IndyCar TV ratings up, still long way to go

July 25, 2014
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The IndyCar Series’ television ratings are headed in the right direction, but they’re still a long way from where advertisers and sponsors want to see them.

The series got off to a rough start last Saturday as its race north of the border was rained out. The make-up race the next morning was switched last minute from NBC Sports Network to CNBC. That race attracted 128,000 viewers nationwide.

The second of IndyCar’s double-header in Toronto ran close to the time it was originally scheduled on NBCSN and drew 484,000 viewers nationwide, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. While that’s about half of what national advertisers and major corporate brands would like to see on a consistent basis out of the open-wheel series, the second Toronto race was the most-watched IndyCar race on NBCSN since the 2011 Grand Prix of Baltimore, which drew 591,000 sets of eyeballs.

The second race in Toronto started under dry conditions but got rained on before finally drying out a bit. Mike Conway won the race marred by a number of crashes. The intrigue was ratcheted up by teams deciding when to race on rain tires and when to race on slicks late in the race as the rain ended.

Through eight races this season, IndyCar Series race ratings on NBCSN are up 46 percent from last year (from 274,000 viewers per race in 2013 to 400,000 in 2014), according to Nielsen.

The IndyCar Series has four races remaining on its schedule, all in August and all on NBCSN. The early end date this year comes as Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar parent Hulman & Co., seeks to end the season by Labor Day to avoid bumping heads with the National Football League.

The IndyCar Series’ next race will be the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The green flag drops at 3 p.m.

