Ratings Roundup: Zenyatta’s Failed Quest Delivers Highest Breeders’ Cup Cable Rating Ever

Zenyatta’s bid to become the first elite-level horse ever to go 20-0 came up short, but it delivered the highest Breeders’ Cup Classic cable rating ever. ESPN’s 2.9 rating for the final race of the Breeders’ Cup day was up from a 1.1 in 2009, an increase of 168%.  ESPN’s overall Saturday afternoon coverage logged a 2.2 rating, a 144% increase over 2009 (0.9).

If the first two weeks are any indication, the NBA is in store for a big ratings boost this season. Through eight games, ESPN has averaged a 1.6 U.S. rating and 2.471 million viewers for NBA coverage, up 60% in ratings and 66% in viewership from the year (1.0, 1.491 million). Through six games, NBA telecasts on TNT have averaged a 2.0 U.S. rating and 3.150 million viewers, up 25% in ratings and 33% in viewership from last year (1.6, 2.370 mil).

The NFL on CBS’s Week 9 broadcast highlighted by the Indianapolis-Philadelphia game in its national window of the network’s doubleheader averaged 27.789 million viewers, the sixth-largest audience for a regular-season NFL on CBS game since the network re-acquired NFL broadcast rights in 1998. The Eagles’ 26-24 win over the Colts earned a preliminary national household rating/share of 16.3/29, up 38% from last year’s 11.8/22.

ESPN’s Monday Night Football game between the Steelers and Bengals drew a 9.2 U.S. rating and 15.016 million viewers, down 7% in ratings and 6% in viewership from Week 9 last year (Pittsburgh-Denver: 9.9, 16.002 million). Through Week 9, ESPN has averaged a 9.2 U.S. rating and 14.665 million viewers for Monday Night Football, up 1% in ratings and viewership from last year (9.1, 14.573 million).

CBS Sports’ coverage of the SEC on CBS through the first eight weeks of the season is averaging a national household rating/share of 4.0/9, even with last year. It is currently the highest-rated college-football package on television.