NBC Sports is experiencing a unique challenge with Nascar and the IndyCar double header amid a year of strong ratings

This upcoming weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway presents a unique challenge for NBC Sports.

For the third year in a row, the Nascar and NTT IndyCar Series will race at the Yard of Bricks on a given weekend, with events broadcasting Saturday and Sunday on NBC.

The challenge of running two major sporting events in one weekend is something that NBC Sports executive producer and chief production officer Sam Flood loves.

“It’s just non-stop work and cross-pollination is the best part of it,” Flood said. “We have two leagues to race together, we share a facility and hopefully we’ll share an audience.”

The rare opportunity for two of America’s most popular forms of motorsport to race together on the same weekend on the same track began in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced both series to get creative with their schedules, as well as an opportunity for them to race together in Indianapolis, which is owned by Roger Pinsky.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will work. Actually as an analyst for both events, James Hinchcliffe will be at the Xfinity Series booth on Saturday.

“There’s a lot of respect, I think, going back and forth from an open wheel to a stocked car over decades,” said Earnhardt, a Nascar Hall of Famer. “There were a lot of great driver-driven conditions and opportunities — the IndyCar drivers raced the stock cars successfully, the stock car racers ran the IndyCars successfully too.”

The dynamic duo of racing this weekend provides NBC with a great opportunity to continue its momentum.

The Nascar Cup Series viewership for the start of the NBC/USA Network portion of the season is up 4% compared to last season. Viewership is higher compared to those similar races on NBCSN last year.

Sunday’s event at Pocono Raceway saw a 4% increase in viewership, and USA Network was the top network on TV, including broadcast, during the race window with 2.590 million viewers. The Atlanta race on the USA Network surpassed all 2021 races on NBCSN in terms of viewership with 2.626 million viewers.

“Part of our job is marketing the sport and being on the racetrack. Rutledge Wood does some unique content in and around the races,” Flood said. “It’s one of the things Jim France has asked NASCAR that we keep showing what’s going on on the racetrack. Once you go to the race, you keep watching it on TV.”

In addition, the NTT IndyCar series is also on its best start in five years via Comcast
a program. This series has averaged 1.721 million total viewers (TAD) across NBC Sports platforms (NBC, Peacock, USA Network) this season, making it the season’s most-watched start-up over the first eight races since 2017 (1.760 million; ABC/NBCSN). ). The start of the 2022 season is also 5% increase vs. comparative coverage last year (1.634 million; NBC/NBCSN). She also had one race in Toronto by air only on the Peacock.

Flood attributes the growth in ratings to both series’ dedication to finding innovative ways to attract new fans.

“The fact that fans are back on the track in record numbers is making the races happen again,” Flood said. “It’s more than just a race – it’s an event. I saw the crowd in Pocono last weekend And I saw the crowd for IndyCar.

“Either way, it felt big and it’s a huge benefit because when it’s more than just a race, it engages the audience on a much higher level. I think it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that there are more fans in the stands which means more eyeballs are watching the race.”

NBC also cross-promotes motorsports programming with WWE.

Flood said, “We’ve worked closely with WWE to push fans back and forth between Nascar, IndyCar and WWE. Superstars appear on the racetrack, so we’re adding publicity to all involved.”

The green flag of the IndyCar Series event takes place on Saturday, July 30, while the Cup Series race in Indianapolis will take the green flag on July 31, both on NBC.

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