IndyCar has announced that the second season of IZOD IndyCar Series race coverage on Versus averaged 366,000 viewers for 12 telecasts. That is an increase of 16.2 percent over its viewing figures on the Comcast-owned sports network in 2009, which were negatively impacted by a financial dispute between Comcast and DirecTV that resulted in the network being dropped by the satellite broadcast service for IndyCar's late-season events. In particular, the championship-deciding Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 2 saw a 34 percent jump in viewers from last year.
Versus aired the final seven races of the 2010 season, averaging 316,000 viewers for those events. That is up 8.2 percent from 292,000 viewers for the network's final seven telecasts last year, according to IndyCar, which also says its races are up some 40 percent in the coveted 18-to-34 male demographic.
Overall, the numbers remain well below where they were when IndyCar's races aired on ESPN, which continues to be available in considerably more households than does Versus. While acknowledging Versus' current reach poses challenges, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard remains confident that the network's approach is a good fit with the series.
"We're kidding ourselves if we think that's the perfect home for us – you always want to be in 120 million homes," Bernard told the Associated Press. "But we're on an aggressive network that we have an opportunity to grow with."
ABC's four IndyCar telecasts, which included the Indianapolis 500, averaged 2.696 million viewers, up 2.3 percent from 2.636 million viewers for '09, although the TV rating for the "500" itself was down this year.