IRL TV ratings on rise, big test ahead in May

April 20, 2010
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Versus’ coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 18 earned a .5 national household television rating, according Nielsen Media Research, making it the network's highest-rated and most-watched race.

The race, won by Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, averaged 490,000 viewers during its 3-6 p.m. window and peaked with .6 household rating and 525,000 viewers.

Versus’ first three races of the 2010 season, as compared to the same number of live events last season, have grown 67 percent in household ratings (.5 vs .3) and 30 percent in average viewers (404,000 vs. 310,000), according to Nielsen.

Additionally, viewership among all key male demographics is also showing substantial growth: Men 18-34 (up 104 percent), Men 18-49 (up 38 percent) and Men 25-54 (up 60 percent).

The open-wheel racing series faces a big test in May, with two races airing nationally on ABC. The series races at the Kansas Speedway May 1 and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway May 30. Both are oval races and series officials are hoping for big TV viewer numbers to win over sponsors.

Potential TV advertisers have told IBJ they need to see at least a 1.0 rating, and preferably a 1.5 before they will consider spending serious cash on advertising during IndyCar races.

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  • Not a bad, bad number
    You know, for a bad ratings number, .5 is not bad.
  • .05
    wasn't that what was left in the coffers of champcar when they closed up. A nickel.

  • ha ha
    Wasn't .05 TG's GPA at ISU?
  • TG
    No, I think that is what TG makes in interest off our money every second of every day 24x7
  • Statistically insignificant
    Statistically insignificant. The product is garbage.


    code = 4e6rh
  • Garbage
    yes, but it's our garbage. LOL

    You have nothing
  • ICS at LB
    So... Long Beach used to be a Champcar race... and then Champcar went bankrupt twice... and now Long Beach is an ICS race.

    Do I have that right?
  • Viewersor Households
    Anthony....perhaps you could clarify is the .5 representative of 490,000 viewers as you stated, or rather 490,000 households, because households would certainly represent a much larger number of people with the obvious assumption that everyone was not watching by themselves. Thanks
  • Oh yes, the haters are in a lather over good news. How are those cart ratings doing? I mean since, as Chief said, cart killed itself, if not for the IRL, we would all be watching F1 for our open wheel fix.

