Ratings Roundup: Early US Open Audience Up 58% on ESPN; CBS Golf Hits Six-Year Ratings High

Through three days of the first all-ESPN US Open, ESPN’s TV audience was up 58% from a year ago, averaging 853,000 viewers (P2+), up from 540,000 in 2014.  The corresponding household rating is up 50%, from 0.4 to 0.6. Younger viewers are leading the charge. The rating among viewers 18-34 and 18-49 – as well as among men 18-34 and men 18-49 – is double last year’s.  In addition, the rating among viewers 55+ is up 50%.

Pic-US-Open-Set2-Patrick-Chrissie-Chris-1000x600The audience following the US Open on WatchESPN – the linear TV presentation plus ESPN3’s offering of up to 11 courts and other content – has more than tripled.  After three days, 64.8 million live minutes have been viewed, an increase of 224 percent from 2014.  On the average day, 273,000 unique devices have watched the US Open (up 145 percent), averaging 78 minutes each (up 38 percent). Wednesday ranks at the second best day for a tennis Major on WatchESPN/ESPN with 23.7 million minutes viewed, behind only the 2015 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Championship.  The most-watched single feed so far was Wednesday’s play on Armstrong Stadium – 114,000 viewers accounting for 5.5 million live minutes…

…CBS saw a big boost in its golf audience this year, as its 21 events combined to register the best ratings in six years. Including 19 PGA Tour events as well as The Masters and the PGA Championship, CBS averaged a 2.3 rating with a 6 share. That’s up 21% from last year when it averaged a 1.9/5 for 22 events. Those are the best numbers for CBS for golf dating back to 2009 when it garnered a 2.5/6 for 21 events. As for the viewership, CBS averaged an audience of 3.5 million per event. That’s a 25% increase from last year when the Tiffany Network averaged 2.8 million viewers. That’s the highest average audience for golf on CBS since 2009 which saw 3.7 million viewers. (Awful Announcing)…

…ESPN’s Thursday night, college football season opening doubleheader featuring North Carolina at South Carolina (6 p.m. ET) followed by No. 2 TCU at Minnesota (9 p.m. ET)  earned a 40% and 27% overnight rating increase compared to ESPN’s 2014 Thursday night college football opener featuring Boise State vs. Ole Miss (Aug. 28, 2014). South Carolina’s 17-13 victory earned a 2.1 overnight rating, while No. 2 TCU’s 23-17 victory garnered a 1.9 overnight rating, both representing a significant jump from the 1.5 overnight rating received during Ole Miss’ 35-13 victory last season. Historically, North Carolina at South Carolina’s 2.1 overnight rating is tied as the fifth best ESPN Thursday night opener of all time…

…MLB Network saw a hot August, which ranked as the channel’s most watched August and third most-watched month ever in total day viewership. The period saw MLB Network’s total day viewership average 123,000 viewers, rising 40% over August 2014. Programs that got a spike included: MLB Central, +106%; High Heat with Christopher Russo, +56%;The Rundown, 66%; MLB Now, +73%; Intentional Talk, +55%; MLB Tonight, +31%, and Quick Pitch, +36% (versus August 2014). (Cynopsis Sports)…

…NBCSN’s presentation of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series averaged 507,000 viewers, making it the most-watched IndyCar season on NBCSN since IndyCar rights were acquired in 2009. NBCSN’s 2015 IndyCar coverage (11 races) was up 34% from the network’s average viewership for the 2014 season (378,000, 12 races), and up 26% vs. the previous record (402,000 in 2011), according to data provided by The Nielsen Company. NBCSN’s record IndyCar viewership was highlighted by significant gains in the second half of the season, capped by Sunday’s season finale at Sonoma. The race (5:00-7:25 p.m. ET) averaged 841,000 viewers to become the most-watched IndyCar race on NBCSN since rights were acquired in 2009, and the most-watched IndyCar race on cable in seven years (ESPN, 2008 at Richmond). Viewership of Sunday’s race peaked in final full quarter hour (7:00-7:15 p.m. ET), as more than 1 million viewers (1.048 million) watched the thrilling conclusion to the 2015 campaign.

