Overall Sports Network Ratings for 2014

Primetime – 2014
Vwr
(000)
18-49
(000)

1

2321

1010

=

+6%

#1

2

469

174

=

-2%

#3

3

385

181

=

-4%

#2

4

340

140

+1

+46%

#5

5

300

142

-1

+8%

#4

6

132

46

=

-6%

#8

7

128

62

+1

+10%

#6

8

123

35

-1

-11%

#10

9

106

44

=

-8%

#9

10

100

49

=

-4%

#7

Total Day – 2014
Vwr
(000)
18-49
(000)

1

1016

505

=

+5%

#1

2

274

127

=

0%

#2

3

164

84

=

+2%

#3

4

148

68

+2

+57%

#4

5

131

52

-1

+10%

#5

6

100

22

-1

-7%

#10

7

71

27

=

+4%

#8

8

62

26

+1

+3%

#9

9

60

33

-1

-8%

#6

10

58

31

=

+5%

#7

This is a little later than I’d hoped because I hoped to get comparable year-to-year measures in overall rank from TVNewser, but their year-end wrap-up only had “preliminary” yearly averages through December 23rd. The Nielsen year always begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, so it was always going to stop short of the calendar year, but it still should have run through the 28th.

ESPN nudged ahead of USA Network to take the top spot in primetime viewership in all of cable for the first time ever. ESPN had some increases in the raw numbers, but the real cause of ESPN’s jump was USA losing a fifth of its audience. Did WWE Raw, USA’s flagship show, fall off a cliff in the ratings? Did USA lose other popular shows from 2013 to 2014? I don’t know.

Last year FS1, spending most of the year as Speed, had the edge over NBCSN in total day but NBCSN had the edge in primetime. This time it’s the reverse: FS1 jumped up in both measures and was the fastest-growing sports network in primetime (coming almost as close to NFL Network as it was to NBCSN) with the addition of the baseball playoffs, but NBCSN shot past not only FS1 but corporate sibling Golf Channel as the fastest growing network in total day thanks to the Winter Olympics, but new records for Premier League and Formula One coverage also helped tremendously. NBATV also jumped ahead of Golf Channel in primetime; NBATV had its most-watched programs ever during the NBA playoffs, but did Golf Channel see some of its primetime shows, like reality show Big Break, slip in the ratings? ESPNU also nudged ahead of ESPNEWS in total day, another milestone in the continuing burial of ESPNEWS.

The 18-49 rankings in primetime see a lot of changes from the overall rankings; NFL Network leaps ahead of ESPN2, FS1 and NBCSN swap places again thanks to FS1’s reliance on old-skewing baseball, and Golf Channel and MLB Network take a tumble while NBATV and ESPNEWS shoot up. By contrast, the 18-49 total-day rankings mostly mirror the overall rankings, except that Golf Channel skews particularly old, with under a quarter of its audience in the money demo. MLB Network and ESPNU also skew old compared to the others, which except for “the insurgents” (NBCSN and FS1) have half or more of their total-day audience coming from 18-49. Most networks seem to skew older in primetime than in total day. (All 18-49 numbers from here.)

Not shown: Fox Sports 2’s ratings, already pathetic, actually slipped by a third in both measures from last year when it was Fuel for most of the year, as what little attractive events it had, mostly UFC cards, moved to FS1. Many of FS2’s most popular shows in 2014 were actually overflow from FS1.

After the jump, charts, based on SportsBusiness Daily’s numbers here and elsewhere, so you can see how all this has changed over time!pt2014px2014 td2014 tx2014

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