Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Inaugural Chicago Street Race Nets NBC Most-Watched NASCAR Race in Six Years

The NASCAR Cup Series’ inaugural Chicago Street Race was a smashing success, netting NBC its most-watched NASCAR event in six years at an average of 4.795 million viewers. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Since last July, when it was officially announced that NASCAR would be hosting a race on the streets of Chicago in 2023, the Grant Park 220 has been one of the most anticipated NASCAR Cup Series events in quite a while.

An entire year later, that hype never actually fizzled out, as Fast National data provided by Nielsen shows that Sunday’s inaugural Chicago Street Race for the NASCAR Cup Series set several viewership milestones.

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NBC Sports’ coverage of the first-ever Chicago Street Course event – spanning from 6:32 to 9:45 PM ET – averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 4.795 million viewers on NBC and Peacock.

Those numbers make Sunday’s Grant Park 220 the most-watched NASCAR Cup Series event on NBC since the 2017 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the eighth-most-watched event under NBC Sports’ current rights agreement.

With 163,500 viewers across Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms, Sunday’s event on the streets of Chicago was also the most-streamed NASCAR Cup Series event in the history of NBC Sports.

In the early stages of NBC’s broadcast schedule for 2023, the network has posted incredible numbers, boasting a 144% increase in ratings versus the network’s second NASCAR Cup Series broadcast of 2022 at Road America, and a 72% increase in its season-long average for the series on NBC.

According to Fast National data from Nielsen, viewership peaked at 5.383 million TV-only viewers from 9:15 to 9:30 PM ET, about the time when Shane Van Gisbergen crossed the start-finish line to capture the victory.

Van Gisbergen, a regular in the Australian Supercars, had traveled to the United States for a one-off in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro for Trackhouse Racing, through the organization’s PROJECT91 program.

Chicago, where the event was held, delivered a 9.29 rating for Sunday’s event, and is expected to lead all markets once final local data has been compiled. That rating is more than three times what the market delivered in the season-opening Daytona 500.

Through two races, NBC Sports is averaging a TAD of 4.009 million viewers, marking the network’s best start to its NASCAR Cup Series coverage since 2017 (4.202 million). Coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series will continue this weekend on USA Network.

Joseph Srigley
Joseph Srigley
University of Windsor | Business Administration - Supply Chain & Data Analytics Editor at

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