Category Archives: Sports TV Ratings

2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Ratings Roundup

Here are US ratings for all but two games of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. NHL Network is not rated by Nielsen, so numbers are not available for Avalanche-Wild Game 3 or Lightning-Canadiens Game 4.

There are a number of oddities on this list. At 4.1 million viewers, the finish of the Western Conference Final between the Kings and Blackhawks, airing on NBCSN on a Sunday night, beat both of NBCSN’s Stanley Cup Final games, and wasn’t beaten by Game 1 of the Final by very much (with Game 2’s ratings inflated by having the Belmont Stakes as a lead-in). That was the only non-Final game with more than 2.8 million viewers, broadcast or cable, and only two non-Final games on NBC beat NBCSN’s next-best non-Final game. NBCSN also had the most-watched non-Final game, broadcast or cable, not to involve the Blackhawks: Canadiens-Bruins Game 7. Is this a good sign for NBCSN, or a bad sign for the NHL?

CNBC had the nine least-watched games not on NHL Network, but thanks to inheriting the Blackhawks-Wild second-round series had three games with over a million viewers. Other than those three games, no other CNBC game had over half a million viewers.

Household ratings for games on NBCSN and CNBC through May 11 from Son of the Bronx, from May 12 and later and all NBC numbers from SportsBusiness Daily and Sports Media Watch. 18-49 numbers, when available, from TVbytheNumbers and The Futon Critic. Read More »

2013-14 NBA Ratings Roundup, Part III: Playoff Games

Here are ratings for all 89 games of the 2014 playoffs on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, and NBATV, organized by most watched.

Was the bloom already coming off the rose of LeBron James’ Miami Heat? Every game of the Eastern Conference Finals beat all but one game of the Western Finals – but that one game, West Finals Game 6, was the most-watched game before the NBA Finals, and the most-watched game before the conference finals was Mavericks-Spurs Game 7. The four most-watched games on cable before the conference finals (and six of the top seven overall) all involved the Clippers as a result of the controversy surrounding Donald Sterling, with the most-watched pre-conference final game on cable not involving the Clippers being Grizzlies-Thunder Game 7, not any game involving the Heat.

Cable household ratings through May 11 from Son of the Bronx; household ratings from May 12 and later and all ABC daytime numbers from SportsBusiness Daily and Sports Media Watch. 18-49 numbers, when available, from TVbytheNumbers and The Futon Critic. Read More »

2013-14 NBA Ratings Roundup, Part II: NBATV Regular Season Games

Continuing from this post, here are ratings for every game on NBATV last season. In part because we’re so far removed from it, I didn’t bother trying to find out what games were on in each spot, except for the top few games so that you know that the only games with over 700,000 viewers involved the Heat when they still had LeBron James.

All numbers from Son of the Bronx. 18-49 ratings, when available, from TVbytheNumbers or The Futon Critic. Read More »

How should I report sports TV ratings going forward?

It’s been hard for me to get my mind off of the Sports TV Ratings site since I discovered it last week. Since I raised my concerns about it potentially being shut down by Nielsen, I’ve found out that the site appears to be run by none other than Robert Seidman, co-founder of the TV by the Numbers site, who presumably either has the credentials to avoid being shut down or at least knows how to stay on Nielsen’s good side. But if the site is in it for the long haul, it’s so ridiculously comprehensive that it could completely shake up how I track sports ratings – and affect the necessity for me to do so.

I’ve generally tweeted whatever I’ve found from TVBTN or TV Media Insights (and the Futon Critic before it) each day, and TVMI reported so many more sports numbers than the Futon Critic I ended up putting up a post recapping the weekend, which for the moment got integrated with the Sports Ratings Highlights, but this site blows that system out of the water by giving me access to every single sports event on an English-language all-sports network, pretty close to as soon as the numbers are available. At the very least, if I still wanted to put up daily ratings I’d be putting up blog posts every single day, and that’s not even getting into the possibility of bringing back the Studio Show Scorecard and bringing it to the point I’ve always had in mind for it. But if I were to do that, I’d be leaning so heavily on STVR I can’t help but wonder if my posts would be redundant with its posts. Reorganizing SotB data into a more viewer-friendly format for the first version of the Studio Show Scorecard is one thing, but this would basically be taking STVR posts, one at a time, and shuffling the data around into a new format that might not be much of an improvement over what it already has. Still, just for myself it may be the best way to compile each day’s sports ratings for my own database.

