MLB Ratings Roundup: Postseason Viewership Up 18% Overall

Through Day 3 of the Division Series, the 2015 MLB Postseason was up 18% in viewership (4.146 million viewers) over last year and the most-watched to date since 2010 (based on Nielsen Fast National ratings). Here’s a breakdown of each network’s MLB Postseason ratings through Sunday.

MLB postseasonTBS
TBS’ exclusive MLB Postseason telecasts are averaging 5.3 million total viewers through Monday, tied with 2007 as the network’s most-viewed coverage on record through the third day of the Division Series.  The network’s postseason coverage is up 36% among total viewers over last year (3,862,000 total viewers in 2014) and an even larger 44% increase among People 18-49.  The corresponding 3.2 U.S. HH rating this year is up 33% over a 2.4 U.S. HH rating to date in 2014, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals.

Monday’s NLDS Game 3 doubleheader on TBS averaged five million total viewers and a 3.0 U.S. HH rating, increases of 32% and 30% respectively over last year’s comparable telecasts (3,827,000 total viewers; 2.2 U.S. HH rating).

The network’s St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs telecast delivered an average of 5.8 million total viewers and a 3.5 U.S. HH rating to become the most-viewed and highest-rated NLDS Game 3 since 2006.  The telecast – peaking with an average of 7.5 million total viewers and a 4.4 U.S. HH rating from 7:45-8 p.m. ET – is also the most-viewed and highest-rated LDS game since 2012.

Fox Sports
Astros-Royals ALDS Game 2 (1.841 million viewers) and Rangers-Blue Jays ALDS Game 1 (1.750 million) are the most-watched daytime programs on FS1 in almost a year (2014 NLCS Game 3, 2.779 million), and are the fourth and fifth most-watched daytime programs since FS1’s launch.

MLB Network
MLB Network recorded its second-best rated game telecast ever (1.9 coverage rating) with the Rangers’ 14-inning ALDS Game Two win over the Blue Jays.  The game also led MLB Network to its best-ever overnight viewership for total day, up up 25% from its prior record on October 4, 2014.

Sportsnet (Rogers Canada) recorded its most-watched program ever with Game One of the ALDS between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays, with an average audience of 2.35 million viewers, a +15% increase over its previous record and a +740% increase over last year’s ALDS Game 1. The game marked the 58th Blue Jays broadcast to eclipse the one million viewer mark, and the third Blue Jays broadcast to eclipse the two million viewer mark in 2015.

That day’s edition of Blue Jays Central Postseason pre-game show delivered an average audience of 807,000 marking a 178% increase over the Blue Jays Central average audience during the 2015 regular season (290,000).

ESPN’s American League Wild Card Game – the Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees 3-0 – delivered the largest MLB Wild Card Game audience ever, according to Fast Nationals from Nielsen. The telecast averaged 7,604,000 viewers (P2+), and peaked with 8,600,000 viewers from 10:30-11 p.m. ET. It was ESPN’s most-watched MLB game since 2003. The viewership average was up 46 percent from last year’s AL Wild Card Game – Kansas City vs. Oakland – which drew 5,213,000 viewers. It’s also up 36 percent from ESPN’s telecast of the 2014 NL Wild Card Game – San Francisco vs. Pittsburgh – which generated 5,591,000 viewers and was the previously most-watched MLB Wild Card game. The telecast delivered a 4.9 U.S. household rating, which is up 48 percent and 36 percent, respectively, from last year’s AL Wild Card and NL Wild Card telecasts. It was also up double-digits from both of last year’s Wild Card telecasts across all key demos.

Streaming Audience: MLBAM, Turner TV Everwhere, WatchESPN
ON the digital side, Through the first five days of the Postseason, data from the MLBAM LDDR study shows there have been daily averages of 3.4 million unique sessions and 32.8 million minutes consumed of live game access across MLBAM’s digital products. The top five markets accessing live games across MLBAM’s digital products through the first five days of the Postseason are: 1) New York; 2) Los Angeles; 3) Chicago; 4) Dallas-Ft. Worth and 5) Toronto.

