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Stocks Are Climbing, While Others Tumble

November 17, 2002|Larry Stewart

In the world of sports television, where declining ratings are the norm, NASCAR is an anomaly. NASCAR has shifted into high gear and is going in a different direction -- up.

Football appears healthy again after some recent dips, but Fox had record-low ratings for the World Series and NBC had record-low ratings for the NBA last season.

Meanwhile, NASCAR has shown double-digit increases in the last two years and a case can be made that stock car racing is the country's second-most popular television sport, behind pro football.

Fox is averaging 15.2 million viewers for its Sunday NFL telecasts, and earlier this year averaged 9.4 million viewers for NASCAR races.

A PGA golf tournament averages 4.8 million viewers, a regular-season NBA game 4.1 million and a regular-season baseball game 3.4 million.

However, Los Angeles is not a NASCAR hotbed when it comes to ratings. Although the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at Fontana in April drew 112,000 people, the TV rating was a 3.5.

That pales in comparison to the 13 or 14 rating any NASCAR race gets in such places as Greensboro and Charlotte, N.C.

The average NASCAR rating in L.A. this year is a 2.6.

That ranks L.A. 47th among the nation's 55 largest markets, but because of the size of the market, L.A. ranks second behind Atlanta in number of households where NASCAR is being watched. Charlotte ranks sixth and Greensboro is not in the top 10.

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-- Larry Stewart

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