Although doing a full-fledged SSS may not be all that useful in any case. At the bottom of each daily STVR post is a disclaimer that audiences under 100K or so are considered by Nielsen to be a “scratch”, meaning the audience is too small to be all that statistically significant. Considering how widespread audiences of all sizes seem to be reported these days I’m not sure that isn’t Seidman extrapolating from his experiences several years ago, when CNBC would scratch all the time on TVBTN’s own cable news scorecards, to today when Nielsen may or may not still be scratching small audiences, but it makes sense. There are only around 50,000 Nielsen panelists, and each panelist represents around 5,800 people, so a) audiences below 6,000 or so are really just measuring the random fluctuations of people that happen to be dropping in with no more than one or two panelists actually purposely watching the show, and b) in general the thousands place is determined more by those fluctuations than by how many panelists are actually watching, since each panelist that does or does not sit through the whole thing makes a 5-6 thousand person swing in the measured audience, which explains why Sports Media Watch never brings up the thousands place unless I needle him (according to the laws of statistics, the absolute number actually gets less accurate as the audience gets bigger, but slowly).

It’s still somewhat useful as a tiebreaker on the big listings, but until you get to around 22,000 or so there isn’t better than a 95% chance that the three or four panelists watching aren’t the only ones in the entire country watching; a show with an audience of about 5,000 could easily have several times that number and is being measured for less solely through the luck of the Nielsen panelist draw, or conversely an even smaller audience. All that is to set up that the only networks that can consistently attract audiences over 100,000 for their studio shows, or anything other than live sports events, are ESPN, ESPN2, and maybe NFL Network, which is bad news for FS1 and NBCSN, the two networks with the most high-profile studio shows outside the ESPNs but which fall behind multiple sport-specific networks as a matter of course, for whatever those numbers are worth. If I want to report only shows for whom the numbers are actually statistically significant, maybe I should stick to those live sports events, at least for the moment until non-ESPN studio shows can attract a significant audience. (And Douglas Pucci on Awful Announcing may be on to something by just listing weekly averages for studio shows that didn’t crack their networks’ top ten, even if it’s mostly a means to avoid getting shut down by Nielsen again; averages across multiple episodes should be more accurate than just one.)

I have a new Da Blog Poll up to figure out what I should do going forward, which I’m going to run through the end of next week in hopes of catching people coming back from holiday break, but no matter what the utility of every other site I use as a source could be impacted just by bringing STVR into the fold. TV Media Insights is mostly useful for ratings for broadcast networks and the occasional household rating and ratings for Spanish-language networks and other networks not covered by STVR; this last category cuts further enough into TVBTN’s usefulness that it pretty much only becomes useful for daytime events on non-STVR networks. Pucci’s Awful Announcing posts would be useful for household ratings and that’s it, maybe the occasional event on a non-STVR network. Even the weekly averages would only be useful for the yearly comparisons… and even then at some point I could conceivably make those comparisons myself. For that matter, I’m not sure AA would have much use for him once they discovered STVR. The only sources that wouldn’t be appreciably affected would be SportsBusiness Daily and Sports Media Watch for their daytime broadcast ratings, and even though my issues with CBS seem to have been alleviated as the year has gone along, SBD’s continued tendency to drop their posts after holiday-related delays or when Friday is a holiday makes clear that broadcast daytime ratings really are the weak spot when it comes to the reporting of sports ratings, more than ever before.

2013-14 NBA Ratings Roundup, Part I: ABC, ESPN, and TNT Games

With Christmas just behind us, here’s last season’s NBA regular season ratings on ABC, ESPN, and TNT, to kick off what will hopefully be a series of ratings roundups, not just confined to the NBA. This is mostly a copy of this list. As only one NBATV game beat any games on any of these networks, those games will be in a separate chart.

Household ratings from Son of the Bronx for ESPN games and SportsBusiness Daily for ABC games and those TNT games where it is available. 18-49 ratings, when available, from TVbytheNumbers and The Futon Critic. Read More »

Sports TV Scorecard for Friday, December 19

I’m going to say right now that I fully expect SportsTVRatings.com to be shut down or at least be forced to scale back by Nielsen at some point. The About page says that “if you’ve seen this much daily cable sports data posted elsewhere, let us know where – we’ll read that and find another hobby!” Well, there used to be a site nearly as comprehensive as what they have, even though it posted on a weekly and not daily basis – remind me to tell you the story of Son of the Bronx at some point. What may help this site last longer is that it isn’t on a blog-hosting service like Blogger and isn’t giving away their real names, so it might be more difficult for Nielsen to contact them and have much force behind it, but possibly not much so considering they have a link to their e-mail.