Game Two of the ALDS between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays became the top-consumed game of the season, according to LDDR, in both unique sessions (3.2MM) and minutes (47.4MM). The dramatic 14-inning game peaked near its conclusion with fans consuming a record 8MM minutes during that final inning alone…

…Turner’s TV Everywhere platforms are also delivering significant increases for the postseason to-date including live streaming coverage up 46% in unique visits.  Social media impressions for the MLB Postseason are up more than 263% collectively across Twitter and Facebook for Bleacher Report’s MLB social accounts when compared with the comparable coverage in 2014…

…Last Tuesday’s AL Wild Card Game generated the largest audience for an MLB game ever on WatchESPN, setting records across metrics, including 445,000 unique viewers, an average minute audience of 127,000 viewers, and 25.7 million total minutes viewed across devices.

MLB Regular Season Highlights
Kansas City Royals telecasts on FOX Sports Kansas City averaged an all-time high 12.3 household rating in 2015, the best for any MLB team on a regional sports network since 2002. Royals local market ratings ranked No. 1 in MLB for the first time. Viewership rose 84 percent over last season, with similar increases for the Hy-Vee Royals Live pregame (+105 percent) and Boulevard Royals Live postgame shows (+89 percent). Royals telecasts on FOX Sports Kansas City were the highest-rated, most-watched programming in Kansas City during baseball season. Prime-time games averaged a 13.0, 136 percent higher than the closest competitors. Highest-rated game on FSKC: was onApril 26 at White Sox (17.3). The most-watched moment was Sept. 24 when the Royals clinched the AL Central (23.1 rating/42 share/213,000 households). The Royals were the highest-rated, most-watched programming in prime time in Kansas City during baseball season. Royals prime-time games on FSKC averaged a 13.0, outdistancing second-place KMBC-ABC and KCTV-CBS by 136 percent.

…Viewership for St. Louis Cardinals telecasts on FOX Sports Midwest reached an all-time high in 2015. The National League Central champions averaged a 10.0 household rating/123,000 households on FOX Sports Midwest, up 29 percent from last season. That is the highest season average ever in FOX Sports Midwest’s 22 seasons as the team’s TV home. The previous high was a 9.4 in 2010. Ratings increased 29 percent from a 7.9 last season. Cardinals local-market ratings ranked second in MLB, behind the Royals. Toyota Cardinals Live pregame show ratings rose 22 percent and Missouri Lottery Cardinals Live postgame increased 42 percent over 2014. Cardinals telecasts on FOX Sports Midwest are the highest-rated, most-watched programming in prime time in St. Louis during baseball season…

…Comcast SportsNet’s Chicago Cubs television ratings averaged a 3.32 household rating in 2015 (approx. 112,317 Chicago market TV households tuning in per game)– a 121% increase over 2014’s 1.50 final household season average (Over 60,000 MORE Chicago market TV homes tuned in per game this season compared to last season).  The 3.32 Chicago market household average is also the highest Cubs final season average on Comcast SportsNet in SIX YEARS (4.13 avg. in 2009). Comcast SportsNet also experienced exponential year-to-year ratings growth in EVERY key advertising demo category, including Adults 18-34 (up 132%)…Adults 18-49 (up 169%)…Adults 25-54 (up 153%)…Men 18-34 (up 129%)…Men 18-49 (up 159%)…and Men 25-54 (up 172%). On September 8 at St. Louis, Comcast SportsNet posted its highest Cubs single game rating since August 2009 with a 5.7 household average and a 7.1 peak rating. Out of 83 total Cubs telecasts on Comcast SportsNet in 2015, seven games averaged “at least a 5.0 household rating,” while 20 games averaged “at least a 4.0 household rating.”  The network’s highest-rated Cubs game in 2014 (among 79 total game telecasts) was a 3.4 (occurred on May 5 vs. White Sox). Comcast SportsNet’s Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto household ratings finished up 64% compared to last season (75% increase in Adults 25-54), while Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois household ratings increased 158% (up 188% in Adults 25-54)…

NFL Week 5 Recap
THE NFL ON CBS on Sunday, Oct. 11, featuring national doubleheader coverage (4:25 PM, ET) with New England’s 30-6 win over Dallas and Denver vs. Oakland was the highest- rated NFL game in Week 5 with an average overnight metered market household rating/share of 16.4/32, up 24% from last year’s 13.2/25 (Kansas City-San Francisco, N.Y. Jets-San Diego).  Yesterday’s 16.4/32 was CBS’s highest-rated NFL broadcast this season in the metered markets…