  • Great start, but a long way to go.
  • Does anyone know?
    Does anyone know if this year's ratings are up because NBCSN is in more homes now than last year and when it was Versus? Or are these real improvements in viewers, not just because the network is in more homes?
  • There was
    a race last Sunday? Who knew.
  • CNBC, not MSNBC
    The first race on Sunday aired on CNBC, not MSNBC.
    They gotta be in Shamwow ratings territory now!!!
  • Ratings
    Only half a million TV Viewers? And thats an increase? I knew Indycar was struggling but I didn't know it was that bad. Hell, if NASCAR hits 5 Million viewers everyone starts freaking out saying its going down hill. It has a long way to before Indycar even hits NASCAR's bad days.
  • HAy Gomers
    You thought no Indy was bad, how's no fans working out for you? THe IRl No direct competition and still no fans. Hey George Family, spend another billion dollars, that will fix it.
  • RacerX, Isn't more viewers more viewers? If being shown on a more widely available channel brings in more viewers, it is still more viewers. Indycar has great racing to the point I heard several NASCAR drivers on tv question why NASCAR can't create the same type of racing. The sponsors are increasing, it is now a battle to figure out how do you draw in the fans, especially at time that almost all racing is seeing declines across the board. It will be interesting to see if the RTA in NASCAR becomes their version of CART.
    • I guess what I am asking
      I guess what I am trying to figure out is: is the increase in viewers a reflection of real increased interest in Indycar, or is it simply a function of NBCSN being more widely available. Are there more people per household watching, or just more households have NBCSN? Any increase is good news, but I'm just curious if there's any data on that kind of information. I know when our local cable provider adds channels to the lineup I'll tend to check them out and watch them more than I probably would have otherwise.
    • Tour DeFrance
      These mid summer bumps typically are fed by "sandwiching" these IRL garbage races either before or after some semi important TV event like the Tour DeFrance. Or F1. Or Mad Money on CNBC. Keep dreaming that it's from someone really interested in ugly cars with 6 cylinder engines that are underpowered, with incompetent stewarding in race control. Yup, cars that can't even race in the rain. That's the IRL IndyCar series. Worthless garbage.
      • better means better no matter what
        ChIeF and all the other critics – better is better no matter what. Get over it; they are doing better despite you ?
      • perhaps
        But BigB...better than what? I think you need to stART thinking in terms of marginal improvement. The stuff that the IRL would need to be compared to to make it "better" has been dead twice, over 6 years ago. And still, the IRL Clown Car series with Brian Barnfart in race control is in last place, even with improvement. Just being the only show (and a bad one at that) in town does not equate to fact, it's worse.
        • As usual ChiEf
          a whole lot of nothing coming from your windpipes.No in fact - Its worse..........
        • LOL
          You have to agree, AOW sucks. Otherwise you'd have one of you cute rebuttals. Ultimately, the IRL today is sized up against the great series of old. Even dead ones are betterer. Everyone knows it...why do you constantly try to convince yourself otherwise? It's laughable.
        • What Were The Ratings for The CART Race Last Week?
          Oh wait. Never mind.
          • CARTS' ratings? They're the same as...
            They're exactly the same as the IRL's
          • it dont matter
            The Indy 500 and the IRL series, whatever is left of them, have put the lights out on the sport. IMS still over a BILLION $$$ spent to get 0.3 TV ratings and spec racers with 6 cylinder engines. No speeds, no exotic formula, just former CART owners fleecing IMS under IMS' own rules. With the exception of 4 years starting in 1996, it has continued unabated ever since. The IMS owners are fools...season's done in 3 weeks and no one cares now, just think how gooder it gets in the off season. No IRL....that saves money!
          • Turbo kills Dreamworks Film Studio
            Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.
          • Don't Panic Just Yet
            And now, yet another dose of actual reality for the IndyCar obsessed: Total domestic receipts: $82,871,896. Foreign receipts: 190,600,000. Total box office receipts: $273,471,896. Cost to make the movie: $135,000,000. What does that mean? Primarily that the movie took in $138,471,896 more than it cost to make. In other words what sane and rational people refer to as 'successful.' You're welcome.
            • Do the math, Captain
              Ok, now lets tell the rest of the story regarding a film's box office numbers: It is the generally accepted model that for a film to "break even" it has to generate double it's production costs. Why is that? Well, when you see the "box office" numbers, that is the GROSS amount of ticket sale revenue. Of that number, up to nearly half of that STAYS with the theater owners/operator (and that percentage varies with the film, and the negotiating strength of the films distributor) Additionally, most "big budget" films are given a pretty large promotional investment, which is generally NOT reported with the production costs. In fact most studios are not entirely transparent in reporting the actual promotional budget for a film. On may "big budget" productions, the promotional spend may approach 50% (or more) of the production cost, and is not added to the reported cost of making the film. So what does that mean? For "Turbo", with a reported production cost of $135 million, it would have to bring in ~ $270 million just to "break even". And as Turbo was pretty heavily promoted, that "break even" number would need to be significantly higher than what it earned at the box office. And given that the bulk of that films earning were overseas, where the studios cut of the take can fall below 20% of the gross, it is unlikely that the film broke even. The ray of sunshine for Dreamworks is the sales of DVDs and digital distribution, where even a box office dud like some of the earlier "Star Trek" films can make a profit. Give this site a read- for more information
            • Do the math, Captain. Part 2
