NASCAR proved in 2020 that it is pandemic-proof when it comes to fan loyalty.
During a year in which sports across all arenas took substantial hits to TV ratings and viewership, NASCAR held firm and demonstrated that it is a sport driven by a rabid, loyal fan base as opposed to a casual viewing audience that might stray due to breaks in play or other viewing options.
The pandemic placed the sports viewership landscape under a microscope due to changing schedules and shortened seasons. Once sports returned in late spring or early summer after coming to a halt in March, fans had a bevy of options with the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL overlapping seasons into October. As a result, sports viewership numbers thinned for major events like the Stanley Cup Final (-61%), NBA Finals (-49%), U.S. Open Golf final round (-56%), Kentucky Derby (-43%), MLB Playoffs (-40%), college football (-30%), and NFL regular season (-13%).
Remarkably, according to a SportsMediaWatch.com survey, NASCAR did not see a decline in ratings (-1%) beyond the standard margin for error.
What does that tell us?
NASCAR has always been — and still is — a sport with a unique fan base that does not change the channel when other sports are being played at the same time. NASCAR fans are NASCAR fans — not just casual sports fans. The sport is blessed to have die-hard fans that stand by the sport even when trends across other sports show that casual viewership sports are taking major hits.
With this in mind, NASCAR advertising partners should feel secure that — regardless of what is happening in the world — their campaigns will receive the exposure they expect when committing to the partnership. In a year in which casual sports fans’ eyeballs found other viewing options across almost all sports, NASCAR fans’ eyeballs remained trained on the sport they love so much.