With race pushed to August, 2020 Indianapolis 500 had its lowest-ever TV ratings

This year’s Indianapolis 500 recorded its lowest-ever TV ratings.

With the 2020 race moving from its usual Memorial Day Weekend slot to August, it’s not an apples to apples comparison, but according to an NBC Sports press release, the race held a scant 2.29 household rating.

The next lowest rating came in 2018 at 3.1, according to Sports Media Watch.

Viewership was down from last year’s 5.489 million viewers (3.4 household rating), coming in at 3.737 million viewers, though last year’s race wasn’t directly competing against NBA playoffs, PGA golf and NASCAR.

According to The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch, the 500’s viewership was second most of any sporting event this weekend, behind only Saturday night’s Lakers-Portland playoff game (3.828 million viewers).

Allowed to watch live, Indianapolis viewers dominated the ratings share, leading all markets with a 24.9. However, that is down from 2016’s live, local airing of the race (33.6).

The Top 10 local markets for Sunday’s Indy 500 included:.

  • 1. Indianapolis; 24.9.
  • T2. Cincinnati; 4.1.
  • T2. Columbus, Ohio; 4.1.
  • T2. Las Vegas; 4.1.
  • 5. Nashville; 3.8.
  • 6. Hartford-New Haven; 3.7.
  • T7. Milwaukee; 3.6.
  • T7. West Palm Beach; 3.6.
  • T9. Sacramento-Stockton; 3.3.
  • T9. Tampa-St. Petersburg; 3.3.
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    Viewership wasn’t all doom and gloom, according to NBC Sports.

    Sunday’s 500 was the second-most watched sporting event on NBC since January and the network’s second-most watched IndyCar race in history.

    Coverage of the 2020 race peaked around 5:30 p.M. At 4.641 television-only viewers toward the end of the Indy 500 and was the most watched motorsports event in August since NASCAR at Bristol Motor Speedway earned 3.838 million viewers in 2017.

    The only sporting event reaching more viewers on NBC in 2020 was the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Divisional Playoff on Jan. 11. The event had 30.2 million viewers tune in.

    Chris Sims is a digital sports producer at IndyStar. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisFSims.