Ratings Roundup: ABC Scores Most-Watched Post-Jordan NBA Finals Through Three Games
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, ABC is on track for the most-watched NBA Finals since 1998 (Michael Jordan’s last NBA Finals appearance), NBC thrived in Game 4 but struggled in Game 5 on the Stanley Cup Final, YES’s Yankees ratings are up 50% through the first two months of the season, Fox/Fox Deportes drew more than 3 million viewers for the Champions League Final, ESPN scores the most-watched women’s College World Series Finals sweep ever, and Sportsnet maintains its ratings dominance in Canada.
ABC’s NBA Finals Most-Watched Since 1998 Through Three Games
Despite the Warriors’ lopsided 3-0 lead over the Cavaliers, the 2017 NBA Finals on ABC is the most-watched NBA Finals since 1998 (Michael Jordan’s last Finals appearance) through three games. The series is averaging a total live audience (television plus streaming) of 19,984,000 average viewers, up 11% from 18,075,000 viewers in 2016. On ABC, the series is averaging 19,507,000 viewers (P2+), plus an average minute streaming audience of 421,000 viewers.
Wednesday’s Game 3 broadcast on ABC – the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 118-113 – delivered a total live audience of 20,494,000 average viewers, making it the most-watched NBA Finals Game 3 ever on ABC. Game 3 was up 22 percent from a total live audience of 16,787,000 viewers in 2016. On ABC, Game 3 delivered 20,048,000 average viewers (P2+) with an additional average minute streaming audience of 440,700 viewers. Game 3 peaked on ABC with 24,230,000 viewers from 11:30-11:45 p.m. ET. The NBA Finals on ABC won the night across all of television for the 58th consecutive time.
Game 4 Up, But Game 5 Down for Stanley Cup Final
Game 5 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final (a 6-0 Penguins rout of the Predators) averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 4.444 million viewers. According to SportsMediaWatch, the game earned a 3.1 overnight rating on NBC, down 14% from Sharks-Penguins last year (3.6) and down 18% from Blackhawks-Lightning on a Saturday night in 2015 (3.8). That is the lowest Game 5 overnight since Kings-Devils in 2012 (2.6).
Viewership of the blowout peaked with more than 5.2 million TV-only viewers in the 8:45-9 p.m. ET quarter hour at the end of the first period. The full contest averaged 4.382 million TV-only viewers and posted a 2.6 household rating.
Locally, Pittsburgh delivered a 32.3 local rating for Game 5 to lead all local U.S. markets (but down 12% from last year’s Game 5) followed by Nashville, which produced a 20.2 rating (the lowest of the series for the market). NBC was the No. 1 network overall in both markets during the game. Digitally, Game 5 delivered the 11.1 million live minutes, 174,000 uniques, and an average minute audience (AMA) of 62,000.
Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final pushed live streaming for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs to 2 million unique devices and more than a half-billion live minutes (507.8 million), both all-time records…
….While Game 5 struggled to pull in an audience, Monday night’s Game 4 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final on NBC (a 4-1 Predators win over the Penguins) was the second-most watched Stanley Cup Final Game 4 on record (according to Nielsen Fast Nationals). Penguins-Predators Game 4 on NBC (8:09-11:09 p.m. ET) averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 5.737 million viewers, up 34% vs. last year’s Game 4 between the Penguins and San Jose Sharks (4.291 million), surpassing every game of last year’s Stanley Cup Final, including the Cup-clinching Game 6 on NBC.
Despite neither Nashville (#29) nor Pittsburgh (#23) being a Top 20 TV market, the contest was the second-most watched Game 4 on record (since 1994), behind only Boston-Chicago on NBC in 2013 (6.459 million), which are the #9 and #3 TV markets, respectively. Through four games, the 2017 Stanley Cup Final is averaging a TAD of 4.231 million viewers, up 24% vs. 2016 (3.414 million).
Game 4 peaked with more than 6.3 million TV-only viewers during the 10:45-11 p.m. ET quarter-hour. The full contest averaged 5.654 million TV-only viewers and posted a 3.24 household rating, up 34% and 29%, respectively, vs. Game 4 a year ago (2.52 HH rating; 4.234 million viewers).
Locally, Nashville posted a 28.0 rating, an all-time record for the market for an NHL game on the networks of NBC, surpassing its Game 1 rating (22.5). Pittsburgh delivered a 30.9 local rating to lead all local U.S. markets. NBC was the No. 1 network overall in both markets during the game.
Digitally, Game 4 delivered the fourth-most live minutes ever for an NHL game with 16.7 million, up 66% vs. Game 4 last year (9.8 million). Penguins-Predators also totaled 217,000 unique devices and an Average Minute Audience of 83,000 viewers, both up 44%, respectively, vs. Penguins-Sharks in 2016 (151,000 devices and 57,000 AMA).
Through 82 games, the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs have delivered 1.9 million unique devices and 496.6 million live minutes, up 22% and 30%, respectively vs. 2016. With Thursday night’s Game 5, streaming for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs is expected to deliver 2 million unique devices and exceed a half-billion live minutes, both records.
YES’ Yankees Game Viewership Up by 50% Year-Over-Year
Viewership of YES’ Yankees games for the first two months of the 2017 season was up by 50% (347,000 vs. 232,000 average Total Viewers) year-over-year, and average TV Household ratings increased by 49% (3.54 vs. 2.37) during that same period year-over-year. YES’ average TV Household ratings actually grew by 9% from April 2017 to May 2017, from 3.39 to 3.70. YES delivered its best first two-month (April/May) average in five seasons (since 2012) in Total Viewers (347,000), TV Household ratings (3.54), TV Households (260,000) and in all key demos, including Males 18-34, Males 18-49, Males 25-54, Persons 18-34, Persons 18-49, Persons 25-54, Women 18-49 and Women 25-54.
YES’s primetime Yankees telecasts were #1 in cable in the New York DMA in April and May, as YES’ average TV Household ratings for its primetime Yankees games beat the ratings of all other cable networks’ primetime schedules on the 21 nights when YES televised Yankees games.
YES’ Yankees pre-game shows, post-game shows and Yankees Batting Practice Today shows enjoyed their highest viewership numbers in seven seasons (since 2010) in April and May. Yankees pre-game show viewership was up by 92% year-over-year, the post-game show is up by 59% year-over-year and Yankees Batting Practice Today is up by 94%.
YES registered 14.7 million video views across its various digital platforms (YESNetwork.com, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) last month, a 382% increase from May 2016
Ratings in April and May 2017 for YES’ live simulcast of ESPN Radio New York’s The Michael Kay Show were the highest for any YES radio simulcast dating back to 2004 (Mike & The Mad Dog); furthermore, YES’ simulcast ratings of The Michael Kay Showfor April and May 2017 were up by 121% compared to April and May 2016.
UEFA Champions League Final Draws 3M+ Viewers on Fox, Fox Deportes
On Saturday, June 3, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid defeated Italian powerhouse Juventus 4-1 to retain the UEFA Champions League title in a match that delivered more than 3 million viewers on FOX and FOX Deportes. The match drew 1,762,000 viewers on FOX, up +5% over last year’s Real Madrid vs. Atletico de Madrid final (1,682,000). On FOX Deportes, the match attracted 1,241,000 total viewers, making it the most-watched watch Spanish-language cable sports program in the U.S. for the week
Saturday’s match delivered an average minute audience of 56,116 for both the English and Spanish streams.
ESPN Scores Most-Watched Women’s College World Series Finals Sweep Ever
The Oklahoma Sooners’ two-game sweep of the Florida Gators in the Women’s College World Series Finals (June 5-6 on ESPN) averaged a total live audience (TV + streaming) of 1,720,000 viewers, the most-watched sweep in Women’s College World Series Finals history (Best-of-three WCWS Finals began in 2005). The Sooner-Gators’ two games in the best-of-three format was up 33% from 2014, the last time the WCWS Finals failed to go to a decisive third game. This year’s two-game average was also up 33% over last season’s WCWS Finals first two games (June 6-7, 2016) featuring Oklahoma and Auburn. The Sooners won the series in three games.
This season’s WCWS Finals saw Oklahoma and Florida play in the longest game in Women’s College World Series Finals history (June 5) when the first game of the series concluded after 17 innings. The instant-classic averaged a total live audience (TV + streaming) of 1,677,000 viewers, the most-watched WCWS Finals Game 1 ever.
The WCWS Finals set new WCWS streaming records in all three major metrics. The five-hour-plus WCWS Finals Game 1 saw more than 662,000 total users stream 15,000,000 total minutes, easily the highest ever for a WCWS Game. The second game surpassed more than 406,000 total users streaming nearly seven million minutes, the second-best ever for a WCWS game, trailing only the first game of the finals. The two WCWS Finals games also set new individual WCWS records for average minute streaming audience. To no surprise, all three categories and both games were significant increases from last year’s streaming audience.
ESPN’s Women’s College World Series coverage – televised in its entirety by ESPN for the 18th straight year – averaged a total live audience of 984,000 viewers across the 14 games (June 1-6), up 21% from last year’s event (15 games, including a three-game WCWS Finals)
In other WCWS numbers, Oklahoma vs. Oregon (June 4 on ESPN) had a total live audience of 1,249,000 viewers, a top 3 early-round WCWS game ever.
Prior to the WCWS, ESPN televised every game of the Super Regionals (21 games) from May 26-28, averaging 477,000 viewers for just its TV audience, up 34% from last year’s entire presentation (19 games). To begin the NCAA Division I Softball Championship, ESPN produced the entire regional round – 99 games from all 16 sites for the first time ever. The television games in that round averaged 301,000 viewers a game.
Sportsnet is Canada’s #1 Specialty Network for Third Straight Year
Sportsnet announced this week that it ranks as the #1 overall, but is also #1 for male, female and millennial audiences in all core demographics. Since 2015, Sportsnet has had the largest share and average minute audience of any Canadian specialty network. In addition, Sportsnet NOW unique visitors have increased by 123% versus this time last year, indicating the increasing demand for live sports content on-the-go on multiple mobile devices. CLICK HERE for full viewership info.