Ratings Roundup: Brooklyn’s Victory Over Lakers Nets Highest Rating in Four Years; NFL on CBS Tops Season High Mark With Ben vs. Brady

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 Nets’ win over the Lakers breaks a four-year ratings mark, the NFL on CBS notches the highest-rated game of the season, overall season numbers for NFL broadcasts are on the upswing, viewership for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final draw nearly doubled, and Formula 1’s return to ESPN sees a positive increase.

Photo: Newsday

Nets Defeat L.A. in Most-Watched Game Since 2014
The YES Network’s Lakers-Nets telecast on Tuesdat night generated a 1.39 average TV household rating in the New York DMA, the network’s highest-rated Nets game since December 8, 2014 (vs. the Cavs, featuring LeBron James), which grabbed a 1.59 rating. YES’ Lakers-Nets telecast last night peaked with a 2.23 rating between 9:30-9:45 pm ET.

NFL on CBS Wins Ratings Game With Wire-to-Wire Finish
CBS Sports scored the highest-rated NFL game of the season on any network with a 16.5/32 average household rating/share in the metered markets for the New England-Pittsburgh game.

The NFL on CBS’ doubleheader average for the day’s coverage on Sunday, Dec. 16 earned an increase in the ratings of +6%, 12.5/25 versus last year’s 11.8/24…

Sunday Night Football on NBC felt a hit in ratings. According to SportsMediaWatch, the Eagles-Rams matchup scored a 10.8 rating and 18.1 million viewers on the latest edition of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, down 3% in ratings and 6% in viewership from last year (Cowboys-Raiders: 11.1, 19.2M) and down 21% and 25% respectively from 2016 (Buccaneers-Cowboys: 13.6, 24.1M). Philadelphia’s upset win was the lowest rated and least-watched Week 15 SNF game since 2015 (Cardinals-Eagles: 10.5, 18.1M). It was just the sixth game on NBC this season to decline (17 total telecasts), and the fourth to hit a multi-year low…

…The Thursday Night Football finale between the Chargers and Chiefs delivered a 12.4/22 metered market rating, which was the second-best rating of the season. In addition, the game was +68% over last year’s comparable Week 15 matchup (vs. 7.4/13). As for the first installment of football on Saturday’s, Browns-Broncos scored a 4.2 rating and 7.29 million viewers on NFL Network, up 5% in ratings and 4% in viewership from last year (Chargers-Chiefs: 4.0, 6.99M), and up 68% and 66% respectively from 2016 (Jets-Dolphins: 2.5, 4.39M). The Browns’ win was the most-watched Saturday NFL game on NFL Network since 2015 (Washington-Philadelphia: 4.7, 8.15M) (SMW)…

…Fox’s single header window, featuring Cowboys-Colts in 46% of markets, earned an 11.7 rating and 20.0 million viewers — up 10% in ratings and 11% in viewership from last year (ft. Packers-Panthers: 10.6, 18.1M) and up 8% and 7% respectively from 2016 (ft. Lions-Giants: 10.8, 18.7M). The telecast, which also included Packers-Bears in 11% of markets, ranks as the highest rated single header since Week 15 of the 2015 season (ft. Panthers-Giants: 14.5). It was also the most-watched since Week 4 of last season (ft. Rams-Cowboys: 20.1M) (SMW)

…ESPN’s Week 15 Monday Night Football game (8:13-11:21 p.m. ET) – a New Orleans Saints’ 12-9 victory over the Carolina Panthers – averaged 13,092,000 viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen. This is an increase of 37% vs. last year’s week 15 game (9,552,000 viewers).

On ESPN, Saints-Panthers averaged a 7.9 US household rating and 13,006,000 viewers. The telecast peaked from 11-11:15 p.m. ET with a 9.3 US household rating and 15,260,000 viewers. On ESPN Deportes, Saints-Panthers averaged an additional 86,000 viewers. In local markets,  New Orleans delivered a 13.4 rating on ESPN and a 46.4 rating on WDSU-NBC, for a combined 59.8 rating in the market. In Charlotte, the game delivered a 10.3 rating on ESPN and a 16.1 rating on WJZY-FOX, for a combined 26.4 rating in the market.

The top metered markets (not including those of the competing teams): Greensboro (16.9), Raleigh-Durham (13.3), Norfolk (12.7), Kansas City (12.3), San Diego and Seattle-Tacoma (11.9), Richmond-Petersburg (11.6), Washington D.C. (11.5), Greenville (10.9), and Minneapolis-St. Paul (10.7).

Overall, NFL telecasts have remained on the upswing through Week 15 of the season. For example: The NFL on CBS’ season-to-date rating is up +6% from a year ago (10.9/23 vs. 10.3/21), MNF on ESPN is up 10% vs. last year with 11,817,000 average viewers, and the Thursday Night Football season delivered an average audience of 14.9 million viewers, which is up +4% versus the 2017 10-game Thursday Night Football average (vs. 14.2 million).

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final Draw on Telemundo Grows Since 2014 Edition
Telemundo Deportes’ coverage of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Final Draw that aired on December 8 on simulcast across Telemundo and Universo, nearly doubled the network’s average of the 2014 Final Draw broadcast by +86% among adults 18-49 and + 87% among total viewers, according to Nielsen.

Telemundo and Universo’s coverage averaged 80,000 adults 18-49 and 166,000 total viewers outperforming FS2’s live coverage by more than 10x (+1233% and +1007% respectively). The simulcast also outperformed FS1’s primetime repeat by +25% among adults P18-49 and +38% among total viewers.

Formula 1 on ESPN Crosses Finish Line in First Season in 21 Years
The recently-completed 2018 season for the FIA Formula One World Championship marked the return of the series to ESPN and ABC on American television and fans tuned in, making F1 the only major racing series to see year-over-year viewership growth in the U.S. for the season.

Over the course of the 21-race season, ESPN networks averaged 547,722 viewers for race windows airing on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, a 2% increase over the 2017 average of 538,114 across NBC, NBCSN, and CNBC.

For all F1 events, ESPN networks aired live coverage of three practice sessions, qualifying, and the race, with re-airs of the race telecast. ESPN, Sky Sports, and Formula 1 also joined forces to bring Sky’s award-winning presentation for Formula 1 to American viewers. Beginning with the second race of the season, the live race telecasts were presented commercial-free.

Other highlights include

  • ESPN’s live telecast of the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix averaged 820,000 viewers, the largest audience for an F1 telecast on cable since 1995.
  • A Monaco encore telecast on ABC earned 1.6 million viewers, with the combined 2.4 million viewers representing a 41% rise over 2017’s combined NBC and NBCSN telecasts.
  • The Bahrain and British Grand Prix telecasts saw the season’s largest year-over-year audience growth (up 67% and 39%, respectively).
  • The Bahrain event averaged 692,014 viewers on ESPN2, at that point early in the season making it cable’s largest F1 audience since 2012.
  • Telecasts of qualifying averaged 248,066 viewers in 2018, a year-over-year increase of 14%.

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