Ratings Roundup: Michigan-OSU is Most-Watched CFB Game of Season; 10 Million Canadians Tune in for Grey Cup

Ratings roundup is a rundown of ratings news from the past week and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, Michigan-Ohio State takes the crown as the most-watched college football game of the season and earns College GameDay its most-watched episode ever, roundup of week 12 in the NFL, NBCSN Delivers Best F1 Season for a Single Cable Network in Two Decades, 10 Million Canadians Watch the 104th Grey CuP on TSN/RDS, Univision Hits Jackpot With Liga MX Playoff Stage of the Apertura 2016, and more. 

More Than 17 Million Viewers for Michigan at Ohio State
Michigan-Ohio State’s total live audience viewership (TV + digital) has surpassed 17 million viewers, making the Big Ten matchup the most-watched game of the season across all networks. The Wolverines-Buckeyes (noon ET on ABC) final total live audience is 17,120,000 viewers, which includes an ESPN college football regular season record-breaking streaming average audience (279,000 viewers). ABC’s TV audience (16,841,000 viewers) surpassed the network’s Notre Dame-Texas game from opening weekend (Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m.) as the most-watched game across all networks.

osumichfeaturedSeason-to-date, ABC has televised four of the five most-watched college football games across all networks. The top five are 16,841,000 for Michigan at Ohio State on Nov. 26; 10,945,000 for Notre Dame at Texas on Sept. 4; 10,385,000 for Alabama at LSU on Nov. 5 (on CBS); 9,294,000 for Louisville at Clemson on Oct. 1; and 8,964,000 for Ohio State at Wisconsin on Oct. 15, 2016.

The game was the most-watched college football regular season noon ET kickoff across all networks on record (dating back to 1990), ABC’s second most-viewed game dating back to 1991 (out of 791 game windows), top five most-watched regular season game across all networks – which includes conference championship games – on record, and ESPN’s most-streamed regular season game ever, including surpassing one million unique users and 69 million minutes watched. The game was also the most social college football event this season with 3,300,000 million uniques and 7,700,000 million total interactions.

NBC Scores Most-Watched TNF Game Ever
Last night’s Dallas Cowboys’ 17-15 down-to-the-wire victory over the Minnesota Vikings ranks as the most-watched Thursday Night Football game ever with a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 22.2 million viewers across all platforms – NBC, NFL Network, NBC Sports Digital, Twitter, and NFL Digital (according to Nielsen Fast Nationals, Adobe Analytics and Twitter data). NBC’s Thursday Night Football last night averaged 21.8 million TV-only viewers – also the best ever for TNF. The previous most-watched TNF game averaged 21.1 million viewers as the Peyton Manning-led Broncos topped the Chiefs 31-24 on Sept. 17, 2015. TV viewership on NBC and NFL Network peaked at 23.5 million from 10:45-11 p.m. ET. Last night’s game (8:27-11:33 p.m. ET) registered a national household TV rating of 12.8/22.

The Average Minute Audience (AMA) for last night’s live stream via Twitter, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital was 479,000 viewers – also a record for Thursday Night Football. More than 89 million live minutes of Thursday Night Football were streamed across NBC Sports Digital, NFL Digital, and Twitter – up 50% from Saints-Panthers on Nov. 17. In total, Twitter reached 3.5 million combined worldwide viewers for pregame coverage and Cowboys-Vikings for a minimum of three seconds with that video being 100% in view. For the Thursday Night Football game alone, Twitter reached 2.9 million viewers. This is the most total viewers for a Thursday Night Football game on Twitter this season (through seven games). The average audience (AMA) watching Thursday Night Football on Twitter properties was 310,000.

The Cowboys posted a combined 37.3/57 rating on NBC and NFL Network in Dallas – the team’s best local market rating since Week 4 of last season, a stretch of 24 games (37.4/54 for Cowboys-Saints on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, 10/4/15).

College GameDay at Ohio State: Most-Watched Episode in Show’s History
College GameDay from Ohio State on Saturday, Nov. 26 (9 a.m. – noon ET), was the show’s most-watched regular-season episode on record (382 episodes), garnering a total live audience of 2,682,000 average viewers. ESPN’s TV audience (2,614,000 viewers) is the largest for the show since November 24, 2007, from Kansas City – which includes all episodes since the show expanded to three hours in 2013 – and is the second best for the program. Saturday was the most-streamed episode of GameDay, earning an average minute audience of 68,000 viewers. Saturday’s College GameDay began with a special start time in advance of the epic showdown between Michigan and Ohio State, with the extra two hours (7 a.m. – 9 a.m.) delivering a total live audience of 885,000 average viewers.

