Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 Delivers Highest Viewership In Five Years To NBC

(Press Release from NBC Sports)

“Greatest Spectacle in Racing” Averages 5.581 Million Viewers, Up 51% vs. 2020 and Up 2% vs. 2019

Race Peaked at 7.129 Million Viewers as Helio Castroneves Took Checkered Flag

Indy 500 is Most-Watched Sporting Event of the Weekend

NTT INDYCAR SERIES Off to Best Six-Race Start in Four Years

Sunday’s 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Presented by Gainbridge ranks as the most-watched Indy 500 in five years averaging a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 5.581 million viewers on NBC — up 51% vs. last year (3.692 million), which was run on Aug. 23 due to the pandemic; and up 2% from NBC’s inaugural broadcast of the race in 2019 (5.489 million). 

“The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” (12:48-3:57 pm ET) peaked at 7.129 million TV-only viewers from 3:15-3:30 p.m. ET as Helio Castroneves outdueled Alex Palou in the final laps to win his record-tying fourth Indy 500. The race finished with a 3.15 household rating.

Additional viewership highlights for this year’s Indy 500:

  • Is NBC Sports’ most-watched IndyCar race to date.
  • Ranks as the most-watched sports event of the weekend across all networks. 
  • Stands as NBC’s most-watched Sunday afternoon sports event in 16 months, since a Seattle-Philadelphia NFL Wild Card matchup with on Jan. 5, 2020 (36.0 million TAD).
  • Across NBC Sports streaming platforms, this year’s race ranks as the second most-streamed IndyCar race everwith an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 34,500 viewers, behind only the 2019 Indy 500 (45,600).

Through the first six races of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES on NBC, NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app are averaging a TAD of 1.926 million viewers, the best six-race start to a season in four years (2.046 million; 4 ABC, 2 NBCSN) and up 28% vs. last season’s comparable races (1.504 million viewers).

Following are the Top 10 local markets for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500:

RankMarketHH Rating
T4Ft. Myers6.3


  1. I’m not really into the I dy cars on ovals, but that was an interesting race. Nice to actually see passing happening

  2. I actually watched this race probably because the weather was so crappy. I believe this was the first Indy 500 I watched start to finish in a long time. Last one I remember was when Danica was on the pole. Loved seeing the crowd there. The pomp and circumstance with pre race festivitites. Singing back home in IN. The marching band, the three wide start. Then the tradition of drinking milk kissing the bricks(wait did I see this) and climbing the fence which I think was just a tradition to the winner Helio. It was entertaining. With Phil Tom and now Helio it is definitely the year of the grizzled veteran overcoming all odds to win the big event. No made up stages, no competition cautions, no gimmicks just a plain old auto race.. I basically tuned out of the Nascar race at night but there was a hockey game on. So Nascar really had no chance of getting me to watch. Nascar has to get a driver to do the double try to capture some of the Indy magic to get there ratings up. Anyone know how Nascar did ratings wise that night?. Happy for Indy car they did themselves proud with that race.

  3. Monsoon in Northeast helped ratings big time, 3 days of crazy downpours kept everyone indoors… I also watched start to Finish & enjoyed the Race….the Big Snowstorm also helped put NASCAR on the map in 79 also, along with the fight in the infield Cale & the Allison Brothers….

  4. Well good for NBC.. These days they have to scratch for every viewer they can get on broadcast televisions competing with so many choices. In the last century a big audience was considered the 76 million viewers NBC got for the final episode of Seinfeld.
    More good news. Bucs at Pats also on NBC Sunday October 3rd in prime time and it will have an audience well past double of the Indy 500.
    Go Cam….errrr……or will it be Mac……..whatever.

  5. Great race, too!

    FWIW, Helio was also on the overall winning team in the Daytona 24. He’s 2 for 2 in races entered this year.

  6. Indeed!!!! A very good race. I haven’t made the effort to watch the Indy 500 in recent years, or since the IRL-CART disputes and demise of the Indy 500. There were some really scary, lean years, with plenty of unsponsored cars. In some part due to the dubious weather and not much else to do, I watched the Indy 500 and it was a great show, event and race. The Indy 500 is back!!!!

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing