Ratings Roundup: The Yankees Set Spring Training Records, ESPN Notches Highest-Rated NCAA Regular Season Game

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 edition, the New York Yankees continue to set spring-training ratings records, and not just on YES; ABC’s Saturday night NBA game drew 5 million viewers at one point; ESPN broadcasted the highest-rated college basketball game of the season on any network and Fox Sports 1’s SuperCross coverage is up compared to last year.

The addition of Giancarlo Stanton by the New York Yankees this offseason has turned out to be a ratings boom for so far as the Bronx Bombers have been setting ratings records for not only their home network, YES, but the MLB Network as well.

The March 2 game against the Atlanta Braves on YES on  averaged a 1.38 household rating with 98,000 TV Households in the New York DMA watching, according to Nielsen, besting the viewership numbers set during YES’ Yankees-Detroit Tigers broadcast on Feb. 23 along with two ESPN NBA telecasts, as well as MSG’s New York Knicks, Rangers, Islanders and New Jersey Devils broadcasts.

Just two days later against the Tampa Bay Rays, YES scored its most-watched and most-viewed spring training telecast in five years, averaging a 1.61 TV Household rating, 114,000 Households and 145,000 viewers in the New York DMA, the highest-rated sports game telecast in the New York DMA on Sunday.

This game not only out-rated the Knicks and Devils on MSG, but also the New York Mets game on WPIX, ESPN’s NBA broadcast, the final round of the WGC on NBC and the final of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, shown by CBS.

The YES network hasn’t been the only benefactor of the Yankees so far this preseason, as the nationally-televised March 3 game between the Yankees and the rival Boston Red Sox was the network’s most-watched spring training game ever, averaging 322,000 viewers, breaking the record that was set by them just six days prior against the Philadelphia Phillies.

ESPN Primetime Celtics-Rockets Broadcast Delivers Huge Increase
The March 3 ESPN on ABC broadcast of the the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets  3,193,000 viewers, up 91 percent from last year’s broadcast between the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers, who drew 1,673,000 viewers, with a peak number of 4.99 million during the fourth quarter, according to Nielsen. Overall viewership for the Saturday night broadcast on ABC is up nine percent from last year, averaging 3,703,000 viewers.

Most-Watched College Basketball Game This Year Shown By ESPN
Thanks to the blood feud between the Duke Blue Devils and the UNC Tar Heels, the March 3 broadcast on ESPN was the highest-rated college basketball game on any network this season, with a Nielsen audience of 3,369,000 viewers. Because of that, ESPN has now aired the most-viewed regular season college basketball game for the past seven years.

Fox Sports 1’s Supercross Viewership Up 16%; On Pace For Most-Watched Year
Just nine events deep into the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, Fox Sports 1’s  coverage is averaging 354,000 viewers a race, which is up 16% over last season and the best season start since FS1’s 2013 debut, according to Nielsen. Additionally, the average-minute audience for Supercross races streamed on FOX Sports GO is up 68% compared to last year’s numbers.

Ratings Odds and Ends 

  • Coverage of the NFL Combine averaged a 0.17 rating and 267,000 viewers on NFL Network, down 3% in viewership from last year (276K) but up 19% from 2016 (225K). (SMW)
  • Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series from Las Vegas earned a 2.9 rating and 4.7 million viewers on FOX, down 19% in ratings and 21% in viewership from last year. (SMW)
  • Saturday’s Maple Leafs-Capitals NHL Stadium Series game had a 0.7 rating and 1.11 million viewers on NBC, down 36% in ratings and 42% in viewership from last year (Flyers-Penguins: 1.1, 1.9M). (SMW)
  • Celtics-Rockets scored a 1.9 rating and 3.2 million viewers on ABC’s NBA Saturday Primetime over the weekend, up 73% in ratings and 91% in viewership from last year (Clippers-Bulls: 1.1, 1.7M). (SMW)
  • Sunday’s Michigan-Purdue Big Ten Tournament final earned a 2.0 rating and 3.18 million viewers on CBS, down 13% in ratings and 11% in viewership from last year (Michigan-Wisconsin: 2.3, 3.6M). (SMW)
  • Saturday’s North Carolina-Duke college basketball game scored a 2.0 rating and 3.4 million viewers on ESPN, down 17% in ratings and 19% in viewership from last year (2.4, 4.2M). (SMW)

CLICK HERE for more in-depth ratings info from SportsMediaWatch.

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