    While they have a long, long way to go, the fact the ratings are going up while other forms of racing is going down is a good sign. Everyone said the VS contract was a long term project and risky a that. Hopefully the ratings keep going up.
  • I'll try to clarify
    IndyRich, I'll try to clarify, but since Nielsen will no longer talk to me or give me numbers, I have to rely on getting them from other sources. My understanding is that a .5 rating would actually equate to 550,000 TV households, but Nielsen does some rounding up and down. But that would certainly mean it is closer to 800,000 or so actual viewers. Thanks for reading.
  • I'll try to clarify
    IndyRich, I'll try to clarify, but since Nielsen will no longer talk to me or give me numbers, I have to rely on getting them from other sources. My understanding is that a .5 rating would actually equate to 550,000 TV households, but Nielsen does some rounding up and down. But that would certainly mean it is closer to 800,000 or so actual viewers. Thanks for reading.
  • they allways round out irl rating because they are so low like toronto last year was0.6 not a 1.0
    terry angstadt need to go he has ruin indycar with his f1 light terry angstadt=bikeman i am a oval guy but like long beach but did not watch it because irl has become cart light i watch the oval for now i soon give that up
    • long beach rating
      long beach was 0.36 last year and said it was0.5 texas last year 485,000 viewers o.36 rating other has o.67 but it was 0.41 more likely long beach was 0.42 and you should not blame irl prop it up like that speed channel did same thing with nascar truck rating i guest another rush the shark
    • Tan I am oval
      Gee, tan, you must have gradiated from the Evelyn Woodhead sped typin school wow, what a post youin's hepped us git so much from yer typin thank ya for all yer smarts 'n stuff......
    • Versus reach
      One reason that brings the household/viewer numbers down per rating point is that Versus doesn't reach as many homes as ESPN or ABC.
    • IRL Ratings
      I have heard through a corporate source, the actual "hard number" for IRL TV ratings, excluding the Indy 500, is in reality averaging a .4. Where that comes from or how that is determine, I have no idea. But that is a no bull number that is taken seriously. So if that is about where the ratings truly are, the league is a long, long way from that 1.0 or more preferably 1.5 rating necessary to attract "money sponsors", i.e. non-institutional sponsors so prevalent in NASCAR. At this rate, the IRL is heade toward the "Joe's Construction", and "Smithville Lanes Bowling World", type of sponsors along with the normal associate sticker sponsors like yoru Valvoline's, and Bosch's. There is no way the league can sustain in the direction it is heading. If the IRL leaders were honest on their assessment, there would be nothing but a complete shutdown of the current operating structure of the league, and a reinvention of the sport at Mid-1970's level sponsorship expectations, i.e. an Indy Car costing maybe $150G's tops, maybe 8 to 10 oval races and a Mid-Ohio thrown in, and no expectation that a driver is going to make $5 million a year, not even winning Indy. Small teams with small budgets, drivers from pro-am disciplines, and races at places like Phoenix in Mid-March with maybe 20,000 in the stands and on a tape-delay type basis or maybe continuing on an obscure cable channel. But the glory days are long gone. The Mr. Penske's and Mr. Ganassi's of the racing world are getting what they can, while they can, are no friends to the sport, and will have to be replaced by the little teams of half-volunteers from Brownsburg and Pacoima in the near future if the league and sport continue at all. It just cannot sustain on current economic models and to think otherwise is entirely foolish. Any serious business man, and I am one, would look at those Long Beach numbers and have no reason for faux-optimism but rather would be grateful for the few extra customers that came through the door, if you will, and still be planning for what is inevitably a down-sizing to prevent extinction. How it is the league doesn't see this, as it would appear to be from this vantage point, is amazingly confounding. And to think they have a model, CART, to use an object example.
    • Speedway Arrogance
      Burl...the past doesn't matter to them. They only want the future because THEY own the sport and THEY command it's future. Isn't it apparent they don't have a clue?

      THEY also do not want whats right for the SPORT, THEY only want whats right for Hulman Inc. The speedway it's own best friend and it's worst enemy.
    • Chief, thought you were over it. That did not last long. Excuse me Burl if I am skeptical of your super secret source.

      The ratings, no matter what they are, are not close to what they should be. As long as they keep rising, things are looking favorable.
    • Source With Remorse
      For not trying harder to get his company to come around and sponsor an IRL team. Nothing super secret about him, Indyman. Just a guy who knows better than to jeopardize his job by discussing internal company policy with anybody other than me, his best buddy since childhood. And I would never out that. Big company. Big revenue. Thought IRL TV numbers way, way low for ROI. I pressed him some, said they showed a true .4 average. That's all I got on it. I am not skeptical at all. The number rings about true. But go on, drinking the Hulmanista Kool-Aid, if it makes you high. I prefer facts and figures. Hard data. The rest is sentimental dreaming.
    • The Skeptic
      I dig what Burl is saying. He and his secret source are REALISTS. As am I.

      Hulmanista's are Pyrrhonian Skeptics. Nothing can challenge the great Oz of Indy. Nothing, no how....unless the great wizards bringforth press releases for the masses that explain everything, never to be challenged. BY ANY ONE...unless you have links or IMS connections.
    • True, I mean which is more trustworthy, proof or hearsay on an internet blog? It was on the internet, it must be true.

      You guys are cracking me up.
    • Chief....
      Ol'man...should you be at the MCL Cafeteria or watching "Murder She Wrote" on TCM? You are just getting all worked up over nothing. Relax I a sure there is a game of bingo somewhere tonight.
    • Burl
      Are you sure your name isn't Buford?
    • Aww
      The compassion showed here amongst brethren of AOW brings a tear to the eye...

