Ratings Roundup: The Open’s Monday Finale Delivers for ESPN; NBCSN Keeps Up NASCAR Pace

ESPN’s live coverage of The Open from the famous Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland posted double-digit ratings and viewership increases from 2014. Overall, The Open delivered a 1.4 US household rating, up 27% from 2014 (1.1), and 1,940,000 viewers, up 29% from 2014 (1,500,000).  Monday’s final round coverage peaked from 1:30-1:45 p.m. ET with a 3.7 household rating and 5,294,000 viewers as American Zach Johnson captured his second career major, defeating Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in the first playoff at The Open since 2009.

First Round (Thurs): Coverage averaged a 0.8 household rating, flat with 2014, and 1,091,000 viewers, a nine% gain from 2014 (1,000,000 viewers). Due to weather delays, the second round aired across Friday and Saturday, averaging a 1.2 household rating, up 33% from 2014 (0.9 rating) and 1,550,000 viewers, a 29% spike from 2014 (1,205,000 viewers). Sunday’s Third Round earned a 2.1 household rating and 2,910,000 viewers, increases of 110% (1.0 rating) and 115% (1,351,000 viewers), respectively, from the weather impacted 2014 event. The Final Round on Monday posted a 2.1 household rating, up 11% from 2014 (1.9), and 2,851,000 viewers, up five% from 2014 (2,703,000 viewers).

Top metered markets for ESPN’s 2015 presentation of The Open include West Palm Beach (2.9 rating), Louisville (2.7), Oklahoma City (2.6), Tampa-St. Petersburg (2.4), Greensboro, N.C. (2.4), Ft. Myers, Fla. (2.4), Columbus (2.4), Charlotte (2.3), Indianapolis (2.2), Raleigh-Durham (2.2) and Tulsa (2.2).

The Open on ESPN digital platforms reached record-breaking viewership this year as live coverage of Monday’s final round finished as the top golf event and one of the top 10 events all-time in minutes viewed for WatchESPN behind the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship game. Monday’s coverage alone – including the early morning session, Spanish language feed and international view – generated over 1.1 million unique viewers, more than 94 million total minutes viewed and an average minute audience of 222,000.

Across all platforms throughout the entire tournament, The Open on WatchESPN saw a daily average of 599,000 unique viewers that watched over 40 million minutes per day, up 60% and 105%, respectively, compared to last year’s tournament.  Additionally, each round of The Open saw increases over their respective day of play in 2014, averaging a 23% increase in unique viewers and a 33% increase in total minutes.

In total, golf content across all ESPN digital platforms – including ESPN.com, the ESPN app and WatchESPN – averaged 55.5 million minutes per day and an average minute audience of 39,000, both double the daily average of the previous year’s tournament…

…The Open also delivered for Golf Channel, which posted its most-watched week ever for The Open Championship. Additionally, Golf Channel served nearly 8 million unique viewers across the week, not including viewership on Monday, July 20, with coverage surrounding the weather-delayed final round. This is the most unique viewers for Golf Channel during the week of The Open since 2009 (8.3 million).

For 24-hour Total Day (6AM-6AM), 105,000 average viewers per minute were tuned into Golf Channel, the network’s most-watched week ever for The Open (Mon-Sun) and representing +30% YOY and +46% vs. the historical average (72,000) for this week (2006-2014). Last week, four respective days set new marks for most-watched day during the week of The Open, including Monday (92,000), Tuesday (98,000), Wednesday (136,000) and Sunday (133,000). And, Wednesday’s 136,000 average viewers was the second most-watched of any day during The Open for Golf Channel, trailing only Saturday of 2008 (150,000).

Golf Channel Digital via GolfChannel.com and Golf Channel Mobile App posted record traffic for the week of The Open Championship, according to Adobe Site Catalyst. Golf Channel Digital 39 million page views (+144% YOY) we’re Best Week Ever Record. Golf Channel Digital 7.2 million visits (+60% YOY) were Best Week Ever Record. Golf Channel Digital 2 million video starts (+23% YOY) we’re Best Ever for The Open. Additionally, Golf Live Extra streaming of Golf Central Live From St. Andrews generated 566,000 minutes watched (+334% YOY)…

…Paced by its second live NASCAR Sprint Cup race, NBCSN more than doubled its total-day viewership vs. last year for the second consecutive weekend. NBCSN posted a total day average of 593,000 viewers this past weekend – up 186% from the same weekend last year. Sunday’s presentation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing from New Hampshire ranked as the most-watched cable program of the weekend and highlighted NBCSN’s triple-header weekend of racing. NBCSN registered a total-day average of 593,000 viewers this past weekend (July 18-19), up 186% from the same weekend last year (July 19-20, 2014) and marking the second consecutive weekend – both featuring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races – that the network doubled average total-day viewership vs. 2014.

