Despite NBC conflicts, IndyCar sees strong Detroit GP ratings

Despite broadcast conflicts that frustrated TV viewers during both races of IndyCar’s Detroit Grand Prix this past weekend, the series returned promising ratings numbers as it finished up its stretch of six network TV races among its first eight broadcasts of 2021 with NBC.

Saturday’s Race 1, which included an hour-plus red flag pause after Felix Rosenqvist’s nasty one-car crash into a tire barrier that landed him with an overnight hospital stay, averaged 845,000 viewers, making it the most-watched Detroit Race 1 since 2017 (around 850,000 on ABC). It was also a 10% jump compared to the last running of the Detroit Grand Prix in 2019 (768,000 viewers), which was a rain-shortened event, and better than Race 1 from 2018, which marked ABC’s final race broadcast.

Cars compete during the second race of the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix auto racing doubleheader on Belle Isle in Detroit, Sunday, June 13, 2021.

On Sunday, only the final 30 laps of the 70-lap race landed on NBC, but that portion averaged 1.383 million viewers, up 26% on the complete 2019 Race 2 (1.099 million). Up against other full-race broadcasts, that NBC portion of Race 2 registered as the most-watched non-Indy 500 event since the 2016 Detroit Race 2, which aired on ABC (1.397 million).

Overall, the races averaged 954,000 viewers, 3% better than 2019 (931,000).

Amelia J. Bell

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