still hope to have the opportunity to do that. He's not alone in wrecking U.S. openwheel. None of them could let go of their egos long enough to do what needed to be done. I agree that Anthony or Anthony's dogs would do a better job at running this league. I'm really tired of the decision they make that any idiot could and does see are bad for growing a fan base or bringing in sponsors.
  • i luvs me all the excuses by Casey. Oh, RECESSION? hasn't seemed to harm the Formula1 numbers, which are, on average FIFTY FIVE MILLION VIEWERS. jeeebus you epoples are dum dums.


    And Indyman, yes, I deniGRATER all them Hulmanista loads of chum. They deserves it fer ruinating the sport.


    Kick him in the balls, yes i wood. :D
  • So has dahooey come out of the closet as bigirlfan?

    So you are comparing an international series without a US race with the IRL? Why not do a better comparison, another major mostly all US racing series? NASCAR is feeling the affects of the recession as well. They have lost sponsors, they have lost viewers and they have lost spectators. Even before the recession, you saw a lot more advertising tickets for NASCAR events. You see a lot more empty seats at their venues.

    So I took your bait on an earlier post and you must have missed it. What does dahooey mean?
  • Oriol Servià FTW

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  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

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