More on Week 13 of ESPN’s College Football Season 
In week 13 of the college football season, fans watched more than 12,535,457,000 minutes of college football action on ESPN’s Nielsen-rated television networks**, 3.2 times more than all other nationally rated television networks combined (3,957,874,000 minutes). For the second time ever, more than 3,000,000 unique viewers streamed ESPN college football in a single week. ESPN’s networks aired six of the seven most-watched games across all networks, led by the Michigan-Ohio State game

As for ESPN’s other games that week, LSU at Texas A&M (Thursday, Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m.) delivered a Total live audience of 2,821,000 viewers, ESPN’s most-watched Thursday night telecast of the season. ABC’s Saturday Night Football Florida at Florida State (8 p.m.) earned a total live audience of 6,513,000 viewers, up 35% from last year’s week 13 Saturday Night Football game (Oklahoma at Oklahoma State). Notre Dame at USC (3:30 p.m. ET) notched a total live audience of 5,723,000 viewers, up 34% from last year’s comparable time slot (regional action: UCLA at USC and North Carolina at North Carolina State)

NFL Week 12 Roundup
ESPN’s Week 12 Monday Night Football game (8:15-11:36 p.m. ET) – a Green Bay Packers 27-13 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles – delivered a total live audience (TV + Streaming) of 13,383,000 average viewers. This is ESPN’s second-largest MNF audience of the 2016 season, behind the week four Giants-Vikings game, which delivered a total live audience of 13,494,000 average viewers. On TV (ESPN and ESPN Deportes), the game delivered 13,129,000 average viewers. On ESPN, the game averaged a 7.8 US household rating. The game rating peaked during the 9:30-9:45 p.m. quarter hour with a 9.2 household rating and 15,510,000 viewers. ESPN’s streaming audience for Packers-Eagles attracted an additional average minute audience of 254,000 viewers across the ESPN and ESPN Deportes streams, a 96 percent gain year-over-year. Between the two streams there were 616,000 viewers who watched 51 million live minutes – up 52 and 87 percent year-over-year, respectively. In Milwaukee, the game delivered a 17.4 rating on ESPN and a 27.4 on WISN-ABC, for a combined 44.8 rating in the market. In Philadelphia, the game delivered a 13.8 rating on ESPN and a 16.1 on WPVI-ABC, for a combined 29.9 rating in the market.

Meanwhile, Sunday Night Football delivered an 11.8 household rating for the OT battle between the Broncos and Chiefs. The NBC matchup was off-pace by 37% below the household rating for 2015’s Week 12 SNF game, which scored a 16.2 in the overnights in a Broncos/Patriots showdown. Top markets for KC/Denver: Denver 45.9/68; Kansas City 41.0/60; Albuquerque 20.8/32; Vegas 17.1/27; Sacramento 16.4/26.

FOX Sports’ Redskins/Cowboys game earned an verage of 35.1 million viewers to rank as the most-watched regular season NFL game in company history. The game’s 15.6/38 Nielsen metered market score, up 14% over last year’s contest pitting the Eagles/Lions.

CBS Sports’ Thanksgiving Day broadcast of Minnesota vs. Detroit scored with an average viewership of 27.6 million (Persons 2+), up +9%  from last year’s comparable window (Philadelphia vs. Detroit; 25.4 million,  FOX; 12:36-3:43 PM, ET), according to Nielsen fast national ratings (Live + Same Day).  The 27.6 million viewers was CBS’s most-watched NFL regular-season broadcast this season and overall most-watched since last year’s Thanksgiving Day game (Carolina vs. Dallas; 32.5 million). The average household fast national rating/share of 13.0/32 is up +6% from last year’s 12.3/30 from last year’s comparable window (Philadelphia vs. Detroit; 12.3/30  FOX). Thursday’s game window peaked with an average of 31.7 million viewers and an average HH rating/share of 14.4/38 from 3:00-3:30 PM, ET.

NBCSN Delivers Best F1 Season for a Single Cable Network in Two Decades
For the second consecutive season, NBCSN has delivered the best Formula One viewership for a single cable network in 21 years. NBCSN’s 2016 F1 coverage (14 races) averaged 429,000 viewers, up 3% vs. 2015 (418,000; 13 races), to rank as the best F1 season for a single cable network since 1995 (ESPN: 755,000 viewers). Due to the variety of race locations around the globe, a majority of F1 races begin at 7:30 a.m. ET or earlier.

NBCSN tied a network-record with five Grands Prix averaging more than 500,000 viewers (Bahrain, European, German, Belgian, Brazilian). The season finale at Abu Dhabi, which featured the championship battle between Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, averaged 467,000 viewers (7:31-10:12 a.m. ET). Viewership of Abu Dhabi was up 48% from 2015 (316,000), the largest increase in viewership for any race on NBCSN this season.

