Conventional sports may be out of the picture for the time being due to the coronavirus pandemic, but esports betting in the USA are hitting new heights after eNASCAR broke viewership records on Sunday.
MBM Motorsports driver Timmy Hill—who drives the No. 66 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Cup Series—won the Texas Motor Speedway round of the iRacing Pro Invitation Series.
The event drew an astonishing total of 1.33 million American viewers to break the record as “the most-viewed esports event in U.S. linear TV history,” per Tom Daniels of InsiderSport.com.
The latest leg of the esports competition was broadcast over FOX and FS1 in place of the regular NASCAR schedule, just one of the sports to be suspended for the time being because of COVID-19.
The record was already broken by the iRacing Pro Invitational Series after the previous leg in the Homestead-Miami race attracted 903,000 viewers (though that event was broadcast on FS1 only).
A number of NASCAR Cup Series drivers are participating in the esports equivalent while the regular competition is on hold.
According to Daniels’ report, NASCAR is considering the idea of distributing its esports product internationally following its record-breaking success in the U.S..
What was initially a convenient alternative to the regular schedule has proved to be a major hit with esports and regular NASCAR fans alike.