Ratings Roundup: Yankees-Red Sox Deliver Yet Again

This week’s New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox series is pulling in huge audiences as both YES Network and NESN have notched season highs. Thursday night’s Yankees-Red Sox telecast was the highest-rated (7.70) and most-viewed (733,000 average total viewers) YES telecast in nearly two seasons (the April 4, 2010 Yankees-Red Sox 2010 season opener did a 10.01, translated to 1,085,000 average total viewers).   Last night’s telecast peaked with a 9.28 rating (914,000 average total viewers) from 11:00-11:15 pm ET.

NESN turned in big ratings for Wednesday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game as well, earning a 15.2 household rating (26 share) in the Boston DMA, NESN’s highest game rating of the 2011 season. The two previous season high ratings were also Yankees games (14.0 on Tuesday, August 30 and 13.6 on August 5th). NESN’s 2011 season average household rating has climbed to a 7.9, up 26% over last season after the same number of games (124)…

…Hurricane Irene helped some and hurt other in the ratings game last weekend. NFL Network earned one of its largest ever NFL preseason audiences for Monday’s Jets/Giants game. The rescheduled NFL preseason game between the Jets and Giants earned 1.784 million viewers on NFL Network Monday night, the third-largest preseason audience in network history.Monday’s game was moved from Saturday afternoon due to Hurricane Irene. Six of the ten most-viewed preseason games on NFL network have taken place this year alone.

NASCAR, however, saw a double-digit decline in ratings and viewership first race of the season on ABC. Last Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Irwin Tools Night Race from Bristol (TN) earned a 3.0 final rating and 5.067 million viewers on ABC, down 14% in ratings and 13% in viewership from last year (3.5, 5.842M). Ratings for the race were tied as the lowest since 2000 (2.9, ESPN), while viewership was the lowest since 2008 (4.997M, ESPN). The race was preempted in several local markets due to local news coverage of Hurricane Irene and, in other markets, NFL preseason games. In markets where the game was preempted, the race aired on ESPN or ESPN2. The cable audiences were not included in the final numbers…

ESPN2 had its most viewed WNBA regular season since 2005, averaging 270,000 viewers, up 5% over last year (258,000 viewers). The 12-game schedule delivered a 0.2 household coverage rating. WNBA Playoffs and WNBA Finals coverage begins Thursday, Sept. 15.