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IndyCar is Latest Racing Circuit Enjoying U.S. Viewership Bounce

  • IndyCar has its most-watched season on NBC Sports since 2011.
  • The viewership boost follows success in the U.S. from F1 and NASCAR.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Formula 1 has seen unprecedented growth in the U.S., thanks largely to the popularity of “Drive to Survive” docuseries on Netflix. But it’s not the only racing series seeing record numbers.

IndyCar’s 2023 season, which concluded on Sunday, was the circuit’s most-watched campaign since 2011. NBC Sports averaged 1.32 million viewers per race across the 17-event schedule — shattering the network’s record number last year.

The viewership boost came during a season that saw one of the largest crowds ever to attend the Indianapolis 500, which welcomed more than 300,000 fans in May. 

It’s all part of the latest wave of new interest in motorsports, which continues to attract American fans and stakeholders. 

NASCAR is filming a Netflix series this fall during its Cup Series Playoffs in a continuing effort to draw younger fans. Meanwhile, NASCAR’s second-tier Xfinity Series just signed a record $805 million deal with CW, which will broadcast the circuit’s races until 2031.

Then there’s F1. The inaugural running of the Las Vegas Grand Prix is expected to be one of the biggest sporting spectacles of the year. ESPN has been seeing viewership gains for its F1 races this season, as the network pays a reported $85 million annually for the series’ U.S. media rights.

F1 and NASCAR both conclude their 2023 seasons in November.

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