Ratings Roundup: ESPN Sees Slight Uptick for MLB Regular Season; Ryder Cup Blowout Tanks on NBC

ESPN’s 25th Major League Baseball season saw an audience increase of 3% compared to 2013, according to Nielsen. An average audience of 1,129,000 viewers (p2+) tuned in to Major League Baseball games across ESPN’s regular prime time game platforms – Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Baseball and Wednesday Night Baseball – this season. This is up from 1,091,000 last year. This season marks the second straight year that ESPN has seen an overall audience increase for Major League Baseball telecasts across its regular prime time windows. 2014 MLB on ESPN viewership is up 9%  from 1,036,000 viewers in 2012. ESPN also saw double-digit increases on Wednesday Night Baseball in 2014, with an average of 664,000 viewers, up 22% from 544,000 in 2013. Additionally, Monday Night Baseball’s average audience of 834,000 is up 2% from 820,000 in 2013…

…The Europeans blowout of the Americans at the Ryder Cup in Scotland last weekend resulted in the lowest overnight ratings in NBC’s two decades covering the event. Sunday coverage of the Ryder Cup drew a 1.8 overnight rating on NBC, down 56% from 2012 (4.1) and down 25% from 2010, the last time the event was held in Europe (2.4). The 1.8 overnight is the lowest for Sunday coverage since NBC began airing the Ryder Cup in 1991, falling below the previous mark set in 2010. NBC earned a 1.7 for Saturday coverage, down 47% from 2012 (3.2) and down 19% from 2010 (2.1). The 1.7 is the lowest for any Ryder Cup telecast on NBC, regardless of day, since the network began airing the event. (SportsMediaWatch)…

…Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium, against the Orioles on Sept. 25, was the most-viewed game telecast ever on the YES Network, averaging 1.25 million viewers in the New York DMA per Nielsen (a 10.84 average TV Household rating).  The game is believed to be the most-viewed game ever on any New York regional sports network. The Orioles-Yankees telecast peaked at 1.99 million viewers from 10:15 to 10:30 pm ET (16.55 average TV Household rating), the most-viewed quarter-hour in YES’ history.  The entire game telecast was the most-viewed program on any single network in the New York DMA last night. The pre-game show averaged 304,000 viewers, the third-most-viewed pre-game show ever on YES (2.97 average TV Household rating).   Last night’s post-game show averaged 400,000 viewers, the fifth-most-viewed Yankees postgame show ever on YES (3.68 average TV Household rating).  The previously most-viewed game telecast on YES was of the Yankees-Red Sox April 3, 2005, game which attracted an average of 1.21 million viewers (an 11.64 average TV Household rating)…

…The Kansas City Royals’ playoff-spot-clinching win Friday was the highest-rated Royals telecast ever on FOX Sports Kansas City. The Royals-White Sox game, a 3-1 win that put Kansas City in the postseason for the first time since 1985, averaged a 13.6 household rating in the Kansas City market, according to Nielsen Media Research. The game peaked at a 17.7 rating/166,000 households in the ninth inning. It was the highest-rated program of the day in Kansas City, and FOX Sports Kansas City’s prime time (7-10 p.m.) rating more than doubled that of second-place KCTV-CBS. In addition, coverage of the clubhouse celebration resulted in the highest rating ever for the Boulevard Royals Live postgame show (7.8 from 10:15 to 11:15 p.m.). (FoxSports.com)…

…CBS and NFL Network’s broadcast of THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL on Thursday, Sept. 25, (N.Y. Giants’ 45-14 victory over Washington) earned an average fast-national household rating/share of 10.2/17, +92% from last year’s 5.3/9, and averaged 16.3 million viewers, +96% from last year’s 8.3 million viewers on NFL Network and over-the-air stations within the two team markets (September 26, 2013: San Francisco-St. Louis). Through three games of the CBS/NFL Network schedule, THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL is averaging a HH rating/share of 10.0/17, +56% compared to last year’s 6.4/11; and 16.1 million viewers, +59% compared to last year’s 10.1 million – on pace to be the highest-rated and most-watched THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL season ever. The household rating/share and viewer average peaked at 11.5/19 and 18.5 million viewers, respectively, from 9:30-10:00 PM, ET. In prime time, CBS and NFL Network’s THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL broadcast gave CBS its most-watched and highest-rated premiere week Thursday since 2007 (SURVIVOR CHINA, CSI, WITHOUT A TRACE)…

…As for NFL overnights from Sunday, CBS’s afternoon singleheader window drew an 8.2 overnight rating, down 13% from last year (9.4) and easily the lowest overnight of the season for the singleheader window. Fox, however, had a big overnight for its NFL national window, featuring Eagles/49ers in 88% of markets, drawing a 16.7 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon — down 10% from coverage featuring Eagles/Broncos last year (18.5) but still the second-highest for any Week 4 NFL telecast since Dolphins/Colts on ABC’s Monday Night Football in 1996 (19.1). Earlier in the day, regional action featuring Packers/Bears in 65% of markets drew a 10.1 overnight — down a tick from coverage featuring Seahawks/Texans last year (10.2). NBC Sunday Night Football saw a slight incrase with the Saints/Cowboys drawing a 13.7 overnight, up a tick from Patriots/Falcons last year (13.6). (SportsMediaWatch)…

…As for the college football on Saturday, regional college football action on ABC earned a 4.0 overnight rating Saturday afternoon, up 111% from regional coverage last year (1.9) and marking the top college football overnight of week five. The game finished well ahead of the second-place 2.8 for Saturday Night Football and the SEC on CBS. (SportsMediaWatch)…

…The season premiere of THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: A CHAMPION WILL BE CROWNED delivered FOX Sports its most-watched fall season premiere ever, and the most-watched on any network since 2009, reaching 2.54 million viewers, including the live premiere and encores on FOX Sports 1, plus encores on the FOX broadcast network and FOX Sports 2, according to Nielsen. The season-opening two-hour special debuted on FOX Sports 1 Wednesday, Sept. 10 (10:00 PM ET), drawing 536,000 viewers.  An encore presentation on Sunday, Sept. 14 on FOX adjacent to NFL on FOX game coverage attracted another 1.735 million viewers.  Additional re-airs on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 added 267,000 to the total through Sunday.  The 2.54 million total viewers for the 2014 fall premiere was up +67% over the 2013 fall premiere of TUF season 18, which reached a total of 1.52 million viewers, and up +113% over the premiere episode of TUF season 19 in the spring of 2014, which delivered 1.19 million viewers. In addition to live plus same day measurements highlighted above, time-shifted viewing for THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER is significant.  The first three days of DVR viewing for the premiere episode on FOX Sports 1 (9/10) adds an additional 295,000 Persons 2+, up from 266,000 viewers in the spring for TUF 19.