NBCSN’s Sunday afternoon presentation of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race averaged 3.7 million viewers – ranking as the most-watched cable telecast of the weekend. In addition, the race earned the highest non-Olympic HH rating in NBCSN history (2.37). However, according to SportsMediaWatch, the race was down 11% in ratings and 14% in viewership from last year opposite the World Cup final (2.7, 4.3M) and down 25% in both measures from 2013 (3.2, 4.9M), both of which aired on TNT. Viewership for Sunday’s NASCAR telecast peaked at 4.4 million viewers from 4:15-4:30 p.m. ET as Kyle Busch won his third Sprint Cup race in four weekends.

…NBCSN’s Saturday afternoon NASCAR XFINITY Series race averaged 1.3 million viewers. Fans streamed 1.9 million minutes of live NASCAR racing last weekend via NBC Sports Live Extra…

…NBCSN’s Saturday night Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 telecast averaged 541,000 viewers, marking the first time since NBC Sports Group acquired IndyCar cable exclusivity in 2008 that three consecutive IndyCar races on the cable network eclipsed 500,000 viewers. Saturday’s primetime telecast produced a 0.29 HH rating, while viewership was up 29% vs. last year’s race at Iowa (444,000), and surpassed NBCSN’s IndyCar presentation from Milwaukee on July 12 (532,000 viewers) as the network’s most-watched IndyCar race in four years (Sept. 4, 2011, 591,000, Baltimore)…

…Panama’s elimination of Trinidad & Tobago on penalty kicks in the early CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinal on Sunday (7/19) averaged 452,000 viewers and 191,000 in the Adult 18-49 demographic, up +207% in viewership (147,000) and +125% in A18-49 (vs. 85,000) compared to the 2013 non-U.S. Gold Cup quarterfinal average on FOX Soccer. In the nightcap, Mexico’s 1-0 defeat of Costa Rica on a penalty kick in stoppage time of extra time scored 609,000 viewers and 288,000 in A18-49, making it the most-watched non-U.S. CONCACAF Gold Cup match in both metrics on FOX Sports 1 to date.

The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup on FOX, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 is averaging 394,000 viewers per match through the quarterfinals, up +72% compared to the 2013 average through the quarterfinals (229,000) on FOX and FOX Soccer. USA matches on FOX and FOX Sports 1 are averaging 1.163 million viewers to date, +56% above the U.S. match average on FOX and FOX Soccer in 2013 (747,000)…

…Meanwhile, UniMas’ coverage of the Gold Cup Semifinal matches on Wednesday, simulcast on UDN, saw the Mexico/Panama matchup average 4.4 million Total Viewers 2+ and 2.6 million Adults 18-49 with overall viewership growing 20% among Total Viewers 2+ (and 12% among adules 18-49) versus the 2013 Semifinal match between the same two countries. This was the 2nd largest audience for a 2015 Gold Cup match on any network regardless of language. Only the Quarterfinal match between Costa Rica and Mexico on July 19th on Univision drew more viewers (4.7 Total Viewers 2+ and 2.7 million Adults 18-49).

In addition, on UniMás, simulcast on UDN, the USA vs. Jamaica match aired Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. ET, averaging 1.9 million Total Viewers 2+ and 928,000 Adults 18-49. This was the 2nd largest audience for a USA match in the 2015 Gold Cup to-date on any network regardless of language, behind only the opening day match against Honduras on UniMás on July 7th. Audience increased +46% among Total Viewers 2+ and +50% among Adults 18-49 compared with the Quarterfinal match between USA and Cuba on July 18th on Univision.

Univision Deportes has reached 29.2 million Total Viewers 2+ with 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup coverage via television and digital. Univision Deportes live streaming has provided a 6% lift to TV viewership. Through 24 matches of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, Univision Deportes is averaging 1.8 million Total Viewers 2+ and 1.1 million Adults 18-49 per match, out-delivering its coverage of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup by +35% among Total Viewers 2+ and by +37% among Adults 18-49.