This site has viewership (and usually 18-49 data) for every single show on an English-language cable sports network, including beIN Sports which SotB has never covered to the same extent as the others (although it appears to be nearly as devoid of viewers as Fox Sports 2, though its peaks are significantly higher than what FS2 could dream of). It also has the weekly primetime and total day summary numbers for each network, without weekly or yearly comparisons but with 18-49 numbers. Because the data is daily and not weekly, using it to calculate median minute ratings and integrating its 18-49 numbers with SotB/Awful Announcing’s household ratings would be a major pain, and the former problem is exacerbated by Excel not recognizing their tables when creating a web-based data query, and taking forever to select the whole table in IE10 Metro mode.

What I can do is present a proof-of-concept of an idea I had when I first discovered how comprehensive SotB was being, daily scorecards for studio shows and sports events throughout the day similar to what TVNewser does for news networks. This would be even more time-consuming than the Studio Show Scorecards were when I was doing them a year ago, and there are other reasons for me not to want to do this on a regular basis, but I present it as an idea for how the site might be able to avoid the fate of so many sites to face the wrath of Nielsen – even if all it would withhold from publishing are the time periods from noon-3 PM and 3 AM-6 AM ET. Events in bold are live sporting events. Read More »

Sports Ratings Report for Weeks of November 17-30

Primetime – Nov 17-23
Vwrs
(000)

Change

Lst Wk Lst Yr

#1

=

=

3538

+16%

+11%

#2

=

=

1137

-4%

+3%

#3

=

=

465

-44%

-34%

#4

=

+2

351

+65%

+158%

#5

+1

-1

223

+46%

-3%

#6

-1

-1

160

-9%

+8%

#7

=

=

87

-1%

-5%

#8

=

+1

79

+10%

-4%

#9

=

-1

67

+16%

-26%

#10

=

=

45

-8%

-13%

Total Day – Nov 17-23
Vwrs
(000)

Change

Lst Wk Lst Yr

#1

=

=

1192

-3%

-0%

#2

+1

+1

317

+1%

+10%

#3

-1

-1

301

-19%

-11%

#4

=

=

128

-20%

-28%

#5

=

+1

123

+31%

+64%

#6

+1

-1

97

+37%

-12%

#7

-1

+1

73

-13%

+26%

#8

=

-1

62

+5%

-3%

#9

=

-1

58

+12%

0%

#10

=

=

28

-13%

-7%

There’s a very real possibility I may not need SotB’s Awful Announcing posts (which at this point, include everything I already have except for the rankings) to do the weekly network summaries anymore. TVNewser’s “Cable News Ranker” posts include a document with week-by-week, month-by-month, quarter-by-quarter, and (presumably) year-by-year reports of average audience, average number of households watching, and household “coverage” percentage (a number that presumably reflects the audience estimates that have hardly been reported at all all year)… for (almost) every single Nielsen-rated cable network, as well as each network’s rank compared to the others. To see Nielsen include so many numbers I had thought I was the only one interested in, as well as a number I didn’t even dare to think of but is incredibly useful to put the others in context, that can potentially allow me to include networks SotB doesn’t report information for for whatever reason, blew me away. This may be the most felicitous development since I learned about how comprehensive SotB was being on his blog.

Or, it would be… but there’s a problem. No matter what, TVNewser does only one of these posts a week. So every month It puts up the rankings for the entire month just past but skips a week. Okay, I can just use TVNewser for monthly wrapups, but every three months it puts up the quarterly rankings for the three months just past, and skips that month. I’d bet anything that at year’s end it’ll put up the yearly rankings and skip the fourth quarter, but I don’t think these posts even go back that far, which actually surprises me because I’m pretty damn sure I’ve seen the sort of image that leads the post before, even if it didn’t have this comprehensive document. So it’s vaguely useful for a year-end rating roundup, but that’s it, and no matter what I use it for I can’t do the year-on-year comparisons I’m used to for the near future. (I guess I can accept that it would get pretty crowded if at the end of the year you had the rankings for the last week, and for December, and for the fourth quarter, and for the entire year…)

