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TV ratings strong for IndyCar opener

NEW YORK (AP) - The NBC Sports Network said Tuesday it had strong ratings for its season-opening IndyCar race, with 388,000 viewers who amounted to a 78 percent increase over last year's debut race on the cable channel.

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The race Sunday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla., earned a .26 rating, up 53 percent from last year, when NBCSN's first telecast of the IndyCar season was the second event of the year. Last year, 218,000 people watched the event at Barber Motorsports Park.

The race, won by James Hinchcliffe, was the second-best season-opener for NBCSN since it acquired IndyCar rights in 2009.

NBCSN this year acquired the U.S. rights to Formula One, which gives the channel almost all of open-wheel racing in the country. The initial broadcast of Sunday's race from Malaysia delivered a .09 rating with 121,000 average viewers, but a replay after the IndyCar race earned a .11 rating and had 166,000 average viewers.

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