NBCSN’s 2015 IndyCar coverage reached 6.409 million unique viewers, the highest total audience on the network since IndyCar rights were acquired in 2009, up 47% from the total audience in 2014 (4.350 million viewers), and up 34% vs. the previous record (4.789 million in 2011). The final six races of the season on NBCSN eclipsed 500,000 viewers, more than the past six seasons on NBCSN combined (five). The final three races of the season on NBCSN (Mid-Ohio, Pocono and Sonoma) eclipsed 600,000 viewers. These are the only races on NBCSN other than the Edmonton race in 2011 (642,000) to surpass 600,000 average viewers. In addition to delivering the highest average viewership in the network’s history, IndyCar on NBCSN saw increases across key demographics – up 32% among Adults 18-49, and up 24% among Adults 25-54 vs. 2014.Over 11 races on NBCSN, the 2015 IndyCar season produced a 0.34 HH rating, up 36% vs. last year’s rating (0.25, 12 races). Sunday’s finale at Sonoma produced a 0.53 HH rating, up 104% vs. the 2014 race (0.26)…

….Bostered by the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays, Sportsnet delivered a network record 6.8 audience share and an average minute audience of 266,000 – 113% higher than its closest competitor. Sportsnet was also Canada’s highest-ranked specialty channel in August and the third most-watched of all Canadian networks (conventional or specialty)…

…A day after the Dodgers set a SportsNet LA viewership record, they topped it again Wednesday night. The teams 2-1 win over San Francisco had 144,000 total viewers, with a 1.85 household rating. Tuesday night’s 2-1 victory had been the most-watched to date — 140,700-plus viewers and a 1.70 rating. The Monday-Wednesday Dodgers-Giants series averaged a 1.64 rating, the greatest ever on SportsNet LA. That was up 26 percent over the Dodgers-Oakland series at Dodger Stadium from July 28-29. The previous best-rated game before the Dodgers-Giants series was a Dodgers-Cubs game on June 23 at Wrigley Field (1.57). Since Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable and adding more subscribers to the viewing pool on June 9 with the SportsNet LA relaunch, the channel has averaged 85,385 viewers a night, up 87 percent from a year ago, and a 1.14 rating. (L.A. Daily News)…

Sportsnet’s Blue Jays broadcasts in August delivered an average audience of 1.29 million, which represents an increase of 112% over the average audience of the same month in 2014 (609,000). 23 Blue Jays broadcasts in August surpassed the one million viewer mark, marking a total of 26 Blue Jays broadcasts to eclipse the one million viewer mark, season-to-date. Season-to-date, Sportsnet is delivering an average audience of 793,000 for its Blue Jays broadcasts in 2015, up 36% over the average audience, season-to-date in 2014. For the month of August, MLB coverage on Sportsnet (non-Blue Jays) is up 94% vs. same time last year, delivering an average audience of 189,000

Blue Jays Central , the pre-game show hosted by Jamie Campbell and Gregg Zaun, delivered an average audience of 422,000 in August, marking a 139% increase year-over-year. Jays in 30, the condensed-replay of Sportsnet’s game broadcasts, attracted an average audience of 137,000 viewers in August, up 213% year-over-year. ·         In its second full month on the air, Tim & Sid have experienced an 18% increase (2+) and currently sit as the most-watched sports program in the country during the 6–7 p.m. ET timeslot. The prime-time edition of Sportsnet Central delivered an average audience of 278,000 in August – 191% higher than its closest competitor…

…Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s second-place finish in the 146th Travers Stakes drew big numbers on Aug. 29, as viewership for the NBC telecast peaked at 3.4 million viewers between 5:45-6:05 p.m. ET. Compared to American Pharoah’s victory in NBC’s one-hour Haskell Invitational telecast on August 2, viewership for the 5-6 pm ET hour of the Travers Stakes increased 32% (2.5 million for Travers; 1.9 million for Haskell). NBC’s full telecast (4:00-6:05 p.m. ET), averaged 2.0 million viewers to rank as the most-watched Travers Stakes telecast in 20 years (3.4 million viewers on 8/19/95, ABC). Saturday’s full telecast viewership was up 104% from last year’s Travers Stakes on NBC (981,000).

In addition, viewers streamed 199,000 live minutes via NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday – up 707% from last year’s Travers. Sunday’s racing also drew a full house of 50,000 spectators to Saratoga Race Course…

… The third edition of ESPN’s Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN—headlined by Leo Santa Cruz’s majority decision win over Abner Mares—on Saturday, Aug. 29, delivered the largest boxing audience on ESPN since February 1998 (02/22/98 Mark Johnson vs. Arthur Johnson). The telecast was seen by an average of 1,217,000 viewers (P2+)—up 30 percent from the average of the previous two PBC telecasts on ESPN. The telecast peaked from 12:00-12:15am with 1,641,000 viewers (P2+) according to Nielsen. ESPN’s Spanish-language telecast of the event on ESPN Deportes averaged a 1.3 Hispanic HH US Rtg and 355,000 Hispanic viewers—making it the highest-rated and most-watched boxing telecast to ever air on ESPN Deportes. The telecast peaked from 11:15-11:30 p.m. with 453,000 viewers.

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