Ratings Roundup: Ryder Cup Drives NBC, ESPN to Big Audience; Viewers Flock to YES for Yankees Pennant Run

Final round coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup, won in comeback fashion by the European team, earned a 4.1 overnight rating on NBC — up 71% from 2010 (2.4), and up 21% from 2008 (3.4) The 4.1 is the highest for final round coverage since 1999 (6.3), when the United States team forged their own comeback victory In addition, the 4.1 is the highest overnight for any golf telecast since the final round of the AT&T National in July (4.6), topping the final round of the British Open on ESPN (3.3), the final round of the PGA Championship on CBS (3.9), and the final rounds of all four FedEx Cup events.

With more than 3.2 million people watching at the peak, ESPN’s telecast of the first-day matches in the 39th Ryder Cup on Friday, September 28, was cable’s most-viewed Ryder Cup telecast on record. ESPN earned an average of 1,984,853 viewers and an average household coverage rating of 1.7 (1.5 U.S. rating) during the 11.5-hour telecast, according to the Nielsen Company. Viewership and ratings peaked at 7 p.m. ET with 3,289,047 watching and a 2.6 rating. ESPN’s telecast aired from 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.  The highest previous Ryder Cup first-day average cable viewership on record was 1,735,295 on the USA Network in 1999…

…The Yankees race for the pennant has been ratings gold for YES Network, which scored its two of its highest rated Yankees telecasts in recent memory. Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees game on YES averaged 733,000 total viewers in the New York DMA, tying the network’s Sept. 1, 2011 Red Sox-Yankees telecast as the most-viewed program on YES in over two years, since the April 4, 2010 Yankees-Red Sox telecast (2010 season opener), which averaged 1,085,000 total viewers.  YES recorded last night’s numbers despite the Presidential Debate’s being carried on more than 15 networks in the New York DMA.

The night beore, the Red Sox-Yankees game on YES averaged 698,000 total viewers (6.87 TV HH rating) in the New York DMA, the most-viewed program on YES since September 1, 2011.

MLB Network’s telecast of the Red Sox/Yankees game on Tuesday generated an average audience of 605,000 viewers to rank as the most watched program ever on MLB Network.

…NBC’s five-game average viewership of 23.3 million and average household rating of 14.2/23 marks the best start in the seven-year history of Sunday Night Football. It is the most-watched start to a season for a primetime package in 16 years (24.0 million for ABC in 1996) and and the highest rated start to a season for a primetime package in 13 years (14.6/25 in 1999 on ABC).

Sunday’s game on NBC, in which the Eagles defeated the Giants, 19-17, drew 22.8 million viewers – the first time in NBC’s seven-year Sunday Night Football history that each of the first five games has topped 21 million viewers. The 22.8 million for Sunday’s game is up 21% from last year’s Week 4 SNF game (18.9 million for Jets-Ravens), is the most-watched Week 4 game in SNF history, and the most-watched Week 4 primetime game in 16 years (25.1 million for Dolphins-Colts, 9/23/96 on ABC). The household rating of 14.1/22 for Sunday’s game is up 23% from last year’s Week 4 SNF game (11.5/18 for Jets-Ravens) and is the highest-rated Week 4 primetime game in 15 years (15.0/26 for Steelers-Jaguars, 9/22/97 on ABC)…

…The Bears shellacking of the Cowboys on Monday Night Football earned a MNF season-high 12.3 household coverage rating (10.5 US), representing an average of 12,035,000 households (16,616,000 viewers – P2+), the third largest audience among viewers (second among households) for any program on cable television in 2012, according to Nielsen. Through the first four weeks of the NFL season (five games), ESPN’s MNF is averaging a 10.4 household coverage rating (8.9 US), 10,217,000 households and 13,969,000 viewers, increases of eight percent, seven percent and seven percent, respectively, from the same point last season…

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