Ratings Roundup: Masters Up 26% on CBS; NBA Regular Season Down on TNT and ESPN, Up on RSNs

CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the 2015 Masters on Sunday, April 12 carded ratings and viewership increases of 26%. Sunday’s final-round earned an average fast national household rating/share of 8.7/19, and an average viewership (Persons 2+) of 14.0 million viewers, both up 26% from last year’s 6.9/15 and 11.1 million, respectively. This year’s final-round peaked with a rating/share of 10.6/21 and viewership of 17.7 million from 6:30-7:00 PM, ET.

CBS Sports’ coverage of the 2015 Masters on Saturday, April 11 scored an average fast national HH rating/share of 5.8/14, up 45% from last year’s 4.0/10 and an average viewership of 8.9 million, up 51% from last year’s 5.9 million viewers.  This year’s third-round peaked with a rating/share of 6.3/15 and an average viewership of 10.1 million from 6:30-7:00 PM, ET. (CBS)…

…ESPN’s live telecast of the second round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday, April 10, earned a 2.1 U.S. household rating, averaging 2.952 million viewers (fast nationals). The rating and viewership rose from last year’s second round telecast, which earned a 1.8 rating and averaged 2.465 million viewers. The Thursday telecast was ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed first round coverage in five years, earning a 2.2 rating and averaging 3.218 million viewers. Over the two days of Masters telecasts, ESPN averaged a 2.2 U.S. household rating and 3.081 million viewers, both up from last year’s averages of a 1.6 rating and 2.235 million viewers.

ESPN’s two-day coverage of the Masters on WatchESPN across platforms reached 201,000 unique viewers that spent 9 million total minutes watching live, up 230% and 146% compared to 2013. Across all ESPN digital platforms, Masters content drew an average minute audience of 16,000 for the two days, up 79%. (ESPN)….

…The 2014-15 NBA Regular season ratings are in via SportsBusiness Journal and the clear theme is national cable TV is down, while RSN’s are up. TNT averaged 1.67 million viewers (down 12% from last year and lowest since ’07-08), ESPN averaged of 1.51 million viewers (down 10% from last year and also lowest since) ’07-08, and NBA TV drew 291,000 average viewers (down 8% from last year and lowest since ’10-11). Meanwhile, viewership for NBA games on ABC were nearly flat, drawing 3.59 million viewers compared to 3.58 million last season.

NBA games on RSN’s experienced a 4% overall growth – tied for second-best on record. The Spurs led the way with an 8.1 local rating on FS Southwest, followed by Lebron James’ Cavaliers on FS Ohio with an 8.0 average rating in Cleveland-Akron (up 172%). The Bucks saw the biggest year-over-year increase with a 324% gain for games on FS Wisconsin followed by Hawks games on SportSouth (+129%). The New York Knicks ratings in N.Y. on MSG Net were down 37%, while Lakers ratings in L.A. on Time Warner Cable SportsNet were down 27%. (SBJ)…

… Comcast SportsNet Chicago also saw big ratings increases for its Bulls coverage this sesason, averaging 4.71 household rating (approx. 163,781 Chicago market households watching per game) for a 56% increase (or 58,419 more households) compared to last season’s 3.03 final average. In addition to its ratings increases for its game telecasts, Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Lite experienced a season-to-season household ratings increase of 24%, while Kia Bulls Postgame Live ratings increased 32%. (CSN Chicago)…

…ABC’s Sunday broadcast of the Cleveland Cavaliers Game 1 victory over the Boston Celtics delivered a 4.5 overnight rating – the third-highest overnight rating for an NBA Playoffs first round Game 1 ever. The 4.5 rating is also up 13% versus the comparable game in 2014 (Miami-Charlotte, 4.0). The game peaked with a 5.3 rating in the fourth quarter. In Cleveland, Game 1 posted a 20.9 rating, which is the fourth-highest rated NBA Playoffs first round game ever in the market. In Boston, the game drew a 7.5 rating, which also ranks fourth-best for an NBA Playoffs first round game in the market.

