Sports Ratings Report for Week of May 20-26

Sports Ratings Highlights for Week of May 20-26: Indianapolis 500 Edition

Numbers for the Indy 500 are currently based on fast-national data; I doubt there was much if any change from the fast-national to the final rating, but be ready for the final numbers to be different in a month.

Numbers compiled from a variety of sources, including TV by the Numbers, The Futon Critic, Sports Media Watch, and Son of the Bronx.

Vwr (mil)

HH

18-49

Net

NBA Eastern Conference Finals:
Pacers @ Heat, Game 1

8.245

3.6

TNT

NBA Eastern Conference Finals:
Heat @ Pacers, Game 3

7.279

3.1

TNT

NASCAR: Coca-Cola 600

7.13

1.9

FOX

NBA Eastern Conference Finals:
Pacers @ Heat, Game 2

6.975

3.0

TNT

Indianapolis 500*

5.7

3.7

ABC

NBA Western Conference Finals:
Spurs @ Grizzlies, Game 3

4.941

3.1

1.9

ESPN

NBA Western Conference Finals:
Grizzlies @ Spurs, Game 2

4.62

3.1

1.9

ESPN

NBA Draft Lottery

2.895

1.9

1.2

ESPN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, West Semifinals:
Red Wings @ Blackhawks, Game 5

2.852

1.6

NBC

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:
Rangers @ Bruins, Game 5

1.868

1.0

NBCSN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, West Semifinals:
Blackhawks @ Red Wings, Game 4

1.756

1.1

0.7

NBCSN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:
Bruins @ Rangers, Game 3

1.752

1.1

0.8

NBCSN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, West Semifinals:
Blackhawks @ Red Wings, Game 3

1.631

1.0

0.7

NBCSN

Formula One: Monaco Grand Prix

1.456

1.0

NBC

UEFA Champions League Final:
Bayern Munich v. Borussia Dortmund

1.4

0.9

FOX

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:
Bruins @ Rangers, Game 4

1.365

0.7

0.6

CNBC

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:
Senators @ Penguins, Game 5

1.307

0.7

0.5

NBCSN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:
Penguins @ Senators, Game 4

1.228

0.7

0.5

NBCSN

Read moreSports Ratings Report for Week of May 20-26

Sports Ratings Report for Week of May 13-19

Sports Ratings Highlights for Week of May 13-19: Preakness Stakes Edition

Numbers compiled from a variety of sources, including TV by the Numbers, The Futon Critic, Sports Media Watch, and Son of the Bronx.

Vwr (mil)

HH

18-49

Net

Preakness Stakes

9.7

5.9

NBC

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Bulls @ Heat, Game 5

5.474

3.6

2.3

TNT

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Warriors @ Spurs, Game 5

5.339

3.5

2.4

TNT

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Grizzlies @ Thunder, Game 5

5.269

3.6

2.4

TNT

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Thunder @ Grizzlies, Game 4

5.041

3.4

2.2

TNT

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Knicks @ Pacers, Game 6

4.948

3.0

2.0

ESPN

NBA Western Conference Finals:
Grizzlies @ Spurs, Game 1

4.9

3.1

ABC

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Heat @ Bulls, Game 4

4.873

3.2

2.1

TNT

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Pacers @ Knicks, Game 5

4.59

3.1

1.9

TNT

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Knicks @ Pacers, Game 4

4.05

2.8

1.7

TNT

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Spurs @ Warriors, Game 6

3.788

2.6

1.7

ESPN

NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race

3.679

2.3

SPEED

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:
Rangers @ Bruins, Game 2

2.4

1.4

NBC

Stanley Cup Playoffs, West Semifinals:
Red Wings @ Blackhawks, Game 2

1.7

1.1

NBC

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:
Rangers @ Bruins, Game 1

1.635

1.0

0.8

NBCSN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, West Semifinals:
Red Wings @ Blackhawks, Game 1

1.447

0.9

0.7

NBCSN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:

Penguins @ Senators, Game 3

1.401

0.8

0.6

NBCSN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:
Senators @ Penguins, Game 1

1.076

0.7

0.4

NBCSN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, East Semifinals:
Senators @ Penguins, Game 2

1

0.6

0.4

NBCSN

Stanley Cup Playoffs, West Semifinals:
Sharks @ Kings, Game 2

0.805

0.5

0.4

NBCSN

Read moreSports Ratings Report for Week of May 13-19

Sports Ratings Report for Week of May 6-12

Sports Ratings Highlights for Week of May 6-12: THE PLAYERS Championship Edition

Numbers compiled from a variety of sources, including TV by the Numbers, The Futon Critic, Sports Media Watch, and Son of the Bronx.

