In what has to be considered a discouraging sign for America's most popular racing series, NASCAR again saw a dip in viewership for this year's Chase for the Cup. The 10 week series averaged a 2.7 rating and 4.2 million viewers nationwide in 2012, which is a double digit decline from last year. As reported by SBJ's Austin Karp on Twitter...
Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup across ESPN/ABC avgs 2.7 rating (4.2M viewers), down 13% from '11 (excludes last year rainout at Chicagoland)— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) November 20, 2012
What's worse? This year's decline continues a downward trend for the sport. Jayski has a detailed log of NASCAR ratings for the past four years here if you're interested and Sports Media Watch has Chase ratings since its inception in 2004. The bottom line is that NASCAR's viewership has almost been cut in half since 2006 when the sport averaged 7.8 million viewers in 2006. Chase ratings have dropped two full ratings points since a high of 4.7 in 2005 with this year tying the record low of 2010. This year, 0 out of 10 Chase races saw an increase in ratings from 2011. Zero. And that was with the drama at Phoenix and the championship coming down to the final race with Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski.
Although there were some races up this year, especially during the summer, NASCAR has got to find an answer to stop the bleeding. Whether it's a continuation of "boys have at it", new stars like Brad Keselowski emerging, or the presence of more drivers with more unique personalities, the sport is in despearte need of something to reverse the trend.
There were some good points in here, but really the reason the ratings keep dropping is that we are in an age of instant gratification and 30 second clips. Most people today can't watch a full race because it's too long for them. Also the big NASCAR boom in the late 90's, well a lot of those people have moved on to the latest "In" thing, they were never fans in the first place. Changing the tracks isn't going to help, because part of the problem is that the season is 10 races too long, and by the time you get to September people are bored with the season and ready for football. There's nothing wrong with the Chase format, especially if you ever watched the old format where by September you pretty much knew who would win with about 8 races to go. Also you do have to take into account that these numbers are a representation of people watching and not real numbers. Take for instance, myself who watched the races but watched them later on dvr. These rating never take that into account.
Ratings really don't seem to matter to fox. They re-upped already for coverage after the 2014 season at something like double what they're currently paying.
But the championship didn't really come down to the last race. It would have taken a miracle for Johnson to win, whereas last year Edwards and Stewart was as close as you could get.
DD1070 makes a good point, too. The iconic tracks need the stage at the end, even if Miami offers maybe the purest racing track on the circuit.
@awfulannouncing Long-time problem with Chase is the tracks. No one cares about Miami, Chicago, & Kansas. Needs Daytona, Bristol, & Richmond