…Comcast SportsNet Bay Area registered its highest-rated Golden State Warriors telecast in the history of the network – a 7.45 for its coverage of last night’s (April 20) Warriors-New Orleans Pelicans Game 2 in the First Round of the 2015 NBA Western Conference Playoffs.  The telecast averaged approximately 184,528 households (SF DMA – San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose) for the entire game and posted an 8.52 peak rating during the 9:45 p.m. quarter hour (approximately 211,098 households).  The previous rating high was on May 1, 2014 when the network posted a 7.03 household rating for Warriors-Los Angeles Clippers Game 6 in the First Round of the 2014 NBA Western Conference Playoffs. Comcast SportsNet’s Warriors-Pelicans Game 2 telecast out-delivered the national broadcast/local simulcast head-to-head by 24% in total audience.  In addition to the game ratings, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area posted big household ratings for its signature shows Warriors Pregame Live (1.55) and Warriors Postgame Live (4.37). (CSN Bay Area)

…The NY Rangers’ Game 1 win delivered MSG Network with a 3.64 HH Nielsen rating to mark the highest rated Game One of a first round Rangers Playoff Series in 25 years. The matchup against the Penguins was also simulcast on MSG+, to offer a combined rating of 4.54 in households. (Cynopsis Sports)…

…The St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 win in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series with Minnesota was the highest-rated Blues game ever on FOX Sports Midwest. Blues-Wild averaged a 12.4 rating/152,000 households in the St. Louis market, according to Nielsen Media Research. It was the highest-rated TV program of the day in St. Louis. Game 4 peaked at a 15.7 rating/193,000 households. Three of the five most-watched Blues games on FOX Sports Midwest have been played in this series. The previous high rating for a Blues game on FOX Sports Midwest came a year ago, an 11.9 for Game 3 at Chicago in the Blues’ first-round series vs. the Blackhawks (Fox Sports Midwest)…

…NBC’s Manchester Derby coverage on April 12 (Manchester United’s 4-2 victory over Manchester City) averaged 1.1 million viewers to rank as the most-watched Premier League match in U.S. cable television history. Viewership peaked in the 11:15-11:30 a.m. ET quarter-hour with 1.3 million viewers. NBCSN was the most-watched network on cable among Adults 18-49 during the game’s 11 a.m. -1 p.m. ET window. NBCSN’s Premier League Live pre-match coverage from Old Trafford was the network’s most-watched Premier League studio show of extended length (more than 20 minutes), and second-most watched Premier League studio show overall.

To date, NBC Sports Group’s Premier League viewership (average of 486,000 viewers) is up 10% compared to this point last season, and up 19% among Adults 18-49. NBCSN has televised four of the five most-watched Premier League matches in U.S. cable history (chart below)…

…In RSN baseball news, the Royals broke a viewership ratings record on Fox Sports Kansas City for the second time in three games Tuesday night. Tuesday’s game, a 6-5 Royals victory over Minnesota at Kauffman Stadium, averaged a 15.9 rating, according to Nielsen Media Research, topping the 14.6 rating for Sunday’s 4-2 win over Oakland, the 13.6 rating for the Royals’ playoff-clinching win at Chicago last September and the 13.1 rating for Monday’s win over Minnesota. The Royals game on Tuesday was also the most-watched program of the day in Kansas City, according to Nielsen, beating “CSI Cyber” on CBS, 6.9. The peak audience for the Royals game reached 176,000 households during the Royals’ rally in the eighth inning. (Kansas City Star)….

…Through Tuesday, New York Mets games this season on SNY were drawing an average of 253,339 viewers for each game, up by 47% from the same time last season. At YES, Yankees viewership had tumbled by 21%, to 267,000. This marks the first time the Mets are outdrawing the Yankees since SNY launched in 2006 (NYT)…

…FOX Sports Arizona saw Wednesday night’s D-backs/Rangers game on the channel notch a 5.2 rating, making it the sixth consecutive game the D-backs have had a television rating of 5.0 or higher, according to the network. The last time the D-backs achieved a rating of 5.0 or better in six straight games was in 2008. During this run, an average of 96,739 Phoenix households are watching D-backs games on FOX Sports Arizona as part of the team’s strongest ratings start in 10 years. (Cynopsis Sports)…

…FOX Sports’ Garbage Time with Katie Nolan earned more than 756,000 viewers between linear and digital last week – the third time in five weeks the show has attracted total viewership that broke 735,000. Digital alone tallied 225,000 – 49% over the previous week. (Fox Sports)…