Vwr (mil)

HH

18-49

Net

THE PLAYERS Championship:
Final Round

7.6

5.0

NBC

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Heat @ Bulls, Game 3

6.615

4.2

2.8

ESPN

NASCAR: Southern 500

5.9

3.8

FOX

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Knicks @ Pacers, Game 3

5.3

3.5

ABC

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Spurs @ Warriors, Game 4

5.3

3.4

ABC

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Bulls @ Heat, Game 1

5.537

2.4

TNT

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Warriors @ Spurs, Game 1

5.457

2.5

TNT

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Spurs @ Warriors, Game 3

5.437

3.6

2.4

ESPN

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Warriors @ Spurs, Game 2

5.314

2.4

TNT

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Bulls @ Heat, Game 2

5.286

2.3

TNT

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Grizzlies @ Thunder, Game 2

4.752

2.1

TNT

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Pacers @ Knicks, Game 2

3.743

1.6

TNT

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Thunder @ Grizzlies, Game 3

3.373

2.3

ESPN

Read moreSports Ratings Report for Week of May 6-12

Sports Ratings Report for Week of April 29-May 5

Sports Ratings Highlights for Week of April 29-May 5: Kentucky Derby Edition

Leaving out the “time” column for this one, because I don’t know the exact time that’s considered the “race portion” of the Kentucky Derby. The 5.99 million viewers for Pacers/Knicks is an estimate based on Sports Media Watch’s description. All the NHL games on cable had fewer viewers than Pacers-Hawks Game 6.

Numbers compiled from a variety of sources, including TV by the Numbers, The Futon Critic, Sports Media Watch, and Son of the Bronx.

Vwr (mil)

HH

18-49

Net

Kentucky Derby

16.2

9.7

NBC

NASCAR: Aaron’s 499

7.3

4.6

FOX

NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals:
Pacers @ Knicks, Game 1

5.99

3.9

ABC

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Rockets @ Thunder, Game 5

4.498

2.1

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Bulls @ Nets, Game 7

4.436

1.8

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Nuggets @ Warriors, Game 6

4.361

2.0

TNT

NBA Western Conference Semifinals:
Grizzlies @ Thunder, Game 1

4.3

3.0

ABC

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Nets @ Bulls, Game 6

4.12

1.7

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Thunder @ Rockets, Game 6

4.035

2.6

1.8

ESPN

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Thunder @ Rockets, Game 4

3.802

1.8

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Knicks @ Celtics, Game 6

3.549

2.3

1.5

ESPN

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Celtics @ Knicks, Game 5

3.462

1.5

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Grizzlies @ Clippers, Game 5

3.149

1.4

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Warriors @ Nuggets, Game 5

2.964

1.2

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Bulls @ Nets, Game 5

2.63

1.1

TNT

Stanley Cup Playoffs, First Round:
Blackhawks @ Wild, Game 3

1.8

1.2

NBC

Stanley Cup Playoffs, First Round:
Penguins @ Islanders, Game 3

1.7

1.1

NBC

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Clippers @ Grizzlies, Game 6

1.55

1.0

0.7

ESPN2

Stanley Cup Playoffs, First Round:
Rangers @ Capitals, Game 2

1.2

0.9

NBC

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Pacers @ Hawks, Game 6

0.644

0.4

0.2

ESPN2

Read moreSports Ratings Report for Week of April 29-May 5

Sports Ratings Report for Week of April 22-28

Sports Ratings Highlights for Week of April 22-28: NFL Draft Edition

More evidence of the dominance of the NFL: the first round of the NFL Draft was seen by 7.7 million people across ESPN and NFL Network and drew a 3.6 18-49 rating. Only one show on broadcast drew more 18-49 viewers on Thursday: The Big Bang Theory. It did better than the Syracuse/Marquette Elite Eight game, all but one Sweet 16 game, and all but two or three games from the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend, and the only better audiences ESPN has attracted for event programming so far this calendar year have been for college bowl games. The NFL Draft, which once puzzled Pete Roselle why ESPN would even want to televise it, wouldn’t be out of place on a broadcast network. Even Friday’s second-round coverage attracted more viewers than all but one game of the NBA Playoffs on cable for the week, and its 1.6 18-49 rating beat all but two shows on broadcast – though it may have been boosted by the likes of Geno Smith, Manti Te’o, and Matt Barkley still being on the board. And late-round coverage on Saturday did better than an NBA Playoff game later in the night, and they couldn’t all be watching to see the first two days rehashed ad nauseam. (Note: For Friday and Saturday, I took a weighted average of coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 before adding the NFLN numbers.)

