Ratings Roundup: NASCAR on Fox Makes Anticipated Return With 6.32 Million Viewers; Curtain Falls on The Last Dance With Average of 5.6 Million Viewers

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, NASCAR televised its first official race in over two months, the curtain fell on the ESPN’s 10-part tribute to Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls, and NBC Sports took to the links at Seminole Golf Club to raise money for charity.

Fox Sports returned to sports in a big way with yesterday’s Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway. In NASCAR’s first race in over two months, Kevin Harvick took home the checkered flag in front of a massive televised audience.

A total of 6.32 million viewers tuned in to Fox to watch Sunday’s spectator-less race. The competition was named the most-watched non-Daytona 500 NASCAR Cup Series race since the Folds Of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 5, 2017.

NASCAR Cup Series action continues on Fox Sports this upcoming Wednesday, May 20 with the Toyota 500 at Darlington Raceway…

The Last Dance finished strong for its finale, with episodes 9 & 10 averaging 5.6 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2. Episode 9 (9-10 p.m.) averaged 5.9 million viewers, up 10% from last Sunday, becoming the third most-watched episode of the series, trailing the record-breaking audiences of episodes 1 and 3. Episode 10 (10-11 p.m.) averaged 5.4 million viewers, up 9.8% from last week’s episode 8, which aired in the same time slot.

The original airings of all ten episodes of the series also averaged 5.6 million viewers within the same day, cementing The Last Dance as the most-watched documentary content ever on ESPN. The series started strong on April 19th, with episodes 1 & 2 averaging 6.1 million viewers, becoming the two most-viewed original content broadcasts on ESPN Networks since 2004. Subsequent weeks continued the momentum, with episodes 3 & 4 averaging 5.9 million viewers, episodes 5 & 6 averaging 5.5 million viewers, and episodes 7 & 8 averaging 5.1 million viewers, all of which have become the most watched documentary content on ESPN, surpassing 2012’s “You Don’t Know Bo” (3.6 million).

“We are thrilled with the response from fans throughout the run of the series,” said Connor Schell, Executive Vice President, Content at ESPN. “The past five Sunday nights have brought fans together providing the type of communal viewing experience traditionally reserved for live sports. The exceptional content of the series has cut through culturally and sparked conversations far beyond ESPN platforms. We are grateful to Jason and his creative team and all of our production partners on the film and look forward to seeing fans continue to engage with The Last Dance in the days and weeks ahead through the ESPN app.”

The Last Dance Original Airings

  • Episode 1 (4/19, 9pm)
    • 6,340,000
  • Episode 2 (4/19, 10pm)
    • 5,792,000
  • Episode 3 (4/26, 9pm)
    • 6,143,000
  • Episode 4 (4/26, 10pm)
    • 5,657,000
  • Episode 5 (5/3, 9pm)
    • 5,785,000
  • Episode 6 (5/3, 10pm)
    • 5,214,000
  • Episode 7 (5/10, 9pm)
    • 5,344,000
  • Episode 8 (5/10, 10pm)
    • 4,918,000
  • Episode 9 (5/17, 9pm)
    • 5,891,000
  • Episode 10 (5/17, 10pm)
    • 5,400,000

The top five metered markets for episodes 9 and 10 included: Chicago (12.5 rtg.), Greensboro, N.C. (5.5 rtg.), San Diego (5.1 rtg.), San Francisco-Oak-San Jose (4.8 rtg.), and Nashville (4.7 rtg.). As expected, Chicago was the No. 1 market, Chicago averaged a 12.0 metered market rating across the series, including a 12.5 rating on Sunday…

…Live golf returned for the first time in two months on Sunday, with TaylorMade Driving Relief supported by UnitedHealth Group, which saw a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 2.35 million average viewers (2-6:33p ET; P2+) across NBC, GOLF Channel, NBCSN, along with NBC Sports and PGA TOUR streaming platforms. Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson defeated Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a charity skins match that has raised more than $5.5 million for COVID-19 relief efforts. Donations are continuing at PGATOUR.com/DrivingRelief.

A 2.35 million TAD for Sunday’s live broadcast is relatively flat for average viewership compared to CBS’ and NBC’s 2nd Quarter 2019 PGA TOUR Final Round average (2.32M vs 2.38M average viewership, -2%). Additionally, Persons 25-54 garnered 762,000 average viewers, up 44% vs. CBS/NBC’s 2019 2nd Quarter PGA TOUR Final Round average.

TaylorMade Driving Relief Broadcast:

  • Linear: Live coverage provided across NBC, GOLF Channel, NBCSN, Sky Sports, and other PGA TOUR global media partners.
  • Digital: Unauthenticated streaming of the entire event was available via PGA TOUR LIVE (NBC Sports Gold and Amazon Prime Video), GOLFPASS, GolfChannel.com, and GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR.

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