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NASCAR ratings on big rise compared to recent years in 2022

The 2022 NASCAR season saw notable viewership boosts in two major areas. Overall, the sport's ratings are officially on the rise again.

Austin Konenski
NASCAR: Cup Championship
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NASCAR season concluded at Phoenix Raceway when Joey Logano was crowned as the sport’s second active two-time champion at the top level. Overall, this season was a very successful one for the sport and its partners.

Let’s dive into the NASCAR ratings over the course of the 2022 season compared to years past.

NASCAR has best year of viewership since the 2018 season

Syndication: Daytona Beach News-Journal
Austin Cindric No.2 celebrates after winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb.20, 2022. Daytona 500 04

NASCAR’s ratings have been a topic of conversation for countless seasons as the viewership is not like it was during the sport’s golden age. However, the 2022 season represented very notable numbers.

NASCAR had its best season of overall viewership (114.231 million average viewers) since the 2018 season (120.454 million average viewers), according to the exact numbers released by Show Buzz Daily every week.

This is the first time the sport has seen an average of over three million average viewers per race since the 2018 season too. Let’s take a look at the data more closely.

  • 2022: 114.231 million (3.006 million per race)
  • 2021: 108.877 million (2.865 million per race)
  • 2020: 112.068 million (2.949 million per race)
  • 2019: 113.776 million (2.994 million per race)
  • 2018: 120.454 million (3.170 million per race)

All of these numbers are the raw total from each rating release throughout the season. It does not include any additional numbers from the networks. This might be why some other totals are different.

However, based on the total viewership above, the 2022 season appears to be showing signs of NASCAR going in the right direction. After years of decreasing numbers, a boost in viewership is very positive.

This comes after the first complete season of the NextGen car with many notable events, such as the Busch Light Clash and the new event at World Wide Technology Raceway. Plus, the hype leading from the Clash helped the start of the year.

NASCAR will for sure be even better next year. The Chicago Street Course and North Wilkesboro Speedway’s return should really give even more attention to the sport.

In fact, the sport will have tremendous momentum going into next season after its playoff numbers did pretty well compared to previous years.

Related: NASCAR intends to continue the charter system beyond 2024

NASCAR ratings show best playoff viewership since 2019

NASCAR: YellaWood 500
Oct 2, 2022; Talladega, Alabama, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) celebrates winning the Yellawood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The NASCAR playoffs have been a controversial idea ever since its inception for the 2014 season and that has been shown over the years with the overall viewership during the final 10-race stretch.

Every single playoff stretch since the 2014 season has seen a decrease in viewership. Fortunately, for the first time in NASCAR history, that narrative has changed due to the 2022 season.

This season’s playoffs increased for the first time and now sits as the best viewership since the 2019 season. Let’s take a deeper look at the data from the last five years.

  • 2022: 23.804 million (2.380 million per race)
  • 2021: 22.624 million (2.262 million per race)
  • 2020: 23.633 million (2.363 million per race)
  • 2019: 24.608 million (2.461 million per race)
  • 2018: 27.278 million (2.728 million per race)

The sport has seen two major boosts for the 2022 season. One of them is the overall viewership across the entire season while the other remains the final 10 events when each of them matters even more.

NASCAR has officially returned to pre-COVID-19 pandemic numbers and no matter how it is spun, this is a fantastic situation for the sport. There can be more done to increase these playoff numbers too.

If the sport starts rotating the tracks within the playoffs, including the championship event, it would be surprising to not see a boost in numbers. Plus, if NASCAR carries this momentum into the 2023 season, everything will be up again.

The future of NASCAR is bright and will likely run through FOX and NBC moving forward, as stated during the State of the Sport address last week. There is only up to go from here and that is a good thing.