A closer look at the 2022 race’s shocking TV ratings dip


The phrase you heard all month around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix unofficially kicking off the biggest month of the American motorsports calendar, was that “rising tides lift all ships.” It’s a favorite line around Penske Entertainment Corp. officials and even seeped into the NBC broadcast booth’s lexicon from time to time.

But there’s no way around it, no easy way to explain it and no one or two things to blame it on. The Indianapolis 500’s TV rating – for a race that included intrigue around Jimmie Johnson and Romain Grosjean’s debuts and Helio Castroneves’ ‘Drive for 5’ – flat out sunk. After a promising average of 5,581 million viewers watched a year ago as Castroneves hunted down Alex Palou and joined ‘The Club’, NBC drew just 4.8 million across its various platforms that include linear TV, Peacock Premium and additional streaming through

  during the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Looking past the 2020 race that shifted dates due to the pandemic, it’s the worst TV rating for the 500 in the race’s live broadcast history.

It represents a 14% drop in the total average audience in a race with seemingly so much more intrigue coming in than 2021, a puzzling result after IndyCar and NBC inked a new exclusive broadcast partnership deal last summer. The campaign was formally kicked off with a popular, highly-produced, creative commercial campaign to a primetime audience during the Winter Olympics in February. Castroneves visited the ‘Today Show’ on his birthday May 10, following NBC’s spot with Johnson during the Kentucky Derby the weekend prior, to begin to drum up mainstream audience awareness. NBC pitched in again two weeks later by placing Johnson on Jimmy Fallon’s ‘The Tonight Show’ during race week to drum up additional attention.




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