      The TWO weeks of May is fast approaching and Baby Rahal ain't gotta seat! Do you really thing this is momentum? What ride buyers are gonna replace TBA as drivers of all them IRL rockets? Will a Penske or Ganassi dominate the rest of the season (just like the past 4 or 5 years)? Will Danica get another spinner? Will Ryan Hunter IZOD keep winning but his whole team still keep sucking? Will "Taser" get another car to drive? What happened to the plans to renovate the area around the speedway? What DIRT trackers are gonna race this year? Is Tyce or Billy Boat or Greg Ray gonna be in the gratest 2 weeks evah?

      Does anyone realise that strett and road courses outdrew both on TV and in the stands the OVALs the IRL was designed to protect and put good american drivers on, specifically the ones from rural midwest dirt tracks, just like the old days. Ed Carpenter is in...but seriously folks, that boy ain't gonna win. SO many questions. Off to bingo...
    • TOney TOney TOney
      it cost the Hulman-George family six hunedred million dollars
    • All for ONE!
      No longer can PENsKE have an advantage!! Yup, NOW if you gots a technical advantage, you have to share it with Milka and TBA.

      Ain't the IRL grate? LENIN would be proud of the new IRL Technical Committee. I mean, all the same cars, same engines (except Ryan, Danica and former Sam the Sham), same technical rules. I heard on the innerwebs today a suggestion...just give 'em all the trophy for winning! Everyone WINS in the IRL! Could be new slogan. No COMPETITIVE advantage EVER! Woot! Go IRL!
    • Izod Indycar Series
      600 million dollars for a 0.5, thats .00000000083 ratings points per dollar
    • Izod Indycar Series
      where the track partners won't even bother to open the gates for Friday practice and quals....hehehe
    • Turner Classic Movies
      Hey...all you young IRL whippersnapers:

      Before they bulldozed the Motel and before they mortgaged the golf course, the Brickyard Crossing would host classic racing films night showcasing Grand Prix, Winning and all the others. It was TRADITION.

      I guess that's when racing meant something at Indy. Now it's considered expendable by some. Maybe we can get 'em to show it at MCL's now.
    • texas is only won got 0.4 last year on vs indy was only one got 1.0 on abc last year
      the press usaul rush shark on rating most of time they do not use over night rating best rating you must wait a week on the schedule next year they need to ad canadian motor speedway and tulare motor complex atlanta motor speedway las vegas motor speedway new hamphere motor speedway richmond these track should not come back next year glen edmoton sonoma 14 main event=oval 6 under card= road cource they have coke cola and not race at atlanta coke was allways was a big ad spenter look what happen to izod hunter ray last year terry angstadt sleep at wheel again he rather race bike track at barber on next year race double fale restart one green white checker and ad 5 lap to the oval week to week races remove miami as season last race and put it as the opener other year put tulare motor complex as the opener on mid ohio they should not of race there in first place kentucky motor speedway just over river from ohio is in cin.......... area that all terry had tell honda but he is road racing nut case and will never say no to road racing they should only be 2 to 3 road racing in future in the irl on atlanta race they need race double header with nascar on second atlanta race
    • daytona and talladega
      the need make plate for these car so they can run at daytona and talladega at speed 235mph they can do that safely at that speed not worry g problem and fan in stand daytona talladega are bigger than texas so that should be problem with g and both got open wheel fence now on the new car they need delay that to 2015 and only make dallara only car and make them get cut cost on old car about 100,000 dollar
    • Tan and companies ramblings are incoherrent at best. Chief is amusing in that he continues to rant on a topic that he claims he is over.

      A couple of things to mull over. The most popular racing series on this side of the pond has had one champion in the last 4 years and 3 teams dominating the last 11 seasons with the most ultra spec cars ever invented. F1, the worlds most popular series, in the last decade has had one team win 6 titles, and finally cart/owrs/ccws, the series that Chief holds up as the pinnacle of racing success, was dominated by 3 teams in the last 12 years of its existence combining to win 11 titles with NHL winning 5 of them before it killed itself. And you guys presume to know how to run a racing series?

      Is Chief more upset the Speedway tore down the motel or he can't sneak into free movies there anymore?

