After a disappointing 0.3 rating for the first IndyCar Series race on Versus that represented a 60 percent drop in audience from the previous year, the network and the series got a welcome boost following this past weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, as the TV audience nearly doubled.
Versus' Long Beach telecast scored a rating of 0.5, according to Nielsen Media Research. This matched the rating for ESPN2’s telecast of last year’s Long Beach event, which served as the finale of the Champ Car World Series. Although the overall audience was still off around 20 percent (389,000 households, as against 486,000 last year), since Versus is available in fewer U.S. households than ESPN2, it represented a significant improvement.
“We see progress,” IRL spokesman John Griffin told the Indianapolis Business Journal. “We attribute the improved rating to three things – the NASCAR race was Saturday night, the attraction and history of the race at Long Beach, and people getting more focused on where to find Versus. At this point, we couldn’t be happier.”
Griffin added that the league hopes its compacted schedule for this season, which sees the IndyCar Series heading to Kansas this week (again on Versus at 4pm Eastern) will help to maintain momentum and build the series’ fan following.