So this is more of a proof of concept than anything else, taking the November ratings, one of the four all year where I can take the month’s ratings and do a comparison to the previous month. Because I still can’t do the median minute ratings without SotB’s comprehensive information, I would probably still split primetime and total day into two tables given the sheer magnitude of information involved. I’m also assuming “ENN” is short for ESPNEWS, but it’s entirely possible it’s just not on the list; Fox Deportes is the only Spanish-language sports network on the list, and not only have I seen plenty of ratings reported for Univision Deportes and ESPN Deportes (and seen UDN on both the TVMI and TVbytheNumbers lists), I’ve actually seen UDN advertise its weekly summary data of this sort, so clearly not all Nielsen-rated networks are on the list (the disclaimer says it “includes only those cable networks who [sic] supply program names to the industry”, whatever that means – for what it’s worth HBO, which often tops the daily lists with shows like Game of Thrones and True Blood, doesn’t show up either, and neither does FXX, but FXM does).

Regardless, the lack of Spanish-language networks means I’m limiting this list to the same bank of networks I always use. Overall rankings are out of 96 networks for primetime and 98 for total day; note that Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are each considered to be two networks for Nielsen purposes for their nighttime adult-oriented Nick@Nite and Adult Swim blocks respectively, and only the latter appear in the primetime ranks. Yes, that means MLBN is very near the bottom in both measures. It could be worse; Fox Sports 2 outpaces only Tr3s, MTV’s Hispanic-oriented network, and the dying corpse of G4. (MLBN and FS2 have VH1 Classic, mun2, and Al Jazeera America between them in some order in both measures.)

PT Ovr Rank
Vwr (000)
LM
Chng
HH
(Cvr)
LM
Chng
TD Ovr Rank
Vwr (000)
LM
Chng
HH
(Cvr)
LM
Chng

1

#1

=

2.4

+19%

1

#1

=

0.9

+12%

=

3881

+21%

2.9

+0.4

=

1376

+14%

1.1

+0.1

2

#13

+13

0.6

+76%

2

#28

+1

0.2

+4%

+1

949

+82%

1.0

+0.5

+1

316

+3%

0.3

=

3

#30

-2

0.3

+7%

3

#38

+10

0.2

+26%

+1

540

+4%

0.4

=

+1

274

+32%

0.3

+0.1

4

#50

-41

0.2

-76%

4

#61

-34

0.1

-63%

-2

276

-76%

0.2

-0.7

-2

124

-63%

0.1

-0.2

5

#64

+15

0.1

+49%

5

#70

+13

0.1

+45%

+2

163

+55%

0.2

+0.1

+5

81

+59%

0.1

=

6

#71

-5

0.1

-4%

6

#72

=

0.1

+3%

-1

132

-10%

0.1

=

=

79

+1%

0.1

=

7

#72

-3

0.1

-3%

7

#74

-10

0.1

+2%

-1

132

+2%

0.1

=

-2

76

unch

0.1

=

8

#79

+4

0.1

+33%

8

#80

=

0.0

+4%

+1

85

+8%

0.1

=

+1

59

+5%

0.1

=

9

#83

+4

0.0

+10%

9

#82

-3

0.0

-4%

+1

69

+15%

0.1

=

-1

55

-5%

0.1

=

10

#90

-8

0.0

-43%

10

#92

-14

0.0

-50%

-2

44

-45%

0.1

=

-3

28

-53%

0.0

-0.1

Read More »

Sports Ratings Report for Week of November 10-16 and Weekend Sports Ratings for November 22-23

Primetime – Nov 10-16
Vwrs
(000)

Change

Lst Wk Lst Yr

#1

=

=

3048

-0%

-12%

#2

=

=

1183

-6%

+23%

#3

=

=

836

+113%

-5%

#4

=

=

213

-11%

-26%

#5

=

+1

176

-11%

+100%

#6

=

-1

153

+47%

0%

#7

+1

=

88

+13%

+6%

#8

-1

+1

72

-15%

+6%

#9

=

-1

58

-17%

-24%

#10

=

=

49

+40%

+36%

Total Day – Nov 10-16
Vwrs
(000)

Change

Lst Wk Lst Yr

#1

=

=

1226

-4%

-11%

#2

+1

=

370

+25%

-6%

#3

-1

=

313

-3%

+18%

#4

=

=

161

-10%

-17%

#5

=

=

94

-45%

-17%

#6

=

+3

84

-2%

+53%

#7

=

-1

71

0%

0%

#8

+1

-1

59

+18%

-5%

#9

-1

-1

52

-15%

-15%

#10

=

=

32

+52%

+45%

This post is a week late because TV Media Insights didn’t have its numbers for last Sunday until today, and TVbytheNumbers never put up Saturday numbers at all, which is okay because TVMI included several college football games from the afternoon. If I had numbers from Sports Media Watch for daytime broadcast games, I’d roll this post into this week. I did incorporate household ratings (and in one case, all the numbers) for cable college football games from the weekly Awful Announcing posts. Numbers for ABC and Fox primetime college football games from the weekend I’m only certain of to the ten thousands place, as TV Media Insights listed all shows on the Big Four networks Saturday with a multiple of ten thousand viewers.

