By: Tanner Watkins
May 27, 2019 | 11:30 AM
Months of promotion and marketing from NBC Sports culminated in the network’s first airing of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. After receiving the initial overnight rating for yesterday’s race, the executives at NBC, INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway should be pleased with the results.
The 103rd edition of the Indianapolis 500 posted a 3.86 overnight rating, according to NBC. That was the highest rating for the race since a 4.1 mark in 2016, when the blackout for the event was lifted after the event sold out.
This overnight rating does not include digital viewers – that updated number is expected to be released later today.
Touting on-air talent such as Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy, Mike Tirico, Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr, NBC pulled out all the stops for their first shot at the Indianapolis 500 telecast.
By earning a 3.86 overnight rating, NBC and INDYCAR have finally reversed the trend of downward ratings in the Indianapolis 500. Race viewership was up 15% over last year’s event that was on ABC, which earned a 3.35 rating.
In the final fifteen minutes of the race broadcast, the rating blossomed to a 4.56 mark as Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi dueled for the victory. Pagenaud would become the victor by executing a Lap 199 pass that certainly made for exciting television in NBC’s maiden Indy 500 run.
Last but not least, the mark achieved for yesterday’s “500” was the highest rating for NBC since a January 6 football game in the NFL’s Wild Card round.
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.