NBC’s first-ever broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 showed an 11% ratings increase over last season according to NBC, Nielsen and Abode Analytics.

Sunday’s race averaged a combined 5.446 million viewers watching on NBC and online via NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. The audience peaked at 6.7 million for the final 15 minutes when Simon Pagenaud used a late pass to defeat Alexander Rossi.

The broadcast-only average of 5.414 million viewers makes it the most-watched Indianapolis 500 in three years. NBC took over the broadcast rights this year from ABC, the network that had aired the race for 54 years.

Simon Pagenaud, of France, winner of the 2019 Indianapolis 500 auto race, poses with his dog Norman during the traditional winners photo session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Simon Pagenaud, of France, winner of the 2019 Indianapolis 500 auto race, poses with his dog Norman during the traditional winners photo session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

It was also NBC’s most-watched Sunday afternoon sports event since the NFL wild-card game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears on Jan. 6, which averaged 36.0 million.

Simon Pagenaud, of France, winner of the 2019 Indianapolis 500 auto race, poses during the traditional winners photo session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Simon Pagenaud, of France, winner of the 2019 Indianapolis 500 auto race, poses during the traditional winners photo session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Monday, May 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)