Ratings Roundup: 100th Edition of the PGA Championship Captivates Fans With Final Round Fireworks; “The Ocho” Returns to ESPN With Success

Ratings roundup is a rundown of rating news from the past week and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, the 100th edition of the PGA Championship aired on CBS Sports and digitally on TNT, ESPN “The Ocho” racks in huge success in its second appearance, NBC Sports almost hit double digits in the millions for the Rugby World Cup Sevens, MLB Network enjoys a seven day stretch of coverage, and Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN presents their highest-rated game in four years.

CBS Sports and TNT Digital Service Benefit from Koepka’s Win at the PGA Championship
The Final Round of the 2018 PGA Championship was the most-watched in nine years on CBS (10.1 million in 2009). An average of 8.5 million viewers (Persons 2+) tuned in — an increase of 73% compared to last year’s 4.9 million.

The final-round viewership peaked with an average of 12.3 million viewers from 6:30-7:00 PM, ET.

Turner Sports’ extensive coverage of this year’s historic 100th PGA Championship delivered all-time records across PGA Digital assets — PGA.com, PGAChampionship.com, PGA Championship App — and significant gains for live video consumption across all platforms.

The Turner-managed PGA suite of digital products established new all-time records — and triple-digit year-over-year gains — in live video starts (up 119% vs. 2017), time spent viewing (up 105%), and total audience (up 107%, based on unique visitors) for a PGA Championship. This year’s live event coverage produced PGA.com’s best Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday performance ever for the PGA Championship based on live video consumption; Friday’s action was suspended because of weather.

TNT garnered its most-watched PGA Championship coverage since 2015, averaging 1.3 million viewers for an 11% increase when compared to last year. Additionally, the event produced its most-viewed third and fourth rounds since 2010 (up 40% and 39%, respectively, vs. 2017). Sunday’s final round telecast — which peaked with 2.5 million viewers from 1:30-45 p.m. ET — averaged 1.9 million viewers.

Additional highlights include:

  • TNT’s coverage of the PGA Championship delivered double-digit gains across all key demos vs. last year, including a 20% increase in People 18-49, 19% growth in People/Men 25-54 and an 18% boost in People 18-34.
  • Live streaming across Watch TNT, Turner’s TV Everywhere platform, established a new high for PGA Championship coverage and delivered a 25% lift in video consumption vs. 2017.
  • PGA accounts managed by Turner Sports generated more than 10 million video views across Twitter and Instagram, up 58% when compared to the 2017 PGA Championship.

ESPN “The Ocho” Shines in Year 2
ESPN’s second annual ESPN8 “The Ocho” presented by KFC Battle of the Buckets event returned with a vengeance, this time on ESPN2, with a jump in average total audience of 150% over last year’s showing on ESPNU.

The most viewed sporting event on the slate of alternative sports programming was the 2018 Dodgeball World Cup with 247,000 average viewers — up 226% over last year’s most viewed event, the 2017 Championship of Bags. Moxie Games and Kabaddi came in at second and third respectively. Both events saw significant increases in average viewership over last year with Kabaddi seeing a 351% increase and Moxie Games seeing a 106% increase.

Targeted as a cross-platform initiative, overall social media sentiment for “The Ocho” skewed positive at 89%. There were nearly 15,000 social mentions over the 24-hour period with a peak traffic time between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Rugby World Cup Sevens Sees 9 Million Viewers
NBC Sports’ comprehensive coverage of the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens from AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., from July 20-22, featured numerous viewership milestones, highlighted by what is believed to be the most-watched live rugby telecast on record.

NBC Sports’ coverage of the Rugby World Cup Sevens reached nearly 9 million viewers across five telecasts on NBC and NBCSN. NBC Sports presented a pair of telecasts on NBC, punctuated by coverage on Sunday, July 22 (2:30-5 p.m. ET), which averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.365 million viewers, ranking as what is believed to be the most-watched live rugby telecast on record in the U.S.

July 22’s telecast on NBCSN (7:33-9:37 p.m. ET), which was highlighted by live coverage of the championship final in which New Zealand defeated England, 33-12, averaged a TAD of 370,000 viewers to rank as NBCSN’s most-watched rugby telecast on record. Streaming coverage across NBC Sports’ digital platforms delivered 1.7 million live minutes and 36,000 uniques.

Overall, NBC Sports presented more than 30 hours of live Rugby World Cup Sevens coverage across NBC, NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, and NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product, representing the most robust U.S. coverage of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in the event’s history.

2018 MLB Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Highlights Seven Day Stretch for MLB Network
The best seven-day stretch in three years was experienced by MLB Network during July 29 and August 4, according to Cynopsis Sports. With the Hall of Fame ceremony taking place in Cooperstown, the trade deadline, and two marquee matchups between the Red Sox and Yankees, the week-long stretch was the third best in the regular season. The HOF induction ceremony averaged 340,000 viewers — up 31%.

Red Sox vs. Yankees Catapult Sunday Night Baseball to Best Mark in Four Years
The 10-inning affair between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees on August 5 delivered the best Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell rating in four years. The telecast drew a 2.2 metered market rating, making it the highest-rated Sunday Night Baseball telecast since June 22, 2014 (Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels, 2.4). This excludes the Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals 2017 Opening Night telecast, held on a Sunday.

The Red Sox vs. Yankees telecast was up 83% from last year’s comparable game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers, which drew a 1.2 metered market rating.

Sunday Night Baseball generated a 10.8 rating in the Boston metered market, making it the highest-rated ESPN MLB telecast in the market in seven years, since August 7, 2011, which also featured a matchup against the Yankees. In the New York market, the telecast drew a 5.7 rating.

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