The 2021 IMSA season-opener delivered strong action throughout due to six of the seven DPi Prototypes having potential race-winning speed, and the final hour producing a gripping four-way fight for honors.
Ultimately, Wayne Taylor Racing’s Acura ARX-05 prevailed with Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor, Alexander Rossi and Helio Castroneves on driving duty, while Chip Ganassi Racing’s Cadillac DPi-V.R suffered an agonizing puncture just a few laps from the end as driver Renger van der Zande had the WTR Acura firmly in his sights.
NBC has now revealed that its Sunday coverage was the most watched IMSA telecast since 2008, and that the combined Saturday/Sunday coverage on NBC averaged nearly 1.1m viewers.
In addition, the combined viewership on NBC/NBCSN was up 19 percent compared with 2020, while the Saturday-only coverage on NBC (3:30-4:30 p.m. ET) averaged 829,000 viewers, up 58 percent vs. last year’s Saturday coverage.
NBC Sports has nearly doubled viewership for the IMSA WeatherTech Championship in two years since acquiring the rights, up 89 percent from the 2018 season (128,000 viewers on FOX/FS1/FS2).
Doonan wrote: “As you likely recall, we closed out the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with significant momentum, as NBC Sports reported a 21 percent increase in television viewership year-over-year.
“We are proud to report that we have continued that momentum into the 2021 season with record viewership numbers for last weekend’s 59th Rolex 24 At Daytona… the most viewed sporting event of the weekend.
“These broadcast results represent the largest IMSA viewing audience we’ve had to date in our NBC relationship and was the largest for any IMSA race since the 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“This is a testament not only to your commitment to IMSA, but also the quality of the on-track product you delivered for our fans. It was nothing short of sensational, and sets us up for continued success as we head to Sebring and the rest of the 2021 season.