              As you put it, so condescendingly: "another dose of reality" "Turbo" grossed $83 million domestically, $199 million internationally, for a total of $282 million . Lets assume that the studio took a 60% cut of the revenues domestically, and a 40% cut of the international trade(both of which is probably higher than the reality) Where does that leave us? Dreamworks captured $49.8 million domestically, and $79.6 million internationally, for an overall total of.....$129.4 million dollars. Given that its production costs were reported between $135 million (your number) or as low as $127 million, the movie either A: lost ~ $8 million, or made ~ $2.4 million. Dreamworks apparently spent MORE than its production budget to market the film (~ $150 million), although it is tough to believe that number. In any case, Dreamworks took a $13 million dollar write down, and it (Turbo) had one of the lowest grosses in Dreamworks Animation history, and its opening was the LOWEST in its history, adjusted for inflation. This does NOT account for whatever percentage the films distributor, 20th Century Fox, took. The real irony is that it did OK in foreign markets, where Indycar DOES NOT race in, outside of Canada. And the architect of Indycar's involvement with the film-Randy Bernard-got the boot last year, so any positive "vibe" that MAY have been generated will probably vanish, right along with Randy. I know that for the permanently Indy focused fanbois like yourself, and Defender, the truth kinda sucks, but, well, too bad for you. YOU'RE WELCOME
            • Fiscal Responsibility
              Also don't forget, Mr. Katzenberg, that Turbo contributed revenue of $22.3 million to the first quarter for Dreamworks, primarily from domestic pay television. The film reached an estimated 4.8 million home entertainment units sold worldwide through the end of the first quarter of 2014. Still appears to have turned a profit. I'm just happy Turbo did not do for IndyCar what Driven did for the old series.
              • I guess reading is not your strong suit
                Go back and read (or have your Mom read it to you) my first post, where I specifically stated the Dreamworks could still stand to profit on "Turbo" through DVD/digital sales, as have some other box office bombs. It was your contention that the film, as a theatrical release, made money, which given Jeffrey Katzenbergs statements, and the write down of $13 million, would appear to be incorrect. If you want to change the scope of the debate, feel free, but if you, like Dependster, want to post stuff that is easily disproven, well don't get your panties in a bunch when someone points out your B.S. And what "Driven" did has no bearing on your current contentions. "LeMans" didn't do all that well either, but that hasn't seemed to impact the popularity of the 24 Hours of LeMans. Stick to defending your own data, and stop using that tried and true Dependster method of changing the subject when you get caught lying. At least here you can't delete the posts. LOL!
              • Pot, meet kettle
                So, if discussion of the movie had nothing to do with the blog topic, why did YOU feel the need to offer your expertise to show what a profitable ( and it wasn't) theatrical release it was? Seems like you should take your own advice. And since your writing style appears to mimic very closely the aforementioned Defender/Disciple we'd have to surmise that you are either: Defender himself using one of the multiple names that he/ you've posted with over the years, or B: you'd like to score some points with your impression of him, and make a little "love connection" yourself. In any case, follow your own advice and stick to the blog topic. I'm betting that you can't.
              • Watkins Glen President
                Q: Watkins Glen has hosted IndyCar and the Truck Series? Any thoughts on potential future additions to the track’s schedule? A: We have our hands full right now. I want to make sure we don’t take on too much because we’re going to make everything else slow down. We put a lot of passion into the events we have. If we’re going to do something new, it might be to the detriment of something that’s already here. But I haven’t talked to IndyCar in two and a half years. I don’t even think they’re ready to talk to us, to be candid. We don’t have any desire with their current business model to run here. Their business model is insane. :crazy They’re asking way too much money for a product that you can’t sell enough tickets to and obviously that puts you in red ink land. And there’s no TV; corporate sponsors aren’t following them. If your corporate sponsors and TV won’t follow, it’s very difficult to host one of these races. I love IndyCar, as you well might remember, and I’d love to have them back. From a business model point of view, I can’t see doing it.
              • THe IRl
                a money looser for everyone it appears
              • Dreamworks under Investigation because of IMS
                DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. disclosed Tuesday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an investigation into the company's write-down on "Turbo," a summer 2013 film released by the studio. DreamWorks executives offered few details on the scope and progress of the investigation, saying only that they were cooperating with officials. The disclosure was made on a conference call with analysts following the release of second-quarter earnings. DreamWorks announced a second-quarter net loss of $15.4 million on Tuesday, a steep drop from the net income of $22.3 million seen in the same quarter last year. Revenue was $122.3 million, a year-over-year decline of more than $90 million. Company stock fell more than 8% in after-hours trading. "Turbo," an animated film about a snail given super-speed powers, grossed $83 million at the domestic box office when it was released in July 2013, a disappointment for the company that prompted a $13.5 million write-down announced in February.
              • Yet Another Interjection of Reality
                Dreamworks is under scrutiny by the SEC because Dreamworks is suspected of creatively accounting. Two entities that will be here this time next year and for the foreseeable future: 1) Dreamworks. 2) IMS and Indycar. If you are struggling for examples of movies ties to series that ultimately led to the failure of both look no further than 'Driven' and the wonderful things that did for Cart/Champcar. You kids are really reaching.
                • As expected
