Ratings Roundup: ESPN’s PGA Championship Coverage Becomes Most-Watched Since 2010; CBS Captures Most-Watched Golf Telecast Since June 2019

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 PGA Championship this past weekend became the most-watched edition since 2010, Univision scores record ratings in the return of UEFA Champions League, the New York Yankees on YES helps the network gain positive numbers, and more.

Golf Fans Come in Troves for Most-Watch PGA Championship in 10 Years
For this past weekend’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, CBS Sports’ final-round coverage became the most-watched sports event of this week and most-watched golf telecast since June of last year. The broadcast averaged 5.16 million viewers, which is a +3% from 2019, and peaked with 6.87 million viewers from 8:30-8:45 p.m. ET.

On other networks, ESPN’s live coverage finished as the most-viewed edition of the event on cable since 2010, with younger viewers helping drive increases in several important demographics.

Sunday’s final round coverage, which aired from noon until 3 p.m. ET, averaged 1,965,000 viewers, up 60% over TNT’s final-round telecast from 2019 and the most-viewed final round on cable since 2010. Sunday’s telecast peaked at 2.4 million viewers and was above 2 million from 1:15 – 3 p.m.

Across all four rounds, ESPN averaged 1,659,000 viewers and 399,000 viewers in the ages 18-49 demographic, up 35% and 54%, respectively, from TNT’s coverage last year. In addition to being the most-viewed PGA Championship on cable since 2010, ESPN’s average of ages 18-49 viewers was up 40% over the past five years.

Younger viewers helped drive the increases – viewership among adults ages 18-34 was up 76% from 2019 and this was the most-viewed version of the championship on cable in the demographic since 2009.

Top local markets for the final round telecast with metered market rating:

  • West Palm Beach (2.6)
  • Tampa – St. Petersburg/Indianapolis (2.4)
  • Columbus (2.3)
  • Cleveland (2.2)
  • Greenville-Spartanburg/Denver/San Francisco/Atlanta (2.0)
  • Orlando/Phoenix/Portland (1.9)

For third-round coverage, the network averaged 2,028,000 viewers, a 71% increase over TNT’s third-round coverage in 2019. The telecast, which aired from 1-4 p.m. ET from TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, was the most-viewed PGA Championship third round on cable since 2005 and ranks as cable’s fourth most-viewed on record. Gains were even greater among young adults (ages 18-49) with the viewership average of 532,000 up 101% in that demographic over last year. During the three-hour telecast, the audience peaked at 2,359,000 viewers between 3:15 – 3:30 p.m. and viewership did not drop below 2 million at any time between 2-4 p.m.

For second-round coverage, ESPN attracted an average audience of 1,763,000 viewers, the event’s largest second round viewership since 2015 and an increase of 20% over TNT’s telecast of the second round last year. The numbers continued the momentum ESPN established with its live coverage of the first round on Thursday, which averaged 1,246,000 viewers, making it the event’s most-viewed first-round telecast since 2015 and the second-best opening round in the last 10 years. Friday’s telecast was up 42% in viewership from Thursday’s first round. With golf superstars including Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, and Rory McIlroy in competition during East Coast prime time, ESPN’s audience built early in their rounds and peaked with 2,260,000 viewers from 7-7:15 p.m. ET. The telecast, which ran from 4-10:45 p.m., averaged more than 2 million viewers from 6-10 p.m.

For first-round coverage, the network garnered 1,246,000 viewers, making it the event’s most-viewed first-round telecast since 2015 and the second-best opening round in the last 10 years. The telecast, which ran from 4-10:30 p.m. ET, peaked at 1,509,000 viewers between 7:15-7:30 p.m. ET and every quarter-hour of the telecast until 10 p.m. averaged more than 1 million viewers. Viewership was up 24% from last year’s first-round telecast on TNT and up 31% among adults ages 18-49.

After the conclusion of this tournament, the PGA Tour is continuing its hot streak since its return. According to SportsBusiness Journal, CBS is averaging 2.46 million viewers for its weekend coverage since June — a figure that is up 27% from comparable events last year. Golf Channel’s overall PGA Tour viewership is up 47% from comparable events last year.

Univision’s TUDN Gets Ratings Boost for UEFA Champions League Return
Following a nearly five-month hiatus, UEFA Champions League returned with a resounding bang on Univision’s networks featuring play from the Round of 16.

TUDN’s telecast of FC Barcelona vs. Napoli on Univision, and simulcast on TUDN, this past Saturday generated record numbers, averaging 1.1 million Total Viewers 2+ from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET – marking the most-watched Round of 16 match in UEFA Champions League history in the U.S. on any network and in any language. Among Adults 18-49, the two-hour telecast averaged 545,000 viewers to net the second best performance ever in the demo for a UCL Round of 16 contest. The match peaked with 1.14 million Total Viewers 2+ and 587,000 Adults 18-49 during the 4:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET time period. It is the top-rated UEFA Champions League match in the 2019/2020 season.

Friday’s Manchester City-Real Madrid broadcast on UniMás and simulcast on TUDN delivered 571,000 Total Viewers 2+ and 345,000 Adults 18-49 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET, becoming the sixth and eighth most-watched contest ever in the round, respectively. The 2-1 result, in favor of Manchester City, peaked during the 4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET time period with 602,000 Total Viewers 2+ and 383,000 Adults 18-49. Prior to the Barcelona-Napoli telecast on Saturday, it was the top-rated match for the Round of 16 in over five years.

