Ratings Roundup: Ryder Cup, MLB Postseason, and More

Wednesday’s 2016 MLB NL Wild Card Game telecast on is the second-most watched Major League Baseball game on ESPN in 13 years, according Nielsen. Across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, the game generated a total live average audience of 7,711,000 viewers (television + streaming). The San Francisco Giants’ victory over the New York Mets delivered a 4.5 final rating and 7.42 million average viewers on ESPN (down 10% in ratings and 11% in viewership from 5.0 and 8.3 million for Cubs/Pirates on TBS last year).

espn_wildcardIt was the third-highest rating and viewership for an MLB Wild Card Game (10 telecasts dating back to 2012), according the SportsMediaWatch. The game peaked with nearly 9.2 million average viewers (9,198,000) from 11-11:15 p.m. ET. ESPN won the night across broadcast and cable in all key male demos for Wednesday, October 5. The game drew an average audience of 116,000 Hispanic viewers on ESPN Deportes. 

The Giants-Mets game also delivered ESPN its largest streaming audience ever for an MLB event. It set several records, including 35,977,000 total minutes streamed, 634,400 unique viewers and an average minute audience of 173,800 viewers…

…On Tuesday (Oct. 4), the AL Wild Card Game was Sportsnet’s most-watched program to date in 2016, with an average audience of 4.02 million viewers (2+) tuning in to see Toronto beat Baltimore, 5-2. The game was Sportsnet’s fifth most-watched broadcast of all time, trailing only 2015 ALCS Game 6 (Toronto @ Kansas City) with 5.12 million, 2015 ALDS Game 5 (Texas @ Toronto) with 4.88 million, 2015 ALDS Game 4 (Toronto @ Texas) with 4.38 million, and 2015 ALDS Game 3 (Toronto @ Texas) with 4.2 million. Overall, more than 9 million Canadians watched some part of last night’s broadcast. Audience levels peaked at 5.38 million at 10:54 p.m. ET in the bottom of the ninth inning with none out, two runners on base and Jose Bautista at the plate.

Following the game, an average audience of 1.04 million viewers watched Sportsnet Central’s hour-long post-game coverage – delivering the most-watched Sportsnet Central to date in 2016.

…NESN’s Red Sox average household rating increased 28% in 2016, averaging a 6.4 in the Boston DMA. In the Boston DMA, NESN averaged 563,000 viewers per game and totaled 2,378,000 unduplicated 2016 Viewers (Total number of people that watched during 2016 season). In New England (all six New England states except for Fairfield Country, CT) averaged 953,000 viewers per game and 4,027,000 unduplicated 2016 viewers…

…NBC Sports Group’s comprehensive coverage of the U.S. Team’s decisive 17-11 victory at the 2016 Ryder Cup concluded Sunday on NBC with 4.3 million average viewers and a 2.72 U.S. household rating (Noon-6 p.m. ET) according to Nielsen Fast Nationals.  For average viewers, the 2016 Ryder Cup Sunday at Hazeltine National Golf Club outside Minneapolis was +95% vs. 2014 at Gleneagles in Scotland (7 a.m. – 12:40 p.m. ET); -22% vs. 2012 at Medinah outside Chicago (Noon-6:33 p.m. ET); and +2% vs. 2008 at Valhalla outside Louisville (12:30-6:07 p.m. ET), the last time the United States won the Ryder Cup.

Viewership on Sunday peaked with 6.4 Million average viewers from 5-5:15 p.m. ET as Ryan Moore clinched the winning point in Match 7 of 12 at approximately 5:12 p.m. ET, 45 minutes before the conclusion of coverage. In comparison, 2012 at Medinah peaked between 6-6:15 p.m. ET as Europe’s Martin Kaymer capped one of the greatest comebacks in Ryder Cup history by winning the 11th match of 12 to win 14 ½ – 13 ½.

Across all three days, the 2016 Ryder Cup totaled 35.1 million live minutes, 487,000 unique devices, and an average minute audience of 22,000 across all digital platforms.  The average minute audience of 22,000 users ranks as the highest for any NBC and Golf Channel event on record (NBC’s inaugural coverage of The Open had an average minute audience of 18,000).

Golf Channel’s Live From the Ryder Cup on Sunday evening following play posted a .31 overnight rating (6-9:15 p.m. ET), +121% vs. 2014 at Gleneagles and +82% vs. 2012 at Medinah. On Friday with Day 1 of the Ryder Cup, Golf Channel posted its most-watched day in history, since the network was founded by Arnold Palmer more than 21 years ago, with 673,000 average viewers. Golf Channel was the No. 1 cable sports network by 319% in Total Day. Golf Channel’s coverage posted 1.3 million average viewers per minute and a 0.94 U.S. HH rating across the nearly 11 hours of coverage.  Golf Channel ranked as the No. 2 cable network during coverage (8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. ET). Full day coverage of Day 1 on Golf Channel was +30% vs. cable coverage Friday at the 2016 U.S. Open on FS1 (8 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET; 999,000 average viewers, 0.73 U.S. HH rating). Golf Channel’s coverage of the afternoon session (1:30-6:56 p.m. ET, 1.5 million average viewers) was +13% vs. Friday at 2016 PGA Championship on TNT (1-7:30 p.m. ET; 1.320 million average viewers, 0.95 U.S. HH rating)…

…Through college football’s first five weeks, ABC’s Saturday Night Football is averaging a total live audience (TV + Streaming) of 6,201,000 viewers, the most-watched college football franchise on any network.  The television audience is averaging 6,100,000 viewers a game, 28% better than the next best window on any other network and up 3% from the first five weeks of ABC’s Saturday Night Football last season. The franchise’s streaming audience has garnered 101,000 average minute viewers per game, up 84% year over year. Accounting for all ABC games (16 games), the network’s total live audience is 5,760,000 viewers per game, college football’s most-watched network.  The television audience (5,659,000 viewers) and streaming audience (101,000 viewers) is up 16% and 90%, respectively, year over year.