Numbers compiled from a variety of sources, including TV by the Numbers, The Futon Critic, Sports Media Watch, and Son of the Bronx.

Vwr (mil)

HH

18-49

Time

Net

NFL Draft: Round 1 (combined)

7.721

5.0

3.6

4/25 8:00 PM

ESPN+
NFLN

NASCAR: Toyota Owners 400

6.1

3.7

4/27 7:30 PM

FOX

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Heat @ Bucks, Game 4

6

3.8

4/28 3:30 PM

ABC

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Knicks @ Celtics, Game 4

4.9

3.3

4/28 1:00 PM

ABC

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Lakers @ Spurs, Game 2

4.32

2.0

4/24 9:52 PM

TNT

NFL Draft: Rounds 2-3 (combined)

3.7

2.6

1.6

4/26 6:30 PM

ESPN/2
+NFLN

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Spurs @ Lakers, Game 4

3.513

1.5

4/28 7:09 PM

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Celtics @ Knicks, Game 2

3.377

1.4

4/23 8:09 PM

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Thunder @ Rockets, Game 3

3.257

2.1

1.4

4/27 9:49 PM

ESPN

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Nuggets @ Warriors, Game 4

3.196

1.4

4/28 9:35 PM

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Grizzlies @ Clippers, Game 2

3.102

1.5

4/22 10:46 PM

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Rockets @ Thunder, Game 2

3.055

1.3

4/24 7:09 PM

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Bulls @ Nets, Game 2

2.988

1.3

4/22 8:09 PM

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Knicks @ Celtics, Game 3

2.891

1.9

1.3

4/26 8:00 PM

ESPN

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Spurs @ Lakers, Game 3

2.881

2.0

1.3

4/26 10:40 PM

ESPN

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Warriors @ Nuggets, Game 2

2.869

1.4

4/23 10:46 PM

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Clippers @ Grizzlies, Game 3

2.574

1.2

4/25 9:46 PM

TNT

NFL Draft: Rounds 4-7 (combined)

2.221

1.5

4/27 12:00 PM

ESPN/2
+NFLN

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Heat @ Bucks, Game 3

2.127

0.8

4/25 7:09 PM

TNT

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Pacers @ Hawks, Game 3

1.966

1.3

0.8

4/27 6:59 PM

ESPN

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Nuggets @ Warriors, Game 3

1.392

1.0

1.3

4/26 10:30 PM

ESPN2

UFC 159 Prelims

1.382

0.8

4/27 8:00 PM

FX

30 for 30: Elway to Marino

1.059

0.7

0.6

4/23 8:00 PM

ESPN

NBA Playoffs, First Round:
Bucks @ Heat, Game 2

0.764

0.5

4/23 7:30 PM

NBATV

Click More for the top 20 most viewed events for the last week of March, plus the top 25 most viewed events for the first quarter of the year.

Read moreSports Ratings Report for Week of April 22-28

State of the Sports TV Ratings Landscape

I didn’t realize until recently that Son of the Bronx has been putting up ratings for every single program on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, NBCSN, Golf Channel, and the networks for the three undisputed major sports. Here’s hoping he’ll have Fox Sports 1 numbers by the time that network re-launches in August, because if so it’ll become possible (even if only after the fact) to run a sports version of the daily scoreboards here.

Of course, when I tried to do my own version the time required to create it quickly spun out of hand. Still, let’s see what we can learn from the ratings for a sample week, April 15-21 (admittedly, possibly a bad week due to the Boston Marathon bombings screwing up the schedule on Monday and the X Games on Friday, and because I just skimmed the tables a lot of this analysis is pretty haphazard). Here are the ratings for the ESPNs, and here are the others:

