Ratings Roundup: TBS Wild Card Game Up Slightly Over Last Year; NBC Sees Record Starts to NHL, Premier League Seasons

Compiled by Jason Dachman, Managing Editor, Sports Video Group

TBS’ coverage of the 2013 MLB Wild Card – Cincinnati at Pittsburgh on Tuesday and Tampa Bay at Cleveland on Wednesday – averaged 4.7 million total viewers, an increase of 2% compared with an average of 4.6 million total viewers for the corresponding games in 2012. Based on Nielsen Fast Nationals, this year’s 3.0 U.S. HH rating is even with last year. The MLB Wild Card telecasts propelled TBS to rank first among all cable networks in primetime both nights.

Locally, Pittsburgh delivered a 33.7 DMA HH rating, the highest-rated MLB game ever on record in the market. Cleveland generated a 25.2 HH rating, the highest rating for an MLB game in the market since Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS against Boston. Cincinnati ranked second overall among the 56 metered markets for the Reds/Pirates telecast with a 16.6 HH rating. Tampa Bay posted a 15.5 HH rating, the highest rating locally since Game 3 of the 2011 MLB Division Series against Texas…

…NBC Sports Group posted record numbers through the first five weeks of its coverage of the Premier League across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, Telemundo, and other platforms. The 27 English-language games on NBC, NBCSN and CNBC drew a total of 9.1 million viewers. Since the Premier League season kicked off last month, NBCSN has posted a 67% increase in average total day viewership. The network’s Premier League telecasts are averaging 391,000 viewers with Sunday’s “Manchester Derby” averaging 852,000 viewers to rank as the second most-watched Premier League match on cable in the U.S…

…NBCSN’s first hockey game of the new season drew a 0.70 rating and 935,000 viewers for the Blackhawks win over the —–, making it the most-watched season opener on cable on record and the second-most watched regular-season game ever on NBCSN. The telecast was up 7% versus NBCSN’s last season opener (in 2011 due to last year’s lockout). Chicago drew a 7.32 rating, the highest ever for a regular-season game in that market on NBCSN, which was also the most-watched cable channel in Chicago during the game…

…ESPN’s coverage of the 2013 Major League Baseball season – 79 games across ESPN and ESPN2 – delivered a 14% ratings increase from last year. ESPN finished with a 0.8 U.S. household rating in 2013, up from a 0.7 in 2012, according to Nielsen. Additionally, ESPN’s audience was up 8%, averaging 1,101,000 viewers (P2+) in 2013 compared to 1,018,000 in 2012.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball saw increases in both rating and viewership compared to 2012. Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN averaged a 1.3 U.S. household rating, up eight percent from a 1.2 rating in 2012, according to Nielsen. Additionally, Sunday Night Baseball averaged 1,896,000 viewers (P2+), which is up six percent compared to 1,784,000 in 2012…

…Fox Sports San Diego announced today that their ratings were 30% higher than they were last season. In 2012, San Diego Padres games on FOX Sports San Diego finished with an overall average rating of 1.86. The 2013 average finished at a 2.42, up 30% from last year and equating to just over 26,000 households per game. The Padres hit a new ratings high on August 4th in a game against the Yankees. FSSD was picked up by AT&T U-verse following last season, bumping up the number of househoulds where it is available…

…NFL telecasts ranked 1-2 in viewership among all television programs during last week’s “premiere week” debuts of network primetime programming. FOX national telecast (mostly Eagles-Broncos) topped the charts for the week (Sept. 23-29) with 26.7 million average viewers followed by Patriots-Falcons on NBC’s Sunday Night Football drawing 20.5 million viewers…

…This week’s Monday Night Football telecast Dolphins-Saints telecast earned an 8.6 US rating, representing an average of 9,945,000 households and 13,717,000 viewers. Coverage peaked from 9:30 -9:45 p.m. ET with a 10.4 US rating. ESPN won the night among all networks – broadcast or cable – in households and all key male and adult demos. In Miami, the game delivered a 13.1 rating on ESPN and a 4.0 on WSFL-CW, for a combined 17.1 rating in the market. In New Orleans, the game delivered a 21.7 rating on ESPN and a 39.3 on WDSU-NBC, for a combined 61.0 rating in the market. Through four weeks (five games), ESPN’s MNF is averaging an 8.8 US rating, 10,201,000 households and 13,985,000 viewers in 2013, virtually even with the same period in 2012…

…Saturday Night Football on ABC – Ohio State over Wisconsin 31-24 – averaged 6,751,000 viewers and a 4.0 household US rating, helping the network to win the night across all networks in viewers and key male and adult demos on September 28. ESPN’s telecast of Alabama beating Ole Miss 25-0 at 6:30 p.m. ET averaged 4,022,000 viewers and a 2.3 HH US rating while Stanford’s 55-17 victory over Washington State at 10 p.m. averaged 1,851,000 viewers and a 1.2 HH US rating – helping ESPN to finish second behind ABC for the night. ESPN2’s coverage of Texas A&M defeating Arkansas 45-33 on September 28 at 7 p.m. averaged 2,761,000 and a 1.7 HH US rating.

ABC, ESPN and ESPNU’s 2013 Saturday night college football games are generating larger audiences than through the same point in 2012. ABC Saturday Night Football is averaging 6,351,000 viewers and a 3.8 HH US rating, increases of 17 percent (vs. 5,439,000) and 13 percent (vs. 3.4), respectively, over 2012. ESPN’s Saturday night is averaging 3,899,000 viewers and a 2.3 HH US rating this season, increases of 33 percent (vs. 2,937,000) and 28 percent (vs. 1.8), respectively. ESPNU’s Saturday game night telecasts are averaging 651,000 viewers and a 0.4 HH US rating, increases of 30 percent in viewers (vs. 502,000) and 33 percent in ratings (vs. 0.3) over last season. In addition, ESPN’s weekly Thursday game is averaging 2,681,000 viewers and a 1.8 HH US rating, increases of 15 percent (vs. 2,339,000) and 13 percent (vs. 1.6), respectively. The network’s overall college football game coverage is averaging 3,104,000 viewers and a 2.0 HH US rating, 16 percent (vs. 2,675,000) and 18 percent (vs. 1.7) higher than 2012 games.