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NASCAR Ratings Hold Steady For 2019 Season

“NASCAR’S new president, Steve Phelps was satisfied with the sport’s 2019 season, focusing on the quality of the product.”

Brandon Contes

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After years of experiencing a free fall for their television ratings, NASCAR stopped the bleeding in 2019 as status quo could be considered a win for the sport.

Earlier this week, NBC reported its broadcast of the NASCAR Cup championship race from Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida drew an average of 3.759 million viewers. The championship race attracted the network’s biggest audience during their half broadcasting the season. Unfortunately, it still represented a decline for the same race in previous years.

In 2018, NASCAR’S championship race drew 4.154 million viewers, 4.662 million in 2017 and 6.1 million in 2016. Those totals equate to a 10% decline in one year, 19% in two years, 38% in three years, and according to Forbes, a massive 51% drop from 2015.

The good news? Overall, NBC’s NASCAR ratings remained steady from 2018 even with declining championship race coverage. According to NBC, season viewership averages for their 18 races in 2019 (not including weather-affected races at Daytona and Darlington) stayed at 2.57 million, which was equal to last year.

The first half of NASCAR’S season, broadcast on FOX, enjoyed a ratings increase for the 2019 season. FOX broadcasts averaged 4.07 million viewers, a small increase from the 3.98 million in 2018. The 2019 viewership number for those races is still down 17 percent from their TV ratings in 2017. FOX averaged significantly more viewers than NBC, but the first half of the racing schedule is not challenged by football.

NASCAR’S new president, Steve Phelps was satisfied with the sport’s 2019 season, focusing on the quality of the product.

“If you look at the results — I start with the competition always — our competition right now on the intermediate tracks and the superspeedways, I believe, is the best racing we’ve ever seen. I’ll start with myself as a fan,” Phelps said. “I love watching and am super excited when we get to the intermediate tracks and superspeedways, the type of racing we are going to see.”

One recent positive for NASCAR is the vote of confidence they received from Michael Jordan. If sports’ fans want to be like Mike, they’ll start taking an interest in racing. 

“I’m a big race fan. Started off when I was a kid and I grew up watching [Dale Earnhardt], Richard Petty [and] Cale Yarborough was an original 11 that I remember,” Jordan said. “Now I’m good friends with Denny Hamlin and we go way back. He’s a season ticket holder at the Hornets, and I spend a lot of time playing golf with him and obviously I’m a big NASCAR fan, so I came out to support him.

The 2020 NASCAR season begins next February on FOX, where broadcasts will continue through June 14. NBC controls the NASCAR broadcast schedule from June 21 until the championship race Nov. 8. For the first time in nearly two decades, Homestead-Miami Speedway will not serve as the final race of the NASCAR season.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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