Ratings Roundup: PGA Championship Down Slightly, Viewers Welcome Back NFL

Despite a dramatic playoff finish, CBS’s coverage of the PGA Championship on Sunday was down slightly from last year. Keegan Bradley’s playoff win over Jason Dufner posted a 4.1 fast-national Nielsen rating and drew 6.11 million viewers for, down 5% and 6%, respectively, from a 4.3 rating and 6.51 million viewers last year…

…The much anticipated return of the NFL got off to a solid start on last Thursday (Aug. 11), as ESPN’s Seahawks-Chargers preseason opener drew 4.390 million viewers, up 18% from the comparable game last year (Panthers-Ravens: 3.729 million). Due to the cancellation of the August 7 Hall of Fame Game, Thursday’s game was the first nationally televised NFL game of the preseason…

…In addition, NFL Network drew a record 737,000 average viewers its Around The League: Preseason 2011 special that featured live look-ins on preseason games. This marks a 767% increase over NFL Network’s programming on the same night a year ago. Meanwhile, NFL Digital Media (NFL.com, NFL Mobile, etc.) drew the highest numbers ever for the first day of the preseason (up 86% over 2010) and NFL.com streamed 138% more video than last year. NFL.com reported more than twice as many subscriptions for Preseason Live as during the entire 2010 preseason…

…NFL preseason games have also fared well locally, as the Redskins’ preseason debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers drew a 16.3 overnight rating in the DC market on on Comcast SportsNet in HD and on WRC, the highest for Skins preseason game in 20 years. according to Nielsen overnight data. The previous high rating for a preseason Skins game was 15.1 for last year’s Ravens game, according to the team.

The Ravens, who debuted on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, also had a strong showing, posting a 20.4 overnight rating and 226,000 households. The Ravens also got a 7.1 rating and approximately 170,000 households in the D.C. market, where the game appeared on WJLA and CSN, both in HD. This means an out-of-market preseason NFL game drew more Washington-area households than virtually any Caps or Nats game in those franchises’ history.

The two franchises will go head to head this week, with both playing their second preseason game on Friday evening.