Ratings Roundup: In-Depth Look at NFL Regular Season, Wild Card Winners and Losers

Compiled by Jason Dachman, Managing Editor, SVG

NFL Roundup: Regular Season Sizzles and Wild Cards Split
The NFL Wild Card games were an even conference split last weekend, as both AFC games delivered increased overnights compared to 2012 and both NFC games were down:

The pair of Saturday Wild Card games were a split for NBC. The Bengals-Texans AFC game drew a 16.2 overnight rating, up 6% from the same matchup last year (15.3) and earning the third-best overnight for the early Saturday Wild Card game since the 1998-99 season, behind only Saints/Seahawks in 2010 and Jets/Bengals in 2009 (16.9)…

…Meanwhile the Vikings-Packers game notched an 18.3 overnight rating on NBC Saturday night, down 5% from Lions-Saints last year (19.2) and tied as the lowest overnight for the late Saturday Wild Card window since Jaguars/Steelers in 2008 (16.7). The late Saturday game has now declined in two consecutive years…

…The next day the Colts/Ravens AFC matchup on CBS Sunday afternoon posted a 19.7 overnight rating, up 4% from Falcons/Giants last year (18.9) and marking the highest for the early Sunday Wild Card window since Seahawks/Packers on FOX in 2004 (20.1). In addition, the 19.7 is the second-highest for a Wild Card game on CBS since Steelers/Bengals in 2006 (19.9), trailing only last year’s Steelers/Broncos late game (25.9)…

…The Seahawks-Redskins NFC matchup led all Wild Card telecasts with a 23.7 overnight rating on FOX Sunday evening. That is down 9% from Steelers/Broncos on CBS last year (25.9) but still ranks as the third-highest for any NFL Wild Card game since the 1998-99 season…

…As for the final numbers for the NFL regular season, Fox turned in its third most-watched ever, averaging an 11.8/23 household rating/share in 2012 with 19.7 million viewers, tying 2010 as the second highest-rated season since 1995. Since that year, only 2011 rated higher (12.0), and only the last two seasons averaged slightly larger audiences (20.11 million in 2010 and 20.096 million in 2011). On the season, AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK on FOX posted a 14.8/26 and 24.8 million average viewers making it the highest-rated, most-watched program on television.  It out-distanced Sunday Night Football on NBC by 16% and CBS’s national game by at least 5% once final ratings are released Monday…

…While Fox was the highest rated overall, NBC’s Sunday Night Football took the primetime crown for the third straight fall season, marking the only three times on record, that a sports series has been the most-watched show of the primetime TV season at the end of the NFL regular season. Last year, Sunday Night Football became the first sports series to be the No. 1 show of the entire primetime television season (September-May), and it is on pace to achieve that milestone once again. Sunday Night Football averaged a 12.8/20 and 21.4 million viewers for the 2012 season, nearly even with last year’s season average of 12.9/20 and 21.5 million…

…Finally CBS averaged 17.7 million viewers for its package of regular-season games this season. The net’s average was down 4% from 18.4 million viewers last season, which was its second-best audience for the AFC package in 24 years.

Despite Blowout, BCS Championship Up 14% for ESPN
Despite Alabama’s lopsided 42-14 blowout over Notre Dame, ESPN’s BCS National Championship coverage delivered a 15.7 overnight rating, a 14% increase from 2012 (Alabama- LSU, 13.8 overnight rating). This metered-market rating – the highest for all of cable television in two years, since the January 2011 BCS National Championship on ESPN, helped drive the network’s five-game BCS average to a 9.0 metered market rating, up 6% over last year (8.5 for the five-game average). The game was also the highest-rated program on Monday night among all networks and was the third highest-rated ESPN bowl game telecast on record in Birmingham with a 55.1 rating.

Stay tuned for SVG’s in-depth Bowl Season Ratings Roundup on Thursday, Jan. 10.

NBA: Viewers Say YES to Brookly Nets, ESPN Jolly About NBA Christmas Day
As of Jan. 3, YES Network’s Brooklyn Nets telecasts are averaging a 1.0 TV HH rating this season, which is a 150% increase over the 0.4 TV HH rating the network’s Nets telecasts averaged for the entire previous season. The team’s Jan. 2 tilt with the Oklahoma City Thunder averaged a 1.4 TV HH rating, the 13th YES Nets telecast this season to achieve at least a 1.0 average TV HH rating (through 27 Nielsen-measured telecasts).  Last season, only one Nets telecast (out of 64) did at least a 1.0 rating on YES, while none of YES’ Nets telecasts did a 1.0 rating or better during the 2010-11 NBA season (last full NBA season). YES is averaging a 1.4 TV HH rating for the four games since P.J. Carlesimo became Nets head coach…

…ESPN delivered its most-watched NBA Christmas Day since 2004, as teh three-game set averaged 2,819,000 viewers, up 10% from 2,571,000 viewers in 2010. In addition, the games averaged a 2.0 household coverage rating, up 11% from a 1.8 for ESPN’s coverage in 2010. ESPN’s 2012 NBA Christmas Day scheduled included, Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets at Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Clippers.

ESPN’s primetime doubleheader – Rockets at Bulls and Nuggets at Clippers – averaged a 1.7 rating and 2,347,000 viewers, up 31% from a 1.3 rating and up 25% from 1,882,000 viewers compared to ESPN’s primetime doubleheader in 2010 (Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors).

NFL, Olympics Dominate 2012; Golf Channel Continues Two-Year Hot Streak
The folks over at Sports Media Watch put together a comprehensive look at the 50 most watched sporting events of 2012, and, not surprisingly the NFL and London Games are all over it…

…Golf Channel scored its most-watched year ever in the near 18-year history of the network during 2012.This marked the second consecutive most-watched year after a record breaking 2011 (the network came under the NBC Sports Group umbrella in early in 2011) Golf Channel remains the fastest-growing network on U.S. television among networks serving 80 million or more homes, according to Nielsen.

Golf Channel averaged 95,000 viewers in 24-hour Total Day (6AM-6AM) during 2012, an increase of 6% over 2011 (90,000) and 36% over 2010 (70,000). The networks’ seven PGA TOUR events each reached more than 7 million unique viewers, led by the BMW Championship with 8.4 million unique viewers. Additionally, 14 million Golf Channel viewers watched some or all of the PGA TOUR Playoffs, the most ever in the PGA TOUR Playoffs’ six-year history…

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