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Richmond's TV ratings? A mixed bag for ABC

   NASCAR's playoff stars celebrate the end of the regular season at Richmond Saturday night. But just how strong were those TV ratings? And with Chevrolet dropping sponsorship of the event for 2010, who will step in to help promote it? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

  By Mike Mulhern

   ABC opened its part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup tour, the final 11 events of the 36-race season, with a so-so 3.5 TV rating for Saturday night's Chevy Rock&Roll 400 at Richmond.
   That mean some 5.5 million viewers were watching Denny Hamlin roll to a solid victory in the last race of the regular season.
   The championship playoffs kick off this weekend at Loudon, N.H.
   Ironically ESPN's own Saturday night telecast -- USC-Ohio State -- pulled a whopping 7.3 final TV rating, meaning the game averaged about 10.5 million viewers, a record-setting mark for the network.
   Last summer's Richmond race, then on ESPN, pulled a 3.0 rating for the rain-delayed event, which was postponed from Saturday night till Sunday afternoon. A better comparison for the Richmond event might be the 2007 race, which ABC itself carried in 2007, pulling a 4.2 rating.
   On the other half of the Richmond weekend card, Friday's Nationwide race on ESPN2 pulled a 1.3 final national household rating. Last summer's event, rained out till Sunday, drew a 1.0 rating; in 2007, when it was run as scheduled Friday night, it earned a 1.4 rating.


As I read the hour by hour breakdown of the ratings from Richmond, I noticed that, as the race and time went on, the ratings went down. What does that say about how 'compelling' it was to watch who was going to end up 12th in the 'chase' standings? Whouldn't this race have one of the biggest ratings of the season if the chase is increasing the excitement? But then, they did beat out 'Cops' in the ratings, so I guess that's something.

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Ratings Bump Levels Out

There had been a bump in ratings for a few weeks, but that looks to have leveled out. The reality is indeed as you note - Richmond would have done a lot better if there was something compelling to race for instead of just a contrived playoff format.

I don't guess there is any

I don't guess there is any chance it might have something to do with viewers getting tired of how EESPN was handling the broadcast?
Richard in N.C.

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