Ratings Roundup: CBS, Fox Off to Record-Breaking NFL Starts; Mayweather-Canelo Fight Biggest PPV Ever

The NFL has posted a solid first couple weeks for its rights-holders, headlined by record-breaking starts for both CBS and Fox. NFL telecasts ranked 1-2-3 in viewership among all television programs last week (Sept. 9-15) with the CBS national telecast (led by Broncos-Giants) topping the charts with 26.4 million average viewers, followed by 49ers-Seahawks on NBC’s Sunday Night Football (20.5 million) and ESPN’s Week 1 Monday Night Football opener (Eagles-Redskins, 16.5 million).

The NFL on FOX posted 12.8/27 household rating/share and 21.9 million viewers for a Week 2 single header (led by Redskins and Packers),  up 7% over last year’s NFL on FOX single header (12.0/26, 19.9 million) and marking the second week in a row in which the NFL on FOX has posted a gain over the previous year.  Season-to-date, the NFL on FOX is averaging a 12.8/26 and 21.8 million viewers, up 8% over last year’s 11.8/24 and 19.6 million viewers, and ranking as the NFL on FOX’s best start ever. IN addition, the FOX NFL SUNDAY pregame show is averaging a 3.3/9 and 5.1 million viewers, up 6% over last year’s 3.1/8 and 4.7 million viewers…

Meanwhile, CBS Sports’ Week 2 national NFL doubleheader coverage on Sunday, highlighted by the “Manning Bowl III” (Denver vs. New York Giants), earned an overnight household rating/share of 17.8/34, up 24% from last year’s 14.4/28 (N.Y. Jets-Pittsburgh, Tennessee-San Diego). The 17.8/34 is the highest-rated debut in the metered markets for the CBS National game in 15 years, since the Network re-acquired NFL broadcast rights in 1998.  The 17.8/34 also was the highest-rated NFL game window of the day, including prime time…

…As for ESPN’s Monday Night Football, this week’s Bengals-Steelers game earned a 9.1 US rating and 14,329,000 viewers, winning the night across all networks.  Coverage peaked from 10-10:15 p.m. with a 10.4 US rating. Through two weeks (three games), ESPN’s MNF is averaging an 8.8 US rating, 10,237,000 households and 14,095,000 viewers in 2013, increases of 10 percent, 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively, over the same period in 2012…

..Jets-Patriots on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football kicked off Week 2 and registered NFLN’s best-ever season-opening telecast with 8.8 million viewers, making it Thursday’s most-watched program among all shows on broadcast and cable television…

The Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight on Showtime Pay-Per-View on Saturday earned nearly $150 million, making it the highest-grossing pay-per-view of all time. The fight’s PPV gross topped 2007′s Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather bout, which drew $136 million. Prelim reports show the Mayweather-Canelo fight at roughly 2.2 million PPV buys. The existing records for PPV buys is 2.48 million for the De La Hoya-Mayweather match, though Showtime notes that Saturday night’s fight may break that record, as well. (Variety)…

…The No. 1-Alabama vs. No. 6-Texas A&M college football matchup last Saturday turned out to be even bigger than most imagined as CBS earned a whopping 9.0/21 overnight. Excluding the SEC Championship Game, that marks the network’s highest-rated afternoon regular-season college football game in 23 years (10.1; Miami-Notre Dame; 10/20/1990) and is up 200% from last year’s 3.0/7 for its season opening broadcast (Alabama-Arkansas)…

…Later that night, ABC’s Saturday Night Football (Notre Dame over Purdue 31-24) averaged 4,789,000 viewers and a 3.0 rating, winning the night across all networks. The matchup ABC also averaged 3,164,000 viewers and a 2.0 rating for its Saturday afternoon matchup of Oregon over Tennessee 52-14. In addition to ABC, ESPN averaged 1,917,000 viewers for more than 17 consecutive hours of college football studio and game content on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. ET with the three-hour College GameDay to the last whistle of Wisconsin at Arizona State at 2:10 a.m.

Overall, ABC and ESPN have posted viewership increases over last year for college football game telecasts. ABC is averaging 4,793,000 viewers and a 3.0 rating in 2013 for increases of 10 percent (vs. 4,355,000) and 3 percent (vs. 2.9), respectively, over 2012. ESPN has averaged 3,523,000 viewers and a 2.2 rating this season, marking increases of 23 percent (vs. 2,860,000) and 16 percent (vs. 1.9), respectively, over last season…

…ESPN reports that the 2013 WNBA regular reason on ESPN2 delivered double digital increases in viewership this season, to easily outpace last year’s numbers with a 28% spike (231,000 vs. 180,000). The company’s coverage of the 2013 WNBA postseason, including the Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals, Conference Finals and presentation of the WNBA Finals starts Thursday at 8p on ESPN2. (Cynopsis Sports)