Pepsi 400 gets record ratings, attendance DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 21, 1998) The inaugural running of the Pepsi 400 under the lights at Daytona International Speedway, broadcast on TNN, set a record for the highest-rated fall night race in ...
Pepsi 400 gets record ratings, attendance
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 21, 1998) The inaugural running of the Pepsi 400 under the lights at Daytona International Speedway, broadcast on TNN, set a record for the highest-rated fall night race in NASCAR history and the highest Pepsi 400 traffic ever, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The record 4.7 cable rating equates to nearly three-and-a-half million households watching. The rating was also an increase of 18 percent over last year's Pepsi 400, run on July 4. That 18 percent increase translates into more than half-a-million households. The broadcast was the highest-rated cable telecast of the night. More than 5.8 million people tuned in to TNN Motorsports' race coverage from Daytona, which was anchored by TNN's "voice of NASCAR" Eli Gold, former NASCAR Winston Cup Series star Buddy Baker and Dick Berggren, editor of "Stock Car Racing" magazine.
TNN's coverage of the Pepsi 400 peaked with a 5.3 rating, reaching more than 3.8 million homes representing 6.6 million people. In addition, TNN achieved particularly high ratings in several major markets, including Greensboro/Winston-Salem (13.1); Jacksonville/Brunswick, Fla. (12.8); Charlotte, N.C. (12.2); Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne, Fla. (11.1); Nashville, Tenn. (10.6); and Cincinnati (8.6) and Columbus, Ohio (7.1).
The Pepsi 400 achieved these impressive ratings despite competing directly against the first game of the Major League Baseball World Series, pitting the New York Yankees against the San Diego Padres; as well as Big Ten conference football on ESPN.
The 1998 Pepsi 400 was originally scheduled on July Fourth weekend and was to be telecast by CBS Sports, but it was postponed until Oct. 17 by the wildfires that swept through Central Florida in mid-summer. Due to prior commitments by CBS, TNN (is a CBS Cable network) provided live flag-to-flag coverage of the history-making race.
"It was a big night for sports," said David Hall, president of TNN. "And TNN and NASCAR showed that both can really attract a large audience, particularly young male demographics, no matter what the competition offers. TNN and NASCAR broke new ground with the first Daytona race under the lights and viewers, in record numbers, appreciated that."
In addition, NASCAR Online registered 814,386 visits from Bud Pole Qualifying on Thursday, Oct. 15 through Sunday, the day following the race. This more than doubled the traffic recorded last year.
Along with a strong television viewing audience, Daytona also posted record attendance figures for the weekend, according to its parent company, International Speedway Corporation.
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series Bud Qualifying events leading up to the race had the most paid admissions of any qualifying event in the history of the ISC, a motorsports entertainment company that owns and operates four NASCAR Winston Cup Series facilities, including Daytona, Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, Watkins Glen International in upstate New York and Phoenix International Raceway, the site of this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events.
"The events surrounding and including the Pepsi 400 were very successful," said William C. France, chairman and chief executive officer of International Speedway Corporation, as well as president of NASCAR. "Thousands of fans packed the grandstands Thursday and Friday night for qualifying rounds, and the race itself drew a capacity crowd for the first time since its inception. In addition, on Saturday DAYTONA USA had the highest single-day attendance in its history.
"We have already held successful events during the fall at Darlington and Talladega and, with advance ticket sales for this weekend's GM Goodwrench Service Plus/ACDelco 300 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and Dura Lube/Kmart 500 NASCAR Winston Cup event at Phoenix ahead 24 percent over this time last year, we look forward to another strong event."
TNN will broadcast the Dura Lube/Kmart 500 live from Phoenix on Sunday at 2 p.m. EST. TNN will begin its race coverage with a half-hour pre-race show at 1:30 p.m. EST.
On Saturday TBS Superstation will televise the GM Goodwrench Service Plus/ACDelco 300 live at 3:35 p.m. EDT.
Source: NASCAR Online