NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season was the most watched IndyCar season on record for NBCSN, and the best combined broadcast/cable viewership for the series in five years.
For the 15 races across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports digital platforms, the season averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.223 million viewers, which represents an improvement of 19% compared to last season’s average viewership of 1.027 million, a 10% gain on the figures from 2019 (1.108 million), and the most-watched season since 2016 (1.310 million), when coverage was shared between NBCSN and ABC.
IndyCar series coverage on NBCSN averaged 632,000 viewers in 2021; the best in the network’s history, and a gain of 46% over 2020 (432,000 viewers), and a 49% increase versus 2019 (423,000). That included two of NBCSN’s top four most-watched races on record, headlined by the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, which averaged a TAD of 1.212 million viewers to rank as the network’s most-watched IndyCar race ever. It is also believed to be the most-watched cable race for the series in 23 years (1998, 2.218 million, ESPN).
The 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 averaged 5.581 million viewers, up 51% compared to 2020 and a 2% gain on 2019. For NBC’s eight races this season, the network averaged a TAD of 1.722 million viewers, up 16% on 2020 (1.484 million).
In addition, 2021’s Mid-Ohio race averaged a TAD of 1.303 million viewers to stand as NBC Sports’ most-watched IndyCar race to date, excluding Indy 500s. Viewership topped the previous NBC Sports record set during last year’s prime time Texas race on NBC (1.256 million).
Locally, Indianapolis led all markets with a 4.4 household rating. Following are the top 10 markets for the 2021 IndyCar Series season.
In July, IndyCar and NBC Sports announced a multi-year extension to their media rights agreement. The 2022 season will feature a record 14 races on broadcast network NBC, headlined by the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 29. The 17-race slate opens with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, on Sunday, February 27, on NBC.