Wednesday’s Mexico vs. Panama match delivered more than 138K live streams and garnered a total of 3.8 million minutes of live video consumption. 93% of Mexico vs. Panama live streams came from the Univision Deportes App. Through 24 matches of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, Univision Deportes has delivered a total of 3.6 million live streams, of which 87% of all live streams have come from the Univision Deportes App. To date, Univision Deportes has recorded over 1 million hours of 2015 Gold Cup live streaming…

…Through Stage 15 on July 19 (with only five stages remaining), NBCSN has posted the best viewership for its live morning Tour de France telecasts since 2010 (the last year Lance Armstrong rode in the Tour de France), averaging 336,000 viewers – up 18% compared to the same time frame last year (284,000). In the Adult 18-49 demographic, NBCSN’s live morning viewership is up 18% from last year (105,000 vs. 89,000). San Francisco leads local market ratings for the Tour de France on NBCSN (top 15 markets below).

Through the first 15 stages, cycling fans have streamed more than 38 million minutes of live Tour de France action on NBC Sports Live Extra, an increase of 42% from 2014. A total of 129,000 unique users have streamed live race action — up 61% from last year.  In addition, more than 1.9 million video highlights of the 2015 Tour have been watched. NBC Sports Tour de France Live, which includes two premium-subscription products – one for desktop and one for mobile and tablet – has grown 21% in subscribers year-over-year…

…NBA TV’s coverage of NBA Summer League – 68 game telecasts   – delivered record-setting numbers including the network’s most-viewed live Summer League coverage ever.  NBA TV averaged 110,000 total viewers for its live game coverage (July 4-20) for a 9% increase over last year.

The network also garnered its most-viewed NBA Summer League game telecast of all time (Minnesota vs. Los Angeles Lakers, featuring rookies Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell in action, with an average of 277,000 total viewers) and its most-viewed Samsung NBA Summer League championship game ever (Phoenix vs. San Antonio; 140,000 total viewers).

The network’s primetime audience growing 8% among total viewers when compared to the same time period in 2014. Total day viewership up 7% among total viewers over last year. Significant growth across all core demos for live NBA Summer League game telecasts with a 29% increase in Men 18-34.  A median age of 32.6 for all NBA Summer League games, down from 36.7 last year.

Additionally, @NBATV Facebook and Twitter accounts generated more than 252 million impressions throughout NBA Summer League, with Facebook impressions growing 138% over last year.  There were also 6.6 million video views over the 16-day period, with Facebook garnering nearly six times the total when compared with 2014…

…Saturday’s Dodgers/Nationals Major League Baseball game drew 460,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1, down 16% from last year’s exclusive Cardinals/Brewers telecast (546K). The Indians/Reds nightcap had 444,000. In subsequent action, another Dodgers/Nationals matchup drew 430,000 viewers on TBS Sunday, and Mets/Nationals drew 546,000 on ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball. (SMW)…

…A total of 1,035,014 viewers watched all or part of Sunday’s episode of Garbage Time With Katie Nolan on television or online, including 753,000 tuning in for all or part of the show when it premiered on Sunday night. Sunday’s episode aired an hour later than scheduled, as its lead-in, the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal between Mexico and Costa Rica, which ended in controversy, extended into extra time. Including a Monday morning repeat, GARBAGE TIME’s total television reach for Episode 19 saw a +45% increase compared to the show’s average to-date. In addition to the program’s impressive television reach, clips or the full show of Episode 19 were viewed more than 275,000 times online, a +20% increase over the show’s average.

…UniMas and UDN saw Monday’s Campeon de Campeones match between America/Santos average 1.1 million viewers. That marks the biggest audience ever for a Campeon de Campeones game on the network. (Cynopsis Sports)…

…The inaugural NBPA Players Awards drew 722,000 viewers on BET Tuesday night, with an encore presentation drawing 663,000 immediately afterward. The telecast easily exceeded the NHL Awards on NBCSN in June (116K) and NASCAR’s ceremony on Fox Sports 1 last December (453K), but was no match for the NFL Honors on NBC in February (4.7M) (SMW)…

…Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Sports 2015 on July 16, won the night with kids 2-11 and kids 6-11, while also posting double-digit year over year increases with kids 2-11 and total viewers. Kids’ Choice Sports 2015, which was simulcast across Nick at Nite, Nicktoons, TeenNick and TV Land, averaged 2.5M total viewers (+10%) and earned a 4.4/1.3M with Kids 2-11 (+15%) and a 5.6/1.0M with Kids 6-11 (+10%)…

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