Ratings? What ratings?

Posted by Iannucci | 4/28/2009 | 15 comments »
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I just want to take a moment and let you all know that I now admit your humble host previously overreacted when word of the ratings of the VERSUS broadcast of the St Pete race arrived.

As you may recall, I took one look at the ".3" and immediately declared it a bomb. That was my word for the rating, not the superb coverage. "Bomb". You know, like KABOOM and then everything is in the rubble of what it once was. I thought it was appropriate, but like I said, I know now it was a gross exaggeration given that viewership of the Long Beach race ballooned up to ".5". W00t.

So, has anyone caught the ratings for the Kansas event yet...?

The Indy Racing League TV ratings took a step back at Kansas this past Sunday. After posting TV viewership gains for the Long Beach race April 19, the IRL earned a .15 rating nationally (.3 share) for the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway on April 26.

(MORE from The Score)
*staring blankly at screen*

FLASHBACK: Champ Car Race Narrowly Misses a Zero TV Rating


  1. Diecast Dude // April 28, 2009 11:35 PM  

    Well, it was going against Talladega, and I suspect more than a few people didn't tune in because the weather the day before led them to believe there was no way the race could be held.

    I'm clutching at straws, aren't I.

    Versus, the Bermuda Triangle of sports. They go in, but they don't come out.

  2. BP in Louisville // April 28, 2009 11:38 PM  

    I'd say it's fairly obvious that 96% of the population doesn't even KNOW about Versus, and of the 4% that DO know of it don't know IF they have it on their sat/cable package due to it usually being "high" in the channels (my example: channel 549). I'd be willing to bet also that the "casual" viewer profiled by Nielsen that would stop at espn's below 100 channel and find IRL on that would watch it wouldn't scroll all the way through to discover it on Versus. As an example I was talking about "sports soup" on Versus to a few of my co-workers that have the same cable as me and they didn't know they HAD Versus at ch. 449.

  3. Unknown // April 29, 2009 4:18 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  4. Unknown // April 29, 2009 4:23 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  5. pressdog // April 29, 2009 4:25 AM  

    TWO false starts above, kids. Sorry. ..Sponsors ain't gonna like a 0.15. "Give us $4 million and 98 people will see your logo!" It'll be interesting to see how the league spins this one. Not freaked about attendance at the track. It was a crappy day with winds at 20 mph most of the time and everyone in the KC area was betting their house it would pour from noon on. Probably not going to cheat death just to watch a Target car win AGAIN.

  6. Leigh O'Gorman // April 29, 2009 7:59 AM  

    A couple of quick questions for folks here...

    The economic downturn has to a degree affected how much people go out right now (whether to bars or elsewhere), with folks generally having potentially less money to spend).
    Does anyone here think that moving to such an obscure channel as Versus at this particular moment was a mistake?

    Admittedly the coverage over the last couple of years has been a far cry from what Versus offers, but surely staying with one of the mainstream channels may surely have afforded the series a higher audience at a time when more are staying in; thereby making a later transition easier?

    ...or am I talking complete nonsense?

    Obviously things are tough in England too, but how has the current climate affected how shows are viewed, etc..?

  7. Unknown // April 29, 2009 8:17 AM  

    I am, and have been, very conflicted about the move to VS. From a selfish, short-run perspective, the move was great because the coverage has been infinitely superior to what we got on ESPN. However, thinking about the long-run perspective which emphasizes the need for league growth, the move was almost certainly a move in the wrong direction. So I guess now I am just trying to focus on getting great coverage without thinking about the fact that Indycar racing could well be dead 5 years from now.

    Then again, maybe after the ABC races we'll get some carryover back to VS which could start some growth.

  8. The American Mutt // April 29, 2009 8:47 AM  

    ESPN didn't want to broadcast anything but the 500. Lets face it. Regardless of whether or not the move to VS was a good idea, at least they're somewhere.

  9. The American Mutt // April 29, 2009 9:07 AM  


    Twice as many people tuned into St. Pete as did Kansas. Think your theory about it being a street race so of course no one watched it may have been off base?

    At least the ratings sucked for a craptacular race. You're never going to build fan interest with races like Kansas has given us the past few years.

  10. Anonymous // April 29, 2009 11:51 AM  

    What aggravated me is the so-called IndyCar fans - the ones that even declare their love for open wheel in their user names - that admittedly did NOT watch because they *gasp* wanted to watch Talledega instead. WTH?

    Don't believe me? Just surf the most popular racing message boards.

  11. dylan // April 29, 2009 5:24 PM  

    Talledega didn't help, and the racing wasn't good, not like some ovals, wich have lots of passing. unfortunetly, IRL has a similar problem to NASCAR on ovals, only IRL has it on 1.5 and 2 mile ovals. Lots of passing and big packs, but not necesarally safe, nor is it exacly challenging to run full throtle. Worse, shorter races for the IRL can mean harder racing, or just more Fuel Wins!

  12. pressdog // April 29, 2009 6:04 PM  

    Again, my view is simply this: Americans won't tune in to road/street races in massive enough numbers to deliver the kind of ROI needed to bring in the sponsor dollars the IRL needs to keep going. I believe history and the marketplace strongly support this position. Having Long Beach get somewhat less shitty ratings than KS has done nothing to change my view.

  13. dylan // April 29, 2009 7:09 PM  

    I understand that view, its just when has road racing had the advantages NASCAR had? Cart in the 80's and 90's was popular, and it had a good mix. NASCAR, and, Tony George started the myth that road racing is bad, and so most people have that view. What needs to be done is to show the merits of Road and Street Courses, and that means tracks that are wider and have passing zones.

  14. dylan // April 29, 2009 7:11 PM  

    Also, Robin Miller said the IRL wants to re configure Clevland as an oval. How would that work???

  15. Anonymous // April 29, 2009 7:20 PM  

    I love Indycar, I love F1, I love NASCAR. Generally I watch the NASCAR live and watch the DVR of the other two since one is on in the middle of the night and the other is on at the same time but half as long. If Indycar would move races to Saturday, I would watch it live and I believe more would watch all together. Versus or not.

    Steve K