Overall, NBC Sports Group’s F1 coverage on NBC/NBCSN/CNBC (20 races) averaged 482,000 viewers, while significantly televising 155 hours of premiere F1 coverage, the most since acquiring F1 rights prior to the 2013 season.

Digitally, the 2016 F1 season set records across the board on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. More than 37 million minutes of F1 race coverage were streamed, up 231% vs. the 2015 season (11.2 million). Overall, the 2016 F1 season’s Average Minute Audience was up 187% vs. 2015 (12,000 vs. 4,100)*. Four races in 2016 eclipsed two million minutes streamed (Canadian, Belgian, Brazilian and Abu Dhabi); last year, no race finished with over one million minutes streamed. The Brazilian Grand Prix was the most-streamed F1 race ever, with nearly three million minutes streamed…

Grey Cup, MLS Eastern Conference Championship Draw Big Numbers on TSN, RDS
10 million unique viewers, or nearly 30% of Canadians, tuned in to TSN and RDS for Sunday’s overtime thriller at the 104th GREY CUP (according to preliminary overnight data from Numeris) – up 3% compared to last year.An average audience of 3.9 million viewers tuned in to TSN (3.6 million) and RDS (254,000) as the Ottawa Redblacks secured a dramatic 39-33 OT win over the Calgary Stampeders. The average audience for the 104th GREY CUP peaked at 5.7 million viewers late in the fourth quarter as a Calgary field goal forced the game into overtime, which saw Ottawa’s Ernest Jackson secure an 18-yard strike from GREY CUP MVP Henry Burris for the game’s decisive score. Nationwide, the average audience for the game grew 15% among male viewers aged 18-34, and grew 4% among male viewers aged 18-49. TSN’s exclusive live coverage of the 104th GREY CUP presented by Shaw also made TSN the most-watched channel in Canada on Sunday, ahead of all conventional network overnight audiences by 151%.

Live streaming audiences on TSN Digital platforms marked an increase of 35% compared to last year’s GREY CUP. The neon-lit halftime performance by multi-platinum rockers OneRepublic during the Grey Cup Halftime Show attracted an average audience of 3.5 million viewers. An average audience of 1.9 million viewers stayed to watch TSN’s extensive post-game coverage. TSN’s 360-video pre-game content – a GREY CUP production first – attracted more than 23,000 total views. TSN’s official Snapchat story featuring behind-the-scenes content from the 104th GREY CUP presented by Shaw attracted 219,000 views…

…In other big ratings in Canada, Wednesday’s Toronto FC/Montreal Impact MLS Eastern Conference Championship telecast drew an average audience of 1.4 million viewers (Numeris overnights) on TSN (862,000) and RDS (519,000) – breaking the record for Canada’s most-watched MLS game in history. The game’s average audience marked a 35% increase over the previous record, set by the two teams just last week in their thrilling Leg #1 matchup. Overall, 4.4 million unique viewers watched some part of the Leg #2 match on TSN and RDS, with audience levels peaking at 9:23 p.m. ET as Canadian striker Tosaint Ricketts scored an extra time goal for TFC to seal the victory.

…Sportsnet was the most-watched sports TV network in Canada in November.  This marks the first time in network history Sportsnet has won the month. From January through November 2016, Sportsnet has won eight months and has widened the gap ahead of its closest competitor with a lead of 46% in average minute audience and a 48% lead in audience share. So far this season, Hockey Night in Canada Game 1 is up 4%, averaging 1.95 million viewers, while the Hockey Central Saturday pre-game show is up 48%. Toronto Raptors coverage on Sportsnet has increased 17%. Sportsnet Central in prime time is up 39%, beating its closest competitor by 17%. Hockey Central at 6:30 p.m. ET is 23% ahead of the competitor’s hockey show in the same timeslot. Tim & Sid’s popularity continues to soar with a 46% audience increase. Hockey Central at Noon is up 86%

Univision Hits Jackpot With Liga MX Playoff Stage of the Apertura 2016
Univision Deportes delivered most-watched Quarterfinal round for the Liga MX Liguilla (playoffs) ever on UCI with all key demographics. The Thursday “Súper Clásico” match between Club América and Chivas de Guadalajara on Univision Network, simulcast on UDN, delivered an average audience of 2.9 million Total Viewers 2+ and 1.6 million Adults 18-49, delivering the largest audience ever, on any network, for a first leg match in a Liga MX Quarterfinal round. Sunday’s airing of the second leg of the “Súper Clásico” match on Univision Network, simulcast on UDN, delivered an average audience of 3.0 million Total Viewers 2+ and 1.6 million Adults 18-49. Additionally, the second leg matchup on UDN between Tigres and León delivered 875,000 Total Viewers 2+ and 545,000 Adults 18-49. Coverage of Liga MX playoffs on UDN made it the No. 2 primetime sports network, regardless of language, last week.

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