FOX’s overnight TV ratings for Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway were down seven percent over last year, according to Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Daily.â†µ
That means Bristol, which Karp said dropped to a 3.9 overnight rating from a 4.2 last year, becomes the first race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season to have a decline in its television rating.â†µ
Ratings for the Daytona 500 and the following races at Phoenix and Las Vegas had all been up, sparking renewed optimism that the sport was over its recent struggles.â†µ
And while that may be the case in the long run, Bristol was a step back in both ratings and attendance; the 160,000-seat grandstand was only half full.â†µ
Bristol once sold out 55 consecutive races until it changed the track, so some fans blame the decline in attendance on the quality of the racing.â†µ
Others say gas prices and high hotel rates in the Bristol area are the primary culprits in the track seeing less fans attend its races.