Daytona 500 2012: Drop in Ratings Caused by Constant Delays

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Chevrolet, David Ragan, driver of the #34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, spin as Kurt Busch, driver of the #51 Tag Heuer Avant-Garde Chevrolet Chevrolet,  tries to avoid the wreckage after an on track incident in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 27, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The 2012 Daytona 500 was postponed to Monday, and further weather delays and insane wrecks took the race deep into the night, which is why the ratings for NASCAR's biggest event of the year were down from a year ago. 

As Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated tweeted, the ratings dropped from last year but were up by a large margin from two years ago.

The Daytona 500 drew a 7.7 overnight rating on FOX, down six percent from last year but +10% from 2010.

— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) February 28, 2012

While the ratings were down, they weren't horrible. Up 10 percent from 2010 is a great sign for NASCAR, and the primetime slot probably had a hand in that. 

It wouldn't surprise me if fans that went down to Daytona were traveling back on Monday and missed seeing the race on FOX. It was the first time the Daytona 500 had been postponed to the following day, which played a role in the drop of ratings. 

I'll admit I was wrong in thinking the postponing of the race wouldn't hinder ratings, but then again, the massive pileups from beginning to end more than likely took away some viewers. 

Plus, the casual fan may not have known the race was on Monday or they were invested in other shows. Monday is a popular night for television, as points out each of the four major networks had a solid night in terms of ratings. 

When Jimmie Johnson, Danica Patrick and other drivers crashed on the second lap, it wouldn't be a shocker if those viewing at home quickly became uninterested. 

Starting at 7 p.m. allowed FOX to own the night, but competing against hit primetime TV Shows took a toll on their ratings. It sure didn't help that big-time wrecks delayed the race well into the night. 



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