According to a report, NASCAR is planning to televise more iRacing in 2021. iRacing events will take weekend TV slots where real-life practice or qualifying would typically take place, since NASCAR is planning many one-day shows in 2021.
When COVID-19 shut the sport down in March, NASCAR turned to iRacing to fill TV slots with racing content. NASCAR and iRacing began the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, featuring some of the best stock drivers in the world. The series raced at the tracks that were scheduled in real life, with the finale taking place at the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway.
The seven events on the schedule featured three William Byron victories, two Denny Hamlin victories, and victories from both Alex Bowman and Timmy Hill.
FOX and FS1 televised the races with their normal crew of Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Larry McReynolds, while Clint Bowyer provided in-race commentary.
In addition to the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series, FOX and NBC networks aired additional iRacing events throughout the pandemic shut-down.
The iRacing events had the highest TV ratings in eSports history, and did a good job of keeping race fans engaged during a long and boring shut-down.
But now that real-life racing has returned, it’ll be interesting to see how much success iRacing has on linear television. Fans will still have all three major NASCAR series to watch during the weekend, so iRacing events will likely take a major hit in ratings. However, if it fills dead air and makes some type of money, NASCAR and TV networks will likely call that a win.