Going up against The Walking Dead season premier on AMC its sixth season and the MLB Postseason, NBC’s Sunday Night Football primetime Giants-San Francisco 49ers game got a 13.1/22 in metered-market results to hit a season low. Although it was a rise of just 2% over last year’s SNF Week 5 game, the Giants’ 30-27 victory was down 11% from the MM result that the New Orleans Saints’ OT victory over the Dallas Cowboys drew on October 4. (Deadline)…

CBS and NFL Network’s broadcast of Thursday Night Football (Indianapolis-Houston) earned an average overnight household rating/share of 10.7/18 in the 56 metered markets, +3% from last year’s 10.4/17 for the fourth week of TNF, which featured Minnesota vs. Green Bay (10/2/14). Through four weeks, THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL on CBS and NFL Network has seen ratings increases in each week versus the comparable week last year. The game HH rating/share peaked at 11.3/18 from 9:30-10:00 PM, ET. Pregame and game coverage of last night’s Indianapolis-Houston game on CBS and NFL Network from 8:00-11:00 PM, ET averaged a primetime household rating/share of 9.8/16. Last’s night primetime average rating on CBS and NFL Network beat each of the broadcast networks: +263% ahead of FOX (2.7/4), +172% ahead of NBC (3.6/6), and +56% ahead of ABC (6.3/10). Through four weeks of THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, CBS and NFL Network’s game coverage has earned a combined overnight rating/share of 12.6/22, +16% from last year’s 10.9/19.

Odds and Ends
…Univision Deportes’ USA/Mexico 2015 Confederation Cup clash Saturday night averaged 5.1 million Total Viewers 2+ and 2.7 million Adults 18-49. Univision ranked as the highest rated broadcast station regardless of language during the USA/Mexico match in total viewers in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Phoenix and Sacramento…

…NBC Sports Group’s viewership for the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In – Presented by Lane’s End Farm” jumped 136% year-over-year for the nine telecasts following American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown victory in the Belmont Stakes on June 6. Collectively, NBC and NBCSN averaged 936,000 viewers for nine shows between June 13 and this past Sunday, Oct. 4 – up 136% from last year’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series (397,000 average). In addition, viewers streamed 383,000 live horse racing minutes via NBC Sports Live Extra – up 315% from last year’s series (92,000 minutes)…

…PBR scored 2.3 million people tuning in to watch the PBR’s Built Ford Tough Series Cooper Tires Take the Money and Ride event on CBS on Oct. 4. The telecast drew a 1.61 household score to mark the most-watched PBR event on the network in more than four years. (Cynopsis Sports)…

…NBC UNIVERSO on Wed., Oct. 7, the network ranked No. 1 in Hispanic Cable for Primetime and Total Day among adults 18-49. Leading the charge for the network’s ratings on Wednesday was its telecast of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, featuring Mexico vs. Honduras, which delivered 202,000 adults 18-49 (306,000 total viewers 2+), according to Nielsen. The telecast also ranked No. 4 among all cable programs in total day, regardless of language, with Hispanic adults 18-49. In addition, NBC UNIVERSO out-delivered the competition in Primetime that night by more than 100 percent, averaging 113,000 adult 18-49 viewers, according to Nielsen. After the match, the telecast of the network’s re-enactment reality crime series, Fugitivos de la Ley, ranked as the No. 1 Hispanic Cable program during its timeslot among adults 18-49 and total viewers P2+, delivering 50,000 and 86,000 viewers, respectively, according to Nielsen. During the week, NBC UNIVERSO also was ranked the No. 1 Hispanic Cable network during Primetime among adults 18-49 on Tue., Sept. 29. That night, the network averaged 99,000 adults 18-49 (160,000 total viewers P2), led by the airing of the Liga MX soccer match featuring León vs. América, which averaged 205,000 adults 18-49 (337,000 total viewers 2+)…

…Game 1 of the 2015 WNBA Finals, which aired October 4 on ABC, resulted in the most-watched Game 1 ever on ABC and the most-watched Game 1 on ABC/ESPN networks since 1998. The matchup between the Indiana Fever and the Minnesota Lynx saw a +2% increase in viewership, with 571,000 viewers vs. 558,000 viewers in 2014.

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