In week 5, ABC’s Saturday Night Football featured the season’s first top 5 matchup – No. 3 Louisville at No. 5 Clemson (8 p.m.). The much-anticipated, ACC showdown generated a total live audience of 9,494,000 viewers, the most-watched Saturday college football game of the season across all networks. ABC’s TV audience of 9,294,000 viewers is the third most-watched October Saturday Night Football game ever (34 games). The stream of the Tigers’ 42-36 victory generated an average minute audience of 200,000 viewers with 812,000 unique viewers watching a total of 51,107,000 minutes, making it the second-most streamed regular season college football game ever for ESPN. The Cardinals-Tigers’ total live audience (9,494,000 viewers) was up 23% from Notre Dame at Clemson (7,718,000 viewers), last season’s week 5 Saturday Night Football game. ABC’s TV audience was the best ever for a Louisville football regular season game on any ESPN network, surpassing the previous high — West Virginia at Louisville on Nov. 2, 2006 on ESPN — by 45% (6,395,000 viewers).

Wisconsin at Michigan (3:30 p.m. on ABC) delivered a total live audience of 6,990,000 viewers, week 5’s second-most watched game across all networks and one of the most-watched games of the season.

Stanford at Washington (Friday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. on ESPN) delivered a total live audience of 3,424,000 viewers, the second-most watched Friday game on ESPN on record*, trailing only Boise State at Michigan State from week 1 in 2012 (non-thanksgiving day weekend).

Texas at Oklahoma State (noon on ABC) with a total live audience of 3,852,000 viewers was up 38% year over year to the comparable game window (Texas at TCU)…

…Bolstered by the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and the Blue Jays regular season pennant race, Sportsnet recorded the most-watched September in network history. Delivering a record 8.5 audience share and an average audience of 329,000 (2+), Sportsnet closed out September with more than twice the share and twice the average audience of its closest competitor. Sportsnet was the second most-watched Canadian network in prime time (conventional and specialty combined) in September, and also continues its reign as Canada’s highest-ranked specialty channel. Plus, Sportsnet.ca delivered a 50% year-over-year increase in page views for the month, and according to comScore’s most recent report, is Canada’s fastest growing major digital sports outlet in Canada.

The 2016 Blue Jays regular season, which came to a thrilling close Sunday in Boston, also set a record for Sportsnet as the most-watched Blue Jays season in network history, delivering an average audience of 1.01 million viewers (2+). This marks an increase of 12% over the 2015 regular season average audience (901,000), the previous most-watched Blue Jays season on record. Toronto’s second game of the three-game set in Boston on Oct. 1 was Sportsnet’s most-watched Blue Jays broadcast of the season, attracting an average audience of 2.09 million viewers. 78 Blue Jays broadcasts surpassed the one-million viewer mark this season, in comparison to 57 broadcasts eclipsing the one million viewer mark in 2015

Sportsnet’s coverage of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 delivered an overall average audience of 1.13 million viewers for the entire tournament, with 15.5 million Canadians watching some part of the tournament. Team Canada’s games delivered an average audience of 2.15 million viewers. Team Canada’s semifinal showdown versus Team Russia attracted 3.09 million viewers, the most-watched game of the tournament.

The prime-time edition of Sportsnet Central delivered an average audience of 279,000 in September, more than 3 times the audience of its closest competitor in prime time. Year to date (Jan. 1 – Sept. 30, 2016), Sportsnet Central in prime time has attracted an average audience of 190,000, 72% ahead of its closest competitor. For the month of September, audiences for the morning edition of Sportsnet Central have increased 17% year-over-year while Tim & Sidhave delivered a 27% year-over-year audience increase, also in September…


…The Overwatch Open reaped nearly 180 million gross minutes of video consumption for ELeague and FACEIT across TBS and Twitch, with Twitch generating 7.4 million live video streams for the event as Misfits bested Team EnVyUs to claim the prize. The Grand Finals on TBS reached 2.6 million total viewers on the network on Friday, including a 47% rise among Men 18-34 compared with the same telecast window over the previous month. On social media, the tournament generated five million social impressions on Twitter and Facebook during weeklong coverage of the event. (Cynopsis Sports)…

…PBR on CBS Sports on Sunday drew 2.1 million viewers to the channel, according to Nielsen. That marks the most-watched PBR telecast of the season and second most-watched over the past three years.  (Cynopsis Sports)…

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters


The Latest in Sports Video Production & Technology
in Your Inbox for FREE

Daily Email Newsletters Monday - Friday