                  As we all expected, Captain Obvious cannot/will not/ does not follow his own advice-i.e. sticking to the blog topic. Nice deflection from the subject at hand, which is the anemic growth (and we'll wait to see full year results) of both the television and actual race attendance. CART and Driven have nothing to do with the current (non) performance of the ICS.Why don't you follow your own advice - either post FACTS and support them ( links, verifiable quotes, etc) or just stay on your mom's basement. :-D
                • Salient Facts:
                  1. The ratings for IndyCar are up this season. 2. Dreamworks will still be in business this time next year. 3. IndyCar and IMS will both still in business this time next year. 4. Turbo will still be available for purchase in various video formats this time next year. Are there any tiny morsels of any of the facts stated here in the blog comment section squatters/business mavens/experts on every single aspect of life with which you cannot come to grips?
                  • Reading skills, and your lack thereof
                    Defender, first off why don't you use your "real" ID; it's obvious to anyone that it's you. No one writes in the same "faux intelligent" style that you seem to think makes you sound educated. Squatters? Really? Buy a thesaurus. Secondly, and I know that this is the tough part for you, let's actually comprehend what is written, shall we? I stated that I want to see the results for the WHOLE season, not just the short them " year to date" figures ( and by the way, it is YOU that downplays ratings on your blog. So why do they suddenly matter here?) Third, "Driven" is still available as well,both digitally and on DVD, so your point about "Turbo" is...what, exactly? And finally, as has been stated multiple times by multiple people, Indycar will exist for as long as the family keeps supporting it. That's hardly a success story. Just talk to the general manager of Watkins Glen ( use those amazing media skills and contacts, John) about what a for profit entity thinks of Indycar's business model these days. Good luck with that Dipsicle.
                  • Captain Delusional
                    about to blow an O ring whilst contorting hisownself to defend the undefensable and promote the unwanted. SPEND MORE OF THE GRANDKIDS' MONEY.
                  • Whew Boy
                    Them IRlcar drivers are something else. I haven't seen so much dirt and dust and grass and carbon fiber flying at a race since Robby Gordon runned the Baha 1000. Hey Chief you know how to make them crapwagons look better, have them all run into each other at the hairpin @ Mid-Ohio. Whew boy. LULZ
                  • junk all over the track
                    I seened over the weekend the video of the IRL qualifications at Mid-Ohio. What bunch of garbage on track. Looks like the rain tires the series runs are worthless. The Rory-Sergio battle at Firestone was great, as well as was Pocono race and the Hall of Fame game. Is it any wonder the IRL race at Mid0Ohio was junk? Also, perhaps Mr. Oblivious can show us the key metrics of TURBO's impact on attendance and TV ratings for the IRL and IMS. I'm sure he's seen the numbers and I'll bet they'll be "north of $20 Million". LOL. TURBO didn't move the needle but has got DreamWorks in hot water. And, according to that article, all do to it's involvement with IMS. Bwahahhahahahaha! And Watkins Glen telling the IRL to pound sand. That is great stuff to start out a monday.
                  • OK So
                    how popular are snails? Not very. How popular is IRLcar racin? Not very. That movie had FIAL ritten all over it.
                    • momentum? ok, sure.
                      Mid Ohio TV rating-0.25. Growth AMPLIFIED.
                    • That just prooves
                      that "Muricans liek oval racin, like at Texas where they constantly get 0.28s
                    • Complaint by a former AOW fan
                      HaY, POcONo had a 1.1 on ABC in 2013. HaY, Mid Ohio had a 0.6 on ABC in 2012. IF we're gonna compare IRL defunct race Baltimore in 2013 to Toronto....then we can discuss the DROP in TV ratings from Pocono 2013 to 2014 and the subsequent DROP in TV ratings for Mid-Ohio from 0.6 in 2012 to 0.25 in 2014. Tends to show a DOWNWARD trend year to year. Anthony, do we have to do all the work for you? Come on, quit lobbing the Indy-lubbers softballs. It's much, much worse than even the Watkins Glen general manager sez it is...isn't it? "Insane business plan" Michael Printup is saying the IRL has. Why isn't the most prominent Indy sports business blogger taking up these great talking points? I DARE you to write about them.
                    • Hi
                      Captain Obvious /defender dipsicle whatever stupid name you use. You can't delete comments here like at your idiotic excuse of a blog. You do not understand racing outside of the hood you love in Indy. Leave blogging to people that can actually take criticism. Otherwise you are just a loser with a blog . Do us all a favor and keep it up. We love laughing at you!
                      • Uhhh ohhhh
                        National Guard just pulled out of IRL, LLC series. This is great news. Finally my tax dollars will not be going to support the clown car series. Wow, NASCAR was getting $32million, north of $20 million MORE than what Verizon pays for IRL leeguE sponsorship. PLUS, Rahal stole the National Guard sponsorship from the now deceased Panther Racing! Yes, and it counts! Former CART owners still doing more for AOW racing than anyone....right Bobbie Rahal? I love it!
                      • Don't Panic, instead try honesty
                        So, I find it amazing that the "media expert" (and I'm looking at you Captain Defender) doesn't understand the basic economics of the film business. Shocking. NOT
                        • NFL we are not
                          HD tv has decreased all USA sports attendance. HD tv has increased all USA sports viewership. the SEC has a dedicated channel. does IndyCar have a network?
                          • Sorry, John
                            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.

                          Post a comment to this blog

                          COMMENTS POLICY
                          We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
                          You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
                          Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
                          No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
                          We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

                          Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

                          Sponsored by