NASCAR’s return brought jump in TV viewership

Members of Kevin Harvick's team celebrate after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday in Darlington, S.C.

Combined ShapeCaption
Members of Kevin Harvick's team celebrate after winning the NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday in Darlington, S.C.

An average of more than 6.32 million viewers across the country watched NASCAR’s return to racing Sunday, a 38% increase over the audience for the last race before the season was suspended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fox Sports, which televised The Real Heroes 400 from Darlington Raceway, said the viewership was the highest in more than three years for any NASCAR Cup Series race other than the Daytona 500.

Sunday’s race was NASCAR’s first since about 4.6 million viewers watched the FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 8. By mid-March, all of the major U.S. sports leagues and events had shut down.

The race at Darlington, S.C., drew a 3.7 rating across the nation’s 56 metered markets Sunday, meaning 3.7% of homes tuned in on average. The rating was significantly higher in the Atlanta TV market: 5.3.

The markets with the five highest ratings for the race were Greensboro (9.5), Charlotte (9.1), Indianapolis (8.9), Nashville (6.7) and Jacksonville (6.4).