Indy 500 has its highest viewing figures in five years

NBC has revealed that Sunday’s 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 saw a 51 percent increase in viewership over the delayed August 2020 edition.

Helio Castroneves’ Meyer Shank Racing-Honda crossing the yard of bricks and scoring his record-matching fourth Indy 500 victory saw viewership peak at 7.129 million viewers, with the race averaging 5.581m.

That was up 51 percent on the fan-free 2020 edition (3.692m viewers) that was pushed back to the third week of August due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and which, like this year, saw the local TV blackout lifted. It was also two percent up on the 2019 race, NBC’s first crack at the Memorial Day Weekend classic after 54 years of broadcasting on ABC.

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By some considerable margin, therefore, the most recent Indy 500 is NBC Sports’ most-watched IndyCar race to date, and it the most-watched sports event of the weekend across all networks. Indeed, it was NBC’s most-watched Sunday afternoon sports event in 16 months, when a Seattle vs. Philadelphia NFL Wild Card matchup was held on Jan. 5, 2020 and reached 36m viewers.

Across NBC Sports streaming platforms, this year’s Indy 500 was the second most-streamed IndyCar race ever with an Average Minute Audience of 34,500 viewers, behind only the 2019 Indy 500 (45,600). The reduction in this figure will likely be on account of the local area blackout in 2019.

Through the first six races of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series on NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, are averaging a TAD of 1.926 million viewers, the best six-race start to a season in four years, up 28 percent on last season’s comparable races (1.5m).

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