NFL Network seems to be seeing some lasting impact from CBS’ coverage of Thursday Night Football. Both of the NFLN-exclusive games we’ve seen so far improved on the same week last year and Chiefs-Raiders did not, so take this with a grain of salt, but NFLN has seen year-on-year gains in primetime of at least 23% and total day of 18% each of the past two weeks.

Finally, I went with a Top 25 for this week’s month-old ratings in part because I wasn’t quite sure what parts of HBO’s boxing card to include. UniMas actually attracted more viewers than ESPN for the USA-Honduras friendly, surprising for a match involving the US but not Mexico.

Click here to learn more about how to read the charts. Click here to see the charts.

2014 College Basketball Postseason Ratings Roundup

This post is going to be a little more useful than last week’s. Here are ratings for all 67 games of the NCAA Tournament, every game of the NIT on traditional television, and every game or coverage window of the women’s tournament. The top four games of the tournament all involved Kentucky; their Elite 8 and third round games both did better than the other Final Four game, though curiously the much-hyped matchup between Kentucky and Louisville not only did worse than all those games, but another third-round game involving North Carolina. Kentucky was also involved in the most-watched second-round game. Only two NCAA Tournament games not on truTV did worse than the most watched NIT game, the championship game. Meanwhile, the top seven women’s games involved at least one of the two undefeated teams, Connecticut or Notre Dame.

CBS numbers from Sports Media Watch, Turner and ESPN numbers from Son of the Bronx. 18-49 numbers, when available, from TVbytheNumbers and The Futon Critic. Click here to learn more about how to read the charts. Read More »

Sports Ratings Highlights for Week of November 3-9 and Weekend Sports Ratings for November 15-16

Primetime
  Vwrs
(000)

Change

  Lst Wk Lst Yr

#1

=

=

3049

-40%

-14%

#2

=

=

1261

+24%

+33%

#3

=

+1

392

-34%

-30%

#4

=

-1

239

-16%

-62%

#5

=

=

197

+79%

+16%

#6

+1

=

104

+28%

-3%

#7

-1

+2

85

-11%

+8%

#8

+1

=

78

+32%

-18%

#9

-1

-2

70

+17%

-33%

#10

=

=

35

0%

+30%

Total Day
  Vwrs
(000)

Change

  Lst Wk Lst Yr

#1

=

=

1280

-25%

-11%

#2

+1

+1

323

+12%

+18%

#3

-1

-1

297

-10%

-12%

#4

+1

+1

178

+58%

+20%

#5

-1

-1

171

+41%

+8%

#6

+1

=

86

+30%

+18%

#7

-1

=

71

-7%

0%

#8

+1

-1

61

+11%

-14%

#9

-1

=

50

-14%

-22%

#10

=

=

21

-32%

0%

I don’t know if I’m going to extend the most-viewed sports events list that incorporates SportsBusiness Daily information to a full top 50 like I did this week. I was doing top 10s before, and honestly I strongly suspect I’m missing Spanish-language numbers for another Mexico friendly, but I wanted to stretch my legs this week with SBD reporting a full bank of information. I may still try to incorporate everything with over a million viewers, and a few things with less, in future weeks when SBD cooperates, but things will be very much played by ear. A lot depends on what I feel I can do in the future without running afoul of the powers that be, as I’d like to be able not to have to wait for the paywall at some point in the future.

The late NFL doubleheader didn’t have very much overrun into primetime and ended up not being reported by TV Media Insights, so I only know the viewership figures reported by TVbytheNumbers to the ten thousands place and they may not be entirely accurate. Also, some information about the live Bellator card I needed to find a Spike press release for in order to have numbers for the full card.

Oh, and of course the titles I added to the charts on the sides mean I have even more space I need to fill in this area…

Click here to learn more about how to read the charts. Click here to see the charts.