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Sports Business

IRL TV ratings on rise, big test ahead in May

April 20, 2010
KEYWORDS Sports Business

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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