Ratings Roundup: NBC’s NASCAR Finale Is Most Watched in a Decade

The 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship on NBC and NBCSN averaged 7.64 million viewers and posted a combined 4.42 national HH rating, marking increases of +46% (vs. 5.22 million) and +41% (vs. 3.14 HH), respectively, over last year’s presentation on ESPN.  The 7.64 million viewers make last night’s event the most-watched NASCAR season finale since NBC presented the championship event in 2005 (9.46 million). Viewing peaked from 7:45P-7:56 p.m. ET with nearly 12.4 million average viewers as Kyle Busch battled Kevin Harvick for the title, ranking as the largest peak audience for NASCAR since the 2015 Daytona 500. Sunday’s race stands as NASCAR’s most-watched Fall race (Sept-Nov) since 2006’s Charlotte race on NBC (7.797 million)

NBCSportsGroupHomestead race finished with 84K uniques and 4.0M live minutes across NBC Sports Live Extra. This was NASCAR’s best-ever race on Live Extra in terms of uniques. Compared to the average of the prior 2015 Sprint Cup races on NBC/NBCSN, uniques were up +126% and live minutes were up +64%…

…Previously undefeated Ronda Rousey’s shocking loss to Holly Holm in FS1 UFC 193 POSTFIGHT SHOW (which was delayed due to a long-running Utah – Arizona college football game) tallied 490,000 viewers making it the most-watched PPV post-fight show ever on the channel.  Interest in the unexpected outcome continued throughout Sunday morning, and including re-airs on FS1, the UFC 193 POSTFIGHT SHOW reached more than 860,000 viewers total (logging an additional 157,000 viewers at 3:30 AM ET; 66,000 at 6:00 AM ET; and 147,000 viewers at 8:00 AM ET). Prior ot the match, The FS1 UFC 193 PREFIGHT SHOW was the second most-watched PPV prefight show in channel history (576,000 viewers) and most-watched among A18-49 (347,000 viewers). The UFC 193 PRELIMS scored 1,394,000 viewers and 885,000 Adults 18-49 to rank as the third most-watched in FS1 history, and peaked from 9:30-9:45pm ET with 1,776,000 viewers…

…ESPN’s coverage of No. 2 Kentucky’s 74-63 win over No. 5 Duke as part of the annual State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 17, averaged 3,120,000 viewers, marking the second most watched Champions Classic game behind the 2013 Michigan State-Duke contest (4,002,000 viewers). The Champions Classic, in its fifth year, annually pits Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State against each other in the neutral-site, early-season men’s doubleheader. The doubleheader – which also included No. 13 Michigan State’s 79-73 victory over No. 4 Kansas from the United Center in Chicago – averaged 2,485,000 viewers. This year’s contests were the culmination of ESPN’s eighth annual Tip-Off Marathon presented by Constant Contact – which saw a 6% viewership increase over 2014 (595,000 vs. 560,000). The Marathon consisted of with 31 hours of continuous game and studio action from Monday, Nov. 16 through Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The Kentucky-Duke game was WatchESPN’s most-watched college basketball game ever, attracting an additional 78,000 average minute impressions to the TV audience, 268,000 total unique viewers and 10,300,000 live minutes viewed – up 39 percent, 22 percent and 12 percent, respectively compared to the previous high (UNC-Duke on Feb. 18, 2015). Overall, the two Champions Classic games attracted 62,000 average minute impressions, up 83 percent compared to last year.

In between the Champions Classic doubleheader, the latest College Football Playoff committee rankings were exclusively unveiled live onsite during College Football Playoff: Top 25. The 30-minute special averaged 3,033,000 viewers and a 1.9 HH rating, garnering the best numbers on record. (14 episodes includes four where College Football Playoff rankings were not unveiled)…

…ESPN/ABC televised the most-watched college football week 11 game and three of the four most-watched games overall, setting the pace across all networks. ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring No. 12 Oklahoma at No. 6 Baylor (8 p.m. ET) averaged 5,884,000 viewers, setting the high-water mark across all networks. Additionally, on WatchESPN, the Sooners-Bears game accumulated 13,200,000 total minutes — the most minutes for any week 11 game – and added 56,000 average minute impressions on top of the TV audience and 292,000 unique viewers.

ABC’s 3:30 p.m. regional action (No. 14 Michigan at Indiana and No. 1 Clemson at Syracuse) averaged 5,175,000 viewers, up 11% from the same window in 2014 (Notre Dame at Arizona State).

Arkansas at No. 9 LSU (7 p.m.), ESPN’s most-watched game of the week, earned 3,638,000 viewers, up 91% from the same window last year (Virginia at Florida State). On WatchESPN, the SEC game had an additional 62,000 impressions on top of the TV audience and 300,000 unique viewers – best in both metrics in Week 11 – totaling 12,200,000 total minutes. That is an increase of 148% in average minute impressions, 73% in unique viewers and 95% in total minutes…

…MLB Network tagged its most-viewed Awards Shows in the four years it has been carrying the end-of-season specials. From 11/9-11/19, the channel carried eight awards shows which combined for an average viewership increase of 37% over last year’s slate. Friday’s first-time airing of the Esurance MLB Awards recorded an average viewership increase of 83% versus the same time period a year ago. All-time highs went to the Cy Young Award (11/18), Manager of the Year (11/17), Silver Slugger (11/12), Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (11/11) and the unveiling of the BBWAA Awards finalists (11/10). (Cynopsis Sports)