Ratings Roundup: 2019 NFL Campaign Hits Quarter-Mark, NL East Champs Grab Seven Year Regular Season Best
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 major networks churn out numbers for Week 4 action, the final MLB regular-season ratings are in, and Telemundo Deportes once again captures the best Spanish-language sports show.
NFL’s Past Week on the Airwaves
The Thursday Night Football game featuring the Philadelphia Eagles’ 34-27 win over the Green Bay Packers was seen by an average audience of 18.6 million across all platforms, including Fox, NFL Network, FoxDeportes, NFL digital, Fox Sports digital, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch, and Yahoo Sports.
The 18.6 million viewers for Eagles-Packers across all platforms is up +25% versus the 2018 11-game Fox Thursday Night Football average and up +23% versus last year’s Week 4 Thursday Night Football matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams.
Eagles-Packers is the second most-watched game since Fox began broadcasting Thursday Night Football in 2018, behind the New Orleans Saints-Dallas Cowboys matchup in Week 13 last season (22.2 million).
The Nielsen-measured audience was 17.7 million – up +23% versus the 2018 11-game FOX Thursday Night Football average (14.3 million) and up +22% versus the 2018 Week 4 Thursday Night Football game (14.5 million). Additionally, Eagles-Packers averaged a 10.5 HH rating – up +21% versus the 2018 11-game Fox Thursday Night Football average (8.7 HH rating) and up +18% versus last year’s Vikings-Rams matchup (8.9 HH rating).
Digital streaming across Amazon Prime Video, Twitch, NFL digital, Fox Sports digital, and Yahoo Sports platforms produced an average minute audience of 1.4 million – the highest digital average minute audience for any regular season NFL game on record. Additionally, digital audience increased +91% versus the 2018 11-game Fox Thursday Night Football average (728K) and +70% versus last year’s Week 4 Thursday Night Football matchup (817K).
Amazon Prime Video and Twitch reached a total of 3.2 million combined viewers worldwide for the FOX NFL Thursday pregame show and the Eagles-Packers game. For the Eagles-Packers game alone, 2.9 million worldwide viewers initiated a stream on Prime Video or Twitch. The average worldwide audience watching the Thursday Night Football game for at least 30 seconds on Prime Video or Twitch was 877K…
…CBS Sports’ NFL national game scored in the ratings with 13.0/26 average household rating/share in the metered markets, a +6% increase versus its comparable national game window last year (12.3/24; Week 4 – 9/30/18). The national game was highlighted by the Minnesota-Chicago game.
Through the first quarter of the NFL season, The NFL on CBS’ season-to-date rating is its highest in three years, up +5%, averaging an 11.0/23 household rating/share in the metered markets (2016; 11.3/23).
The regional game coverage window earned a 9.3/21 average HH rating/share, up +1% from last year’s 9.2/20…
…NBC Sports saw its best Week 4 finish in Sunday Night Football history, with a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) average of 24.7 million viewers, according to fast national data released by Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics. The game eclipsed the network’s best start through Week 4 since 2016.
The Cowboys-Saints TAD of 24.7 million viewers across NBC TV, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms, represents a 35% increase over last year’s Week 4 game (18.2 million for Ravens-Steelers) and is the most-watched regular-season game on NBC in nearly three years (26.7 million for Cowboys-Giants on Dec. 11, 2016).
NBC’s Sunday Night Football is averaging 21.4 million viewers across all platforms this season – the best start for the series through Week 4 (five games) since 2016, and up 5% from the same point last season (20.3 million viewers).
The Average Minute Audience (AMA) for Sunday night’s live stream via NBC Sports Digital and NFL Digital platforms was 599,000 viewers – NBC Sports Digital’s most-streamed, authenticated SNF regular-season game on record, and more than double last year’s Week 4 SNF game (286,000 for Ravens-Steelers). NBC Sports Digital’s AMA of 519,000 viewers for SNF through Week 4 is up 36% from the same point last season.
Last night’s game averaged 24.1 million viewers on NBC TV, marking an NFL-high 26th time (in 29 appearances) since 2011 that the Cowboys played in an NBC SNF game which delivered at least 20 million TV viewers. The Saints moved into the top 10, with their sixth such SNF game in that stretch. Below are the teams to play in the most blockbuster viewership games (20 million viewers) since 2011, when NBC Sunday Night Football began its streak as the #1 primetime show for an unprecedented eight consecutive years:
The late-night game (8:23 p.m.-11:18p.m. ET) registered a national TV household rating of 13.7/27, and peaked at 26.0 million TV viewers from 9:30-9:45 p.m. ET. The top 10 metered market ratings include New Orleans (57.0/74), Dallas (38.2/59), San Antonio (31.1/47), Austin (28.8/48), Albuquerque (23.6/38), Norfolk (20.3/34), Richmond (20.0/31), Memphis (20.0/30), Houston (19.8/35), and Philadelphia (19.0/31)…
MLB Closes Book on 2019 Regular Season
The 2019 Major League Baseball season generated consistently strong fan engagement, increased consumption, and significant accomplishments in participation and fandom over the past six months.
MLB’s three national TV partners registered viewership increases during the 2019 season. The MLB on Fox package averaged 2.403 million viewers, marking an +8% increase over last year and its highest average since 2012 (2.536 million) based on Nielsen Fast Nationals. ESPN Sunday Night Baseball averaged 1.601 million viewers, an increase of +2% over last year’s average of 1.572 million. Prior to its final game yesterday, MLB on TBS average viewership increased +10% over last season.