      Is it more important to post facts, or unsubstantiated guesses?

      let us ponder for awhile.
    • Foolishness
      Anyone one who would take Indymans ramblings as some kind of defacto reasoning is insane.

      FACT is CART grew the Indycar series (with the IMS/INDY 500 as benefactor during it's stead) to heights that have not been seen again..not in 15 years or $644MILLION worth of investment in the IRL. FACT.

      Not in popularity or anything else. IF CART had dropped DEAD in 1996 INDYMAN would have a point...but as usual his point is worthless because Indy still stands and the sport is in shambles. The IRL exists as a mere patient on life support from the meddling of the Speedway these past 15 years.

      Ok, it stands but it stands for FAILURE. Nothing more, nothing less. What has been lost is LOST. Making the IRL CART ain't gonna bring it back despite what IRL/IMS lovers want you to believe. Humpty Dumpty is being resurected to the delight of fans like INDYMAN, in exactly the likeness of CART. But, seriously folks, it's not CART is it?

      Enjoy your strret raing series...errr all oval series that even TONY GEORGE himself doesn't want to be a part of...but YOU all strived to be. Nothing but FAILURE...15 years of FAILURE. Indyman LOVES IT THOUGH.
      • cart worst thing to happen to american open wheel it was country club
        war was over 3 year ago if cart was so good why is it dead cart was a joke it was f1 miner league with bad cars reason why cart was big it was because indy 500 forigner and american hate it cart tryed turn american football into soccer bottom line irl is american sport that oval racing f1 is good sport but not american sport where are all f1 clone are a1gp dead all tg did was modern sport any way evey good league true the years had bad mangerment like terry angstadt tg was part of it too yeah he had bit of retro feeling going
      • Again you ignore my point. You claim that people do not like spec racing. The most popular series in the country is spec racing. You rip the IRL because a couple of teams dominate. I think you would be hard pressed to show me a popular race series that is not dominated by a couple of teams. Fact of life is money rules most race series. occasionally a small team sneaks in, but for the most part, the rich do well, the poorer teams struggle.

        You keep saying how successful cart was, good term. But as you said, it killed itself. therefore, something in its business plan did not work. facts are facts. As with any nasty war, one side wins, one loses. And like any civil war, the winner comes out bloody. in this case, haters like you keep trying to drag it down, but it keeps marching on. How many times has your side forecast the last year for the IRL and how many times have you been wrong?
      • pheonix doe have opener any more since tulare motor complex finesh it could race close to season final
        irl its not really spec racing because the car look differant front wing end and back wing are defferant on all cars
      • fender car hit 236mph at talladega
        indycar have to hit 245mph at talladega because they have allways has really faster then fender car i say for daytona 240mph you have give fans money worth
      • hexham
        Let's see, Indy Car has to essentially triple their current ratings to get any decent sponsorship.

        Sorry, but with the pathetic excuse for a racing series that Indy Car has become, it ain't gonna happen.

        Look forward to the new mixed shopping and residential complex at 16th and Georgetown. It's coming.
      • And the predictions keep coming and they keep being proven wrong. So you do not care to give a date? Is this open ended like 2020, 2030, 2080?
      • iman's issues
        One thing to mull over. The most popular racing series is actually popular...iman's racing leeg isn't...even after 600 million dollars was spent in an effort to make it popular
      • Besides making up numbers, you are missing the point. Anyone who claims a racing series that has spec cars with the same teams winning is boring, must not be paying attention.
      • 500 coverage&long beach
        I'm so glad that .5rating is exceptable for the IRL Teams for Long Beach. What,all of us who waited a year to watch LB AND THE 500 QUAILIFING ARE out of luck because it was on Versus. NOW THE 500 QUAILIFING SHORTEN TO 2 DAYS, AND AGAIN I'M GOING TO MISS IT TO! DITIFUL COVERAGE, REALLY SINCE YOU HAVE MERGED! AT LEAST BERNINE CAN KEEP F1 WHERE PEOPLE CAN WATCH IT AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE TONY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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