UPDATED with more details: Fox’s coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series’ return to action Sunday drew a 3.7 rating and 6.32 million viewers, according to Nielsen data. The race, the fan-free Real Heroes 400 live from Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, was one of the first live sporting events in the country since the coronavirus was declared a national emergency March 13.
The network said it was the most watched NASCAR Cup Series race (other than the marquee Daytona 500) since the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 in Atlanta on March 5, 2017. It also revved up 38% better than Fox’s last NASCAR race, on March 8 in Phoenix.
Fox Sports also aired Bundesliga soccer this weekend as the German pro league also returned to action with a slate of fan-free games.
The NASCAR race, which aired beginning at 3:30 PM ET, had trickled into primetime on the East Coast by the time Kevin Harvick took the checkered flag; viewership peaked in the race’s final quarter-hour with 6.81M viewers from 7:15-7:28 PM ET. It kicked off an ambitious seven-race slate on Fox, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes that includes events today and tomorrow in Darlington before the series moves north to Charlotte for four races including Sunday’s Coca-Cola 400 (6 PM ET, Fox/Fox Deportes).
The network covered Sunday’s race from three sites: reporter Regan Smith, camera operators, a director, technical director and reduced crew at Darlington; producers and the play-by-play booth (Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon and Larry McReynolds) in the Charlotte studios; and replay, graphics and commercials handled in Los Angeles.
Tuesday’s race from the NASCAR Xfinity Series airs at 8 PM ET (FS1/Fox Deportes), while the main series returns Wednesday for the Darlington 500k at 7:30 PM ET (FS1/Fox Deportes).