Ratings Roundup: Big NBA Finals Game 1 Overnight Still Trails Previous Cavs-Warriors Series; Stanley Cup Final Up 23% Through Two Games

Ratings roundup is a rundown of ratings news from the past week and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, ABC gets a big overnight for Game 1 of the NBA Finals but it still trails previous Cavs-Warriors Game 1’s, NBC’s Stanley Cup Final is up 23% through two games, and much more ratings news. 

Warriors-Cavs Notches Third-Highest NBA Finals Game 1 on ABC Ever
Last night’s Warriors blowout win over the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals delivered a 12.4 metered market rating. This is the third-highest NBA Finals Game 1 ever on ABC, only surpassed by their two previous meetings, which drew a 13.1 (5% higher than last night) and 12.9 (4% higher), respectively.

Lebron James’ Cavs are driving NBA Playoffs viewership

The Game 1 broadcast peaked with a 13.9 metered market rating from 10:15-10:30 p.m. ET. The NBA Finals on ABC is projected to win the night for the 56th consecutive time.

Thursday’s Warriors-Cavaliers matchup set several ESPN NBA Finals Game 1 streaming records across metrics. Last night’s game drew an average minute streaming audience of nearly 500,000 viewers (496,000), up 43 percent from 2016. In addition, it drew 1,546,600 unique viewers, up 54 percent from last year and there were a total of 79,860,000 minutes streamed, up 43 percent. (ESPN)

Stanley Cup Final Up 23% Over Last Year Through Two Games
Through two games, the 2017 Stanley Cup Final is averaging a TAD of 4.076 million viewers, up 23% vs. last year (3.316 million). Through 80 games, the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs on the networks of NBCUniversal are averaging a TAD of 1.202 million viewers, up 9% vs. 2016 (1.103 million).

Wednesday night’s Game 2 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final on NBCSN (a 4-1 Penguins win over the Predators) averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 3.278 million viewers, up 27% vs. last year’s Game 2 between the Penguins and San Jose Sharks (2.579 million). Game 2 was also the most-watched program on cable on Wednesday (daytime and primetime) among average viewers, and the A18-49 and A25-54 demos. Despite neither Nashville (#29) nor Pittsburgh (#23) being a Top 20 TV market, the contest was the second-most watched Stanley Cup Final Game 2 on cable since 2002 (Carolina-Detroit, ESPN, 3.782 million), behind only Boston-Chicago in 2013 (3.964 million), which are the #9 and #3 TV markets. Game 2 (8:09 p.m. – 11:13 p.m. ET) peaked with 3.8 million TV-only viewers during the 9:45-10 p.m. ET quarter-hour. The full contest posted a 1.84 household rating, and averaged 3.180 million TV-only viewers, up 28% and 27%, respectively, vs. Game 1 a year ago (1.44 HH rating; 2.507 million viewers).

Locally, Pittsburgh delivered a 31.1 local rating, the best ever for a Penguins game in the market on NBCSN, surpassing all previous Stanley Cup Final games on the network. Nashville posted a 16.3 local rating, the market’s second-best ever for a Predators game on NBCSN, trailing only last mont’s Game 6 vs. Anaheim in the Western Conference Final (16.5). NBCSN was the No. 1 network overall in both markets during the game. Buffalo (8.7), Philadelphia (4.4), and Knoxville (4.3) followed.

Digitally, Game 2 delivered an Average Minute Audience of 97,900 viewers, an all-time record for an NHL game. Predators-Penguins Game 2 also delivered 20.471 million live minutes – second-best ever for an NHL game — and 229,000 unique devices – third-best ever for an NHL game — up 52% and 34%, respectively, vs. Penguins-Sharks in 2016 (13.476 million live minutes and 171,000 devices).

As for monday night’s Game 1, the Penguins 5-3 win averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 5.038 million viewers, up 22% vs. last year’s Game 1 between the Penguins and San Jose Sharks (4.132 million). The contest was the third-most watched Game 1 since NBC Sports began televising the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, behind only Boston-Chicago in 2013, which are the #9 and #3 TV markets, respectively, and Chicago-Tampa Bay (#11) in 2015. Game 1 (8:11 – 11:04 p.m. ET) peaked with 5.5 million TV-only viewers during the 10:45-11 p.m. ET quarter-hour. The full contest posted a 2.85 household rating, and averaged 4.967 million TV-only viewers, both up 25% and 22%, respectively, vs. Game 1 a year ago (2.28 HH rating; 4.081 million viewers).

Locally, Nashville posted a 22.5 rating for Game 1, an all-time record for a Predators game on the networks of NBC. Pittsburgh delivered a 35.7 local rating, a Top 5 Penguins rating in the market, up 16% vs. last year’s Game 1 (30.9), and topping all Stanley Cup Final games last year, except for Game 5 (36.9). NBC was the No. 1 network overall in both markets during the game.

Digitally, Game 1 delivered the second-most live minutes ever for a Stanley Cup Final game with 13.7 million, up 58% vs. Game 1 last year (8.667 million). Predators-Penguins also totaled 192,000 unique devices and an Average Minute Audience of 71,100 viewers, up 51% and 39%, respectively, vs. Penguins-Sharks in 2016 (127,000 devices and 51,300 AMA). Last night’s game was the third-most streamed game of the 2017 playoffs so far, behind only the Game 7s of the Ottawa-Pittsburgh and Washington-Pittsburgh series. (NBC Sports Group)

Ratings Odds and Ends

The NBA Playoffs averaged 3.95 million viewers per game through the conclusion of the Conference Finals, marking the league’s lowest figure headed into the Finals in at least a decade. That figure comes despite a first round that was the NBA’s best since 2014. Viewership across ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV entering the NBA Finals was down 6% from last year (4.18 million) and 3% from 2015 (4.06M) and the smallest average since NBA TV became a Nielsen rated network in 2010-11. (SportsBusiness Daily) (SportsMediaWatch)…

…The Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, which aired Sunday on NBC (7:56-10 am ET), averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 1.530 million viewers, up 14% vs. last year’s race (1.339 million), and making it the most-watched live F1 race on record according to Fast National data from The Nielsen Company. The Grand Prix delivered a 1.01 HH rating and averaged 1.511 million TV-only viewers. Monaco peaked with 1.674 million TV-only viewers from 9:30-9:45 am ET quarter-hour. (NBC Sports Group)…

…Univision’s second leg of the Liga MX finals and attracted 2.8 million Total Viewers 2+, 1.6 million Adults 18-49 and 712,000 Adults 18-34. Not only was the live soccer match the No. 1 program for both Adults 18-49 and Adults 18-34, it also is the most viewed soccer match this year. Following at 9pm a special edition of “Contacto Deportivo” attracted 2.3 million Total Viewers 2+, 1.4 million Adults 18-49 and 631,000 Adults 18-34. Following at 10pm “Aquí y Ahora” (Here and Now) delivered 1.2 million Total Viewers 2+, 600,000 Adults 18-49 and 250,000 Adults 18-34…

…Final round coverage of the PGA Tour at Colonial earned a 1.4 final rating and 2.0 million viewers on CBS last Sunday, down 26% in ratings and 31% in viewership from last year (1.9, 2.9M) and down 26% and 28% respectively from 2015 (1.9, 2.8M). (SportsMediaWatch)