New York Yankees on YES Sees 20% Increase
In 2020, viewership of New York Yankees’ games on YES Network has increased by 20% (326,000 average viewers vs. 271,000 in 2019). As for demos, viewership of games is up 126% among millennials (18-34) and up 63% in ages 25-54.

10.7 Million Canadians Flock to Sportsnet for Return of NHL, NBA
Marking the end of a prolonged break in play, Canadian sports fans returned in droves to watch the long-awaited debut of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers and NBA, exclusively on Sportsnet. Bolstered by hard-hitting Canadian NHL matchups and a dominant Raptors performance, Sportsnet reached a total of 10.7 million viewers on Saturday and Sunday – connecting with 29% of the Canadian population.

Sportsnet aired more than 33 hours of live coverage across its TV channels, CBC, Citytv, the Sportsnet Radio Network and via stream on SN NOW and NHL LIVE during opening weekend. Scoring a 19% audience share, Sportsnet’s wall-to-wall coverage garnered a combined average minute audience of 821,000 viewers on Saturday and Sunday.

Overall, in the coveted Adult 25-54 demographic, Sportsnet was home to 8 of the Top 10 most-watched programs of the weekend.

In addition to TV audiences, sports fans also started more than 2 million streams on SN NOW and NHL Live, Sportsnet’s exclusive live streaming platforms.

Below is a snapshot of Sportsnet’s NHL and NBA audiences from this past Saturday and Sunday:

As the exclusive national English-language home of the NHL, Sportsnet aired all 10 Stanley Cup Qualifier and Round Robin matchups over the weekend, live from Edmonton and Toronto. Overall, 9.58 million Canadians watched all or some of the NHL on Sportsnet broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday. Audience breakdowns of the Canadian team matchups are as follows:

  • Saturday
    • Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers (3 p.m. ET / Noon PT | Sportsnet, SN NOW & NHL Live)
      • Average minute audience: 856,000
      • Total reach: 2.8 million
    • Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT | Sportsnet, CBC, SN NOW & NHL Live)
      • Average minute audience: 1.6 million
      • Total reach: 5.7 million
    • Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames (10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT | Sportsnet, CBC, SN NOW & NHL Live)
      • Average minute audience: 1.66 million
      • Total reach: 3.9 million
  • Sunday
    • Columbus Blue Jackets @ Toronto Maple Leafs (8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT | Sportsnet, SN NOW & NHL Live)
      • Average minute audience: 1.78 million
      • Total reach: 4.4 million
    • Minnesota Wild @ Vancouver Canucks (10:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. PT | Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360, SN NOW & NHL Live)
      • Average minute audience: 798,000
      • Total reach: 3.1 million

The North relaunched their title defense on Saturday night, exclusively on Sportsnet ONE, Citytv, and SN NOW. Delivering every minute of the Raptors’ dominant performance over LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers, Sportsnet reached 2.59 million fans coast-to-coast-to-coast throughout the evening.

From tip-off at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT to the final buzzer, Sportsnet’s exclusive coverage garnered an average minute audience of 890,000 Canadians making it the second most-watched regular season Raptors broadcast ever on Sportsnet.

Canadiens-Penguins Bout Earns Most-Watched Regular Season Game in 2019-20 Season
Aside from the 2020 Winter Classic in Dallas’ Cotton Bowl, the Montreal Canadiens overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at the beginning of August averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.572 million viewers, making it the most-watched NHL game of the 2019-20 season. The TAD of 1.572 million viewers was up 46% vs. the 2019-20 NHL regular-season average on NBC (1.074 million). Viewership peaked at the start of overtime with 2.057 million TV-only viewers (11-11:15 p.m. ET).

In addition, The game delivered a 0.96 HH rating, up 39% vs. the 2019-20 NHL regular-season average on NBC (0.69). Canadiens-Penguins ranks as the second-most streamed game of the 2019-20 NHL season with an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 27,800 viewers, behind only the season-opener (Was-Stl; 38,100 viewers).

Also on NBC Sports’ airwaves, Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers averaged a TAD of 1.117 million viewers, up 4% as compared to the 2019-20 NHL regular-season average on NBC (1.074 million). Viewership peaked at the end of the game with 1.434 million TV-only viewers (5:45-6 p.m. ET) and the game delivered a 0.72 HH rating, up 4% vs. the 2019-20 NHL regular-season average on NBC (0.69).

The game ranks as the third-most streamed game of the 2019-20 NHL season with an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 23,600 viewers, behind only the season-opener between Washington and St. Louis (38,100 viewers) and last night’s Canadiens-Penguins (27,800 viewers).

Last Week’s World TeamTennis Final Caps Most-Watched Season in League History
CBS Television Network’s live airing of last Sunday’s 2020 World TeamTennis Finals match (12:00 PM – 3:13 PM ET/9:00 AM – 12:13 PM PT) in which the New York Empire defeated the Chicago Smash on the last point of the Supertiebreaker 21-20, delivering 556,000 viewers, making it the most-watched in the league’s 45-year history. The victory by the New York Empire earned them the King Trophy and $500,000 in prize money and marked the first time that the WTT’s Finals have aired live on network television. During the event’s “Supertiebreaker” that determined the 2020 champion, viewership peaked at 1.128M viewers (3:00 PM ET – 3:13 PM ET/Noon – 12:13 PM PT).

The previous viewership record for World TeamTennis was 484,000, also on CBS Television Network, which occurred on July 19 of the 2020 WTT regular season when the Washington Kastles, featuring Venus Williams, defeated the Vegas Rollers, led by Mike and Bob Bryan, 24-18.

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