  • About six months ago, Awful Announcing ran a post warning of the challenge viewer “gravitation” to ESPN posed for any potential competitor, and while I was skeptical at the time (since the occasion was people failing to find the baseball playoffs on TBS, which had more to do with no one knowing their shitty Sunday afternoon package even exists), it’s hard to dispute after looking at the numbers. During college basketball season, it’s rare for even a single game on ESPN2 to beat a single game, certainly two, on ESPN; it seems like anything that gets put on ESPN gets good ratings by default. Indeed, in general the highest rated programs on ESPN2 get beat by all but the lowest-rated programs on ESPN; even a late-night re-air of an NBA game beat every single non-NHRA program on ESPN2, and it was the lowest-rated re-air of any kind I could find. And ESPN2’s distribution is actually only marginally worse than regular ESPN, and it typically beats all of the others fairly handily on its own.
  • As such, I think a lot of the hand-wringing over First Take is overblown. Yes, it’s ESPN2’s highest-rated studio show, and yes, there have been times when it’s beaten SportsCenter on ESPN (including Tuesday of this week)… but SportsCenter ratings seem to drop substantially when it goes from re-airs of the previous day’s show to new live editions, which makes me wonder if that has anything to do with the alleged “First Take-ization” of SportsCenter. Moreover, at least when I looked during college basketball season, the entire ESPN2 schedule seemed to undergo wild fluctuations where the order of shows remained the same from day-to-day but their exact numbers varied wildly. When they had the half-hour edition of First Take later in the day on regular ESPN, it was quite possibly the lowest point on the entire ESPN schedule, maybe even dragging down Outside the Lines with it. Maybe First Take is popular because it’s just different from the standard-issue SportsCenter on at the same time and it’s on later than Mike and Mike so more people are up for it.
  • DLHQ is quite possibly doing worse than any other ESPN2 studio show, while Numbers Never Lie did better than Mike and Mike at one point in the week. That’s just depressing. Most of what ESPN2 puts on at 3 ET does better than DLHQ at 3:30, as does SportsNation after, so I have a feeling Dan LeBatard’s long-term prospects are Highly Questionable.
  • I got the sense that college basketball games on NBCSN, in general, did worse than ESPNU games, though that might have something to do with the lack of major conferences on the former, but that once the NHL started NBCSN does better top to bottom than ESPNU, with hockey usually but not always beating basketball. Generally, the Dan Patrick Show beats the Herd, but DP seems to be more volatile, and some episodes of the Box Score actually beat the actual radio shows airing before them. Outdoor programs continue to be the elephant in the living room for NBCSN; it’s hard to justify weekend editions of the Lights given the numbers, and sometimes it doesn’t even beat the infomercials running immediately before, though 6 AM seems to be more popular than later hours. During college basketball season it seemed like 8 AM was substantially more popular than earlier hours, which may be a combination of Dan Patrick and West Coast viewers tuning in at a time that actually remotely works for them; if the latter, that may be an argument in favor of extending the show backwards to 3 AM, midnight on the West Coast.
  • Even by ESPNU standards, UNITE was doing so horribly during college basketball season that ratings not only dropped substantially when it came on, they rebounded when a game re-air came on immediately afterwards, like people were avoiding it like the plague. Now at least some episodes seem to be doing on par with the Herd, and early-morning re-airs (especially those leading in to the Herd) aren’t beating the original midnight airing.
  • All of MLBN’s games fell between NBATV’s two Monday games. Most of MLBN’s daytime studio shows seem to be doing better than anything on NBCSN or ESPNU, but even in the midst of the offseason NFLN has them both beat. You have to scroll down a pretty good distance to find NFLAM, and it’s still beating almost anything on NBCSN or ESPNU. But Morning Drive on Golf Channel is running pretty close to if not beating NFLAM, and considering the struggles NBCSN has had with any studio programming in prime the success of Golf Channel’s original programming is pretty stunning.

I’m adding a new category, because I might start doing more sports TV ratings posts in the future, given all the information available here and elsewhere.

2008 Year in Review: Sports Ratings Roundup

David Morgan-Mar called me a “webcomics reviewer” this weekend. While webcomics reviews are what I do with my “webcomics” tag, I don’t prefer to brand myself with that brush, and I don’t want to go down the path of an Eric Burns(-White) of becoming primarily known for webcomics while wanting to branch into more fields. So with that in mind, allow me to prove just how wrong Morgan-Mar really is!

Last year – well, really late two years ago – Sports Media Watch had what was, to me, one of the most useful posts of the year, including lists of the top-rated games on cable, the top-rated non-NFL games on cable, and every verifiable sports rating over 5.0.

Sadly, SMW did no such thing this year – especially sad considering the addition of the Olympics to the rating comparison – so I’m going to do so myself. And I’m going to do one better and include every rating over 3.0, and some over 2.0, to ever be recorded by SMW (and some other sources) over the course of the year, AND color-code it for ease of readability. (In so doing I may be risking Nielsen getting all up in my ass about it and needing to downsize this post in the future, based on their behavior with certain others.) I think it’ll be interesting to see the trends. Get ready for a lot of scrolling! Let’s see if I can force a jump and save you people reading Da Blog proper (who could probably care less) some trouble…

Read more2008 Year in Review: Sports Ratings Roundup