Ratings Roundup: ESPN’s EURO 2012 Draws Record English, Spanish Audiences; NBC’s Olympic Trials Generate Buzz for London

Compiled by Jason Dachman, SVG Managing Editor

ESPN saw a dramatic ratings jump for its UEFA EURO 2012 coverage – regardless of the platform or language in which the coverage was carried. Throughout the 31 matches of the three-week tournament, ESPN’s live English-language TV presentation delivered an average of 0.99 million households and 1.3 million viewers – up  51% in households and viewers, respectively, versus 31 matches in 2008 (657,000 households and 859,000 viewers).

Through the tournament, 5.25 million people (P2+) tuned into live coverage of EURO 2012 on ESPN Deportes, a 24% increase from the 4.24 million people in 2008. The 27 live ESPN Deportes, averaged a 4.2 Hispanic household coverage rating, with 220,000 impressions and 324,000 viewers – up 50%, 120% and 138%, respectively, versus 26 live matches in 2008 (2.8, 100,000 households, and 136,000 viewers).

Across computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox on ESPN3 and WatchESPN, EURO 2012 logged 450.5 million total live minutes, up 871% compared to EURO 2008 on computers alone.  Additionally, across all platforms and languages, EURO 2012 on ESPN3 and WatchESPN averaged 289,000 unique viewers per match with an average minute audience of 96,102.

Not surprisingly, ESPN’s coverage peaked with the EURO Final on Sunday, as Spain’s 4-0 blowout of Italy was the most-watched European Football Championship game ver in the U.S.  The match was seen by an average audience of 4.068 million viewers in 2.699 million average television households, based on a 2.4 U.S. household rating – up 8% in viewers (3.761 million), 6% in households (2.552 million) and 4% in ratings (2.3) vs. the previous high (Spain- Germany in EURO 2008 Final on ABC.

ESPN Deportes scores highest-rated, most-watched telecast ever with the EURO Final with a 12.9 Hispanic household coverage rating, 700,000 Hispanic household impressions, and 1.125 million Hispanic viewers – up 28% compared to ESPN Deportes coverage of the UEFA EURO 2008 final (10.1). The final is also the second highest-rated European soccer match ever on a Spanish-language sports cable network.

On ESPN3 and WatchESPN, the final logged an average minute audience of 194,097 and 563,000 unique viewers.  Additionally, fans consumed 30.9 million live minutes to both English and Spanish language feeds across platforms…

…North of the border, 3.04 million viewers watched the EURO Final on TSN and RDS, making it most-watched EURO match ever on Canadian television. With 2.57 million viewers watching on TSN and 469,000 on RDS, the total average audience for the EURO 2012 Final is more than twice the average audience recorded for the EURO 2008 Final (1.3 million on TSN and RDS).

Through the entire tournament, EURO 2012 attracted an average of 862,000 viewers on TSN, TSN2, CTV, RDS and RDS2.  This is more than two times the average audience for EURO 2008 (386,000 on TSN, Sportsnet and RDS)…

…Ratings and viewership for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials are on pace to hit the highest levels since the 1990s. Coverage of the U.S. Olympic Trials on NBC averaged a 3.5 rating and 5.68 million viewers through Sunday, up 30% in ratings and 36% in viewership from 2008 (2.7, 4.17M). This marks the highest average rating for the U.S. Olympic Trials since 1996 (3.8), and the largest average audience since 1992 (5.89M). Primetime telecasts have averaged 6.78 million viewers and a 1.9 rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic, the best since 1996 (8.64M) and 2000 (3.5), respectively.Gymnastics and swimming have been particularly strong…

…ESPN’s Wimbledon coverage posted an 8% increase over its household audience last year through the first six days of marathon telecasts, highlighted by its biggest household audience ever in 10 years, for Saturday’s latest-ever finish at Wimbledon. After six days, ESPN/ESPN2 coverage was up 8% in household impressions to 569,000 homes compared to ESPN2’s telecasts last year (based on a 0.5 US rating both years). ESPN/ESPN2 were even with last year’s ESPN2/NBC rating of 0.5 (US rtg) to date.

On Saturday, the ten-hour, ten-minute ESPN telecast (the third longest Wimbledon telecast ever, behind only an ESPN2 telecast in 2010 and Day One this year) – earned a 0.9 US rating, the best for the “middle Saturday” since 2007 (1.0).  The ESPN coverage rating of 1.0 ties the ESPN Wimbledon record (two previous 1.0 ratings:  ESPN2 on July 4, 2007 for the Ladies’ Quarterfinals, and ESPN on July 4, 200 for a Gentlemen’s Semifinal).

Digital consumption of Wimbledon action on ESPN3 and WatchESPN through six days has soared over the usage a year ago.  Through the first week of Wimbledon, there was a total of 46.6 million live minutes consumed across all platforms (computer, smartphone, tablet and Xbox), up 67% from 2011 through the same point…

…With Tiger Woods front and center, CBS’s Sunday coverage of the AT&T National drew a 4.6 overnight, up 188% from final-round coverage last year, when Woods didn’t play in the tournament. CBS’ coverage Saturday drew a 2.2 overnight, up 69% from last year. Normally, that 4.6 overnight would translate to 4.6% of households in the 56 urban markets measured for overnights…

First and second round coverage of the NBA Draft drew a 1.9 U.S. rating and 2.959 million viewers on ESPN last Thursday, down 10% in ratings and 8% in viewership from last year (2.1, 3.202M), but flat in ratings and up 6% in viewership from 2010 (1.9, 2.789M). Though down from last year, the telecast ranks as the second-most viewed NBA Draft ever on ESPN (ten telecasts dating back to 2003)…

…Golf Channel scored its most-watched June ever, capping the most-watched second quarter in the network’s 17-year history and the sixth consecutive quarter of record growth since becoming part of the NBC Sports Group. Golf Channel averaged 115,000 viewers during June, up 37% over last year and 40% over 2010. The second quarter also averaged 115,000 viewers and topped the past two years by 29% and 34%, respectively. Though June, average viewers (116,000) are up 22% over the same period last year (95,000) and an impressive 51% over 2010 (77,000)…

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Quaker State 400 from Kentucky drew a 2.5 U.S. rating and 3.879 million viewers on TNT Saturday night, down 17% in ratings and 22% in viewership from the inaugural edition of the race last year (3.0, 4.968M). This marks the lowest rated (tie) and least-viewed NASCAR Sprint Cup race on any network since October 2010 (2.4, 3.954M).