At the bottom of Curt Cavin's Friday article in The Indianapolis Star comes this nugget:
The Izod IndyCar Series received better news, according to Sports Media Watch.
Viewership on Versus has increased 24 percent over the past five races, with the average for those races 428,000. The media watchdog said that number is higher than the NHL's average on Versus (297,000) or the WNBA's average on ESPN2 (290,000).
Yes, having under half a million viewers still isn't where the series needs to be. But if viewership continues to increase, and the series can once again have a naturally suspenseful end to the season, it puts the league in a good position when TV contracts come up, especially when the key male 18-32 demographic is trending upwards.
Versus' coverage of the series has been universally praised, and if the Comcast-owned channel becomes a partner with NBC Sports after the NBC Universal-Comcast merger, the series is poised to return to network television. Increased ratings only help this argument for returning to network.
For more details on the ratings surge, click here.