etflix premiered NASCAR: Full Speed this week and the five-part series, executive produced by Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been a big success. The series made it into the top 5 most watched list on Netflix in both the US and Canada. Earnhardt has been busy retweeting show ratings and positive fan reaction.
Will this grow the sport? More importantly, will this grow NASCAR outside the US and with younger fans? That remains to be seen. But the show has strong ratings and a 9o% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and that’s a great start.
A Win for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
There are no shock revelations in NASCAR: Full Speed. Nonetheless, the show’s popularity cannot be denied. An analysis by Parrot Analytics reveals that audience demand for NASCAR: Full Speed is within the top 8.6% of all shows over the past month. That’s great for a documentary series about stock car racing. Just as important, it’s great for NASCAR’s efforts to pull in younger and more diverse viewers as the sport seeks to build a new audience.
And showcase its new crop of drivers.
As the Wall Street Journal recently noted, NASCAR has a reliable audience but not quite the reach — or “pop culture pull” — from the Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. days. That Dale Jr. is one of the executive producers of NASCAR: Full Speed, speaks to the ‘old guard’s’ commitment to growing NASCAR’s popularity into the future. And to helping make today’s younger drivers stars that can similarly pull in a big audience on their own.
In addition to being an executive producer of NASCAR: Full Speed, Dale Jr. makes several appearances throughout the series. But as viewers can see, he is only there to talk about the drama of NASCAR, the intensity of the sport and what today’s drivers are facing. He’s pushing the story forward, and helping build the ‘cred’ of the younger guys.
NASCAR Success Outside the US
According to Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, NASCAR: Full Speed’ has “cracked Netflix’s Top 10 in Australia (No. 8), New Zealand (8) and Norway (9).” That’s in addition to reaching the top 5 in the US — within 48 hours of its release.
Dale Jr. likewise re-tweeted the following: “NASCAR: Full Speed’ debuted on
Netflix Top 10 most-watched list at No. 3 in Canada; No. 5 in the U.S.; No. 6 in Ireland, Latvia and Switzerland; No. 7 in Portugal and Croatia; No. 8 in Belgium and Estonia; No. 9 in the U.K.; and No. 10 in South Africa ”
It’s too soon to say if NASCAR: Full Speed will prove to be a crossover success for NASCAR — garnering steady viewers outside it’s traditional base. Ratings for the series, however, certainly suggest there is potential for NASCAR beyond its traditional market. Which poses an interesting question: Can NASCAR stay both uniquely American while growing viewership and “pop culture pull” around the world? That’s to be seen, but NASCAR: Full Speed is certainly doing its part.
This Redditor said it best: “The production value is stellar, the soundtrack is great, the interviews and looks into the driver’s lives is done so well. Best of all, the whole thing is modern, stylish, and doesn’t paint the sport with a broad brush. It’s great for newbies, helpful for old fans who want to get back into it, and filled with things that long time fans haven’t ever seen. If you like the sport, it is a must watch. The more stuff we get like this, the better off our sport will be.”
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