NASCAR TV Ratings: Cup Series Championship at Phoenix

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 06: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Ryan Blaney, driver of the #12 Menards/Dutch Boy Ford, Chase Briscoe, driver of the #14 Mahindra Tractors Ford, Kyle Larson, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, and Harrison Burton, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, race race during the NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway on November 06, 2022 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Joey Logano’s championship win Sunday was perhaps too dominant as the NASCAR TV ratings for the final race of the year declined from 2021.

For the 20th straight week, the NASCAR Cup Series was the most-watched motorsport in the United States as Joey Logano dominated to win his second title. Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway earned a household rating of 1.86 and had 3.213 million viewers. 584,000 of the viewers were in the 18-49 age demographic.

Surprisingly, the climactic race of the NASCAR season did not even crack the top ten in terms of rating or viewership on the year. The Championship ranked 13th in viewership and in household rating. The Daytona 500 had the highest amount of viewers (8.868 million) while the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March had the highest household rating (2.71).

It is worth noting, however, that the Championship race was second in viewership for NBC’s portion of the schedule. NBC held coverage from the end of June through the end of the season. The Verizon 200 at the Brickyard in July was the only NBC-covered race that rated better than the Championship race (3.373 million viewers, 2.05 rating). Is that a comment on NBC’s coverage compared to FOX’s? Or is that down to NBC’s portion having the NFL to contend with?

How Do the 2022 Championship Race’s Ratings Compare To 2021’s?

The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series finale at Phoenix also ran on NBC. The race was slightly more competitive than this past Sunday’s but was still dominated by Kyle Larson. The driver of the #5 led a race-high 107 laps en route to his first championship. Similar to Logano’s win this year, there were no late-race restarts, no significant high-drama moments, and the result was never really in doubt.

Despite these similarities, the 2021 Championship race fared better than the 2022 iteration. The 2021 Championship had 3.214 million viewers and a rating of 1.95. There is only a slight difference between the two years, yet it is still worth noting.

Was this a successful season for NASCAR TV ratings?

Of the events where data was available, 19 races saw growth in both viewership and household rating compared to 2021. With a little over half the races showing some increase, this makes 2022 a relatively successful season for NASCAR TV ratings as the sport continues to rebound in popularity.

While it was an overall positive season for NASCAR, there are some negatives in regard to the ratings. FOX’s coverage of the first half of the NASCAR season significantly outpaced that of NBC. FOX had an average viewership of 3.558 million and a rating of 1.88, while NBC averaged 2.431 million viewers and a rating of 1.45.

FOX benefited from having bigger races like the Busch Light Clash, Daytona 500, Bristol Dirt Race, and Coca-Cola 600. However, NBC had the Brickyard, Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, and the entirety of the Playoffs yet still lacked well behind FOX. Hopefully, NBC will minimize this gap in 2023.

Another important point with the NASCAR TV ratings for 2022 was the negative impact weather had on ratings for several races. Rain delayed the start times of several races and postponed a few by a day, most notably the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona in August. Despite being the final race of the regular season at NASCAR’s most popular track, the race had a rating of 0.88 and drew in only 1.406 million viewers because rain postponed the event to Sunday morning on CNBC as opposed to Saturday night on NBC. In 2021, the same race had 3.928 million viewers and a 2.25 rating because it ran as scheduled on Saturday night.

Rain and weather will always be a factor out of NASCAR’s control, but hopefully, they will have better luck in 2023.

Featured Image Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images