Sports fans yearning for new content and live action amid the coronavirus pandemic flocked to NASCAR on Sunday.
On Monday afternoon, Fox Sports Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy and Analytics Michael Mulvihill confirmed that The Real Heroes 400 event at Darlington Raceway was a huge television hit:
NASCAR’s return draws 6.32 million viewers, up +38% over the last race prior to the shutdown and a three-year high for races other than the Daytona 500. https://t.co/6nGpRPzZ0N— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) May 18, 2020
NASCAR’s biggest gains yesterday were among Men 18-34, up +47% compared to the last race before the shutdown.— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) May 18, 2020
NASCAR audience showed up early and hung around for a long time yesterday. Audience at 4p was the same as it was for the entire race (6.3m). That’s really rare.— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) May 18, 2020
Average viewer watched for 113 minutes. Average of three prior races had been 92.
Other than Daytona 500s, yesterday’s race delivered NASCAR’s biggest M18-34 viewership in over three years.— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) May 18, 2020
NASCAR and the UFC have been the first two major competitions to return to action in the United States during the virus outbreak. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported the UFC 249 show that occurred at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on May 9 generated over 700,000 pay-per-view buys.
Last week, NASCAR expanded its schedule for the period of May 17 through June 21. Fans are not allowed to attend any of those races.