Baseball fans are increasing their use of MLB digital products to watch and follow their favorite teams and action across the league. This season, MLB.TV, the league’s out-of-market streaming service, increased +15% in paid subscriptions. The MLB At Bat app featured an +18% increase in app starts over last year and surpassed 2 billion starts this year. As a result, MLB digital platforms across mobile and web ranked number one in all of U.S. sports and sports media for Average Minutes Per Visitor from April through August, based on monthly comScore rankings. In addition, MLB At Bat ranked number one among all U.S. sports and sports media apps in Total Minutes Consumed and Average Minutes Consumed during that same period in the comScore rankings.
MLB games on Regional Sports Networks currently rank number one in primetime on cable in 24 of the 25 U.S. markets where MLB teams play.
MLB’s first season of exclusive game broadcasts on YouTube and YouTube TV, a 13-game package produced by MLB Network that began in July after the All-Star Game, generated 1.2 million live average views per game.
From a team perspective, the Atlanta Braves captured their second straight NL East title, driving a second consecutive year of growth for Braves content on Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast during the 2019 MLB regular season. The networks’ 3.62 average household (HH) rating in the Atlanta DMA represents a 13% increase versus the 2018 season, and is the highest average HH rating since 2013. The year-over-year (YoY) double-digit increase is significant considering the networks saw the largest HH rating growth in all of Major League Baseball for the 2018 season with a 76% uptick. Over the past two seasons, HH ratings have grown 99% in the Atlanta DMA.
Braves telecasts on the networks delivered a 3.89 primetime HH rating average in the Atlanta DMA during the 2019 season, ranking #1 in prime among all cable networks. Among all television in the Atlanta DMA, Braves games on the networks rank #2. Additionally, the networks’ HH primetime ratings ranked #1 for 39 nights for all of television in the Atlanta DMA during MLB regular season.
Viewers continued to show support for the in-depth coverage delivered by the networks’ accomplished roster of broadcasters throughout the season. Braves LIVE, the network’s flagship postgame show, saw a 21% HH rating increase YoY. Additionally, Fox Sports South and Southeast HH ratings outpaced national networks (ESPN, FS1, TBS) televising the same game by an average of 242% in the Atlanta DMA.
As the Braves built their lead in the NL East following MLB All-Star Week, ratings on the networks experienced a substantial surge in the Atlanta DMA. After All-Star break, HH ratings grew 28% over the first half of the season and continued to show an upward trajectory throughout the summer, with August becoming the highest-rated month since July 2013:
- July 2019: 4.02 average HH rating — up 11% YoY
- August 2019: 4.41 average HH rating – up 15% YoY
- September 2019: 3.94 average HH rating — up 37% YoY
In addition to ratings success on television, Braves games streamed on Fox Sports GO delivered significant double- and triple-digit YoY gains: average streams increased 111%, total average minutes streamed per game grew 77%, and average unique streamers per game were up 51%.
In the digital space, Braves content on the networks’ social media platforms continued to deliver YoY double- and triple-digit increases on Fox Sports South’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts: video views increased 108%, engagement was up 83%, and impressions grew 76%.
Additional ratings highlights for the 2019 season (Atlanta DMA):
- Highest-Rated Braves Telecasts
- Fri, 9/6
vs Washington Nationals (FSSO) @ 7:15 PM – 6.00
- Fri, 9/20
vs San Francisco Giants (FSSO) @ 7:15 PM – 5.91
- Thu, 9/5
vs Washington Nationals (FSSE) @ 7:15 PM – 5.90
- Tue, 8/20
vs Miami Marlins (FSSE) @ 7:15 PM – 5.51
- Fri, 8/23
at New York Mets (FSSO) @ 7:00 PM – 5.33
- Wed, 9/10
at Philadelphia Phillies (FSSE) @ 7:00 PM – 5.29
- Wed, 8/21
vs Miami Marlins (FSSE) @ 7:15 PM – 5.14
- Mon, 8/5
at Minnesota Twins (FSSE) @ 8:00 PM – 5.13
- Sun, 7/14
at San Diego Padres (FSSO) @ 4:00 PM – 5.10
- Tue, 8/13
vs New York Mets (FSSE) @ 7:15 PM – 5.03
- Fri, 9/6
- Highest-Rated Braves LIVE Pregame Show: Friday, September 6, versus Washington Nationals (1.96 HH rating) on FOX Sports South
- Highest-Rated Braves LIVE Postgame Show: Sunday, August 18, versus Los Angeles Dodgers (3.42 HH rating) on FOX Sports South
- Highest Peak Rating: Friday, August 23, at New York Mets (7.17 HH rating in 10:15-10:30 p.m. ET window) on FOX Sports South.
Telemundo Deportes’ Titulares y Más Finishes at the Top for Fourth Straight Year
For the fourth consecutive year, Titulares y Más (TYM), Telemundo Deportes’ nightly show, is the highest-rated sports studio show in Spanish-language television among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. Throughout the 2018-2019 season, TYM averaged 194,000 adults 18-49 Monday-Friday, outperforming Univision’s Contacto Deportivo by +22%. The show airs daily on Telemundo after the local news, at 11:35 p.m. ET on weekdays, with weekend editions at 11:00 p.m. ET.
Titulares y Más’ success during the 2018-19 season was highlighted by the special one-hour production of the show during Telemundo Deportes’ historic coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Copa America. During Summer of Soccer, TYM served as the viewers’ destination for daily recaps and previews of both tournaments.
The show kicked off the new season with a digital expansion as it becomes available on live stream every night on Telemundo’s digital platforms. In addition, Telemundo Deportes launched TYM+, a digital extension of the show that gives Ana Jurka and Karim Mendiburu a unique platform to expand on the topics sports fans are asking for, while capturing a wider, younger audience. TYM+ is a video podcast currently available via YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, and soon across audio platforms. The program debuts a new episode every Monday and Friday afternoons, featuring guests and live discussions.