Texas eNASCAR iRacing Event Breaks TV Record for eSports Broadcast03/31/2020
Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event from the virtual Texas Motor Speedway drew 1.3 million viewers, increasing its viewership from the week before, and breaking its own eSport television ratings record in the process.
A total of 1,339,000 watched the O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 across FOX and FS1 according to Nielsen Sports.
The inaugural eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational race from the virtual Homestead Miami Speedway on March 22 set a new television eSport ratings record when it was watched by 903,000.
Both races have now cleared the 770,000 viewers mark established by the CW Network’s broadcast of a Mortal Kombat tournament in 2016. The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series events were won by Denny Hamlin and Timmy Hill respectively.
The races feature full fields of NASCAR racers and the commentary is provided by Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon and Larry McReynolds.
“Jeff and I have said from the start that this needs to be fun or we shouldn’t be doing at all,” Joy told Autoweek on Monday. “Our view is that these are some of the greatest race car drivers in the world and they are utilizing some of their usual skill sets — the hand-eye coordination, brake points — and our job is to pull back the curtain a little bit and just take fans along for the ride.
“We’re weaving in real world commentary. We’re not making fun of it, but rather, we’re having fun with it.”
Most notably, FOX Sports claims the broadcast attracted 255,000 viewers who had not watched a NASCAR Cup Series race in 2020.
The Texas Motor Speedway race was the second most viewed sporting event of the week behind Friday Night Smackdown on FOX, which drew an average of 2.374 million viewers.
The next race in the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series takes place at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday from the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway. It will also be broadcast on FOX, FS1 and the Fox Sports App.
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