Ratings Roundup: Turner’s NASCAR Coverage Up Slightly; USA Basketball Exhibitions Best ESPN’s NBA Regular Season Average

Compiled by Jason Dachman, Managing Editor, SVG

Turner Sports coverage of the NASCAR Summer Series saw a slight increase over last year, a welcome return to form for a property that has seen its ratings slip in recent years. Turner’s coverage averaged a 3.1 U.S. HH rating and 5.1 million viewers over the six-race schedule, up 3% in rating (2.9 U.S. HH rating) and even with last year in viewership For six consecutive weeks, TNT’s NASCAR coverage delivered the highest-rated and most-viewed program of the day on ad-supported cable…

Turner ended on a high note with the Coke Zero 400 on July 7, delivering the most-viewed program of the day across all television among households. TNT’s signature Wide Open coverage of the Coke Zero 400, combined with the first-ever simulcast on truTV, generated a 3.8 U.S. HH rating and 6.2 million total viewers to become the highest-rated and most-viewed Daytona 400 since 2008 (3.8 U.S. HH rating and 6.4 million total viewers)…

…The USA Men’s Basketball team’s run up to the Olympics is drawing bigger numbers for ESPN than the average 2011-12 regular season game on the network (1.86 million). Monday’s United States-Brazil exhibition game drew 2.074 million viewers on ESPN2, up 92% from the second USA exhibition game in 2008, a tape delayed matchup against Turkey (1.082M). This comes after The team’s exhibition against the Dominican Republic on July 12 drew 2.718 million viewers on ESPN, up 142% from the US opener against Canada in 2008 (1.122M)…

Fox’s grand primetime baseball experiment is in the books, with the Red Sox-Yankees finale drawing 2.4 final rating and 3.750 million viewers on July 7, up 20% in ratings and 24% in viewership from afternoon coverage featuring Yankees/Mets last year (2.0, 3.018M). The 2.4 rating is the second-highest of the season for Major League Baseball on FOX, trailing only a 2.6 for primetime coverage featuring Yankees/Mets two weeks earlier.

Although the six lowest rated primetime MLB telecasts on FOX each took place during the eight-week run, the primetime ratings are an improvement over what FOX typically earns for afternoon coverage. The final five telecasts — all of which could be compared to an afternoon window last year — were up double-digits. Seven MLB telecasts on FOX this season have earned at least a 2.0 rating, equaling last year’s full-season total.

ESPN’s ESPY Awards bounced back after a disappointing 2011 edition, drawing 2.415 million viewers on July 11, up 22% from last year (1.984M), but down 8% from 2010 (2.615M). This marks the second-largest audience for a live edition of the ESPY Awards over the past decade (ESPYs aired on tape delay 2004-2008).