Ratings Roundup: Largest Live U.S Audience Watches Inaugural Miami Grand Prix; 16 Million Viewers Witness Rich Strike’s Upset Win at 2022 Kentucky Derby

Ratings Roundup is a rundown of recent rating news and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix attracts 2.6 million viewers on ABC, the 2022 Kentucky Derby on NBC garners 16 million viewers, the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and NBA Playoffs roll on, and more.

Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix on ABC Attracts Record 2.6 Million Viewers; Largest Live F1 U.S. TV Audience Ever

ABC’s live telecast of Sunday’s inaugural Formula 1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix attracted a record average viewership of 2.6 million, the largest audience for a live F1 telecast ever on U.S. television.

The race telecast, which aired from 3:30 p.m. until 5:36 p.m. ET from the Miami International Autodrome, peaked at 2.9 million average viewers in the 4:45-5 p.m. quarter-hour as defending World Champion Max Verstappen steered his way to victory. The race averaged 735,000 viewers in the Persons ages 18-49 demographic.

The top 10 local market ratings for the race telecast were:

  • Miami: 3.7
  • West Palm Beach: 2.4
  • Atlanta: 1.8
  • Los Angeles: 1.6
  • San Francisco: 1.6
  • Hartford: 1.5
  • Philadelphia: 1.5
  • Milwaukee: 1.5
  • Charlotte: 1.5
  • Cincinnati: 1.4

ABC’s full telecast, which included the 90-minute Grand Prix Sunday pre-race show that aired from 2 p.m. until the race started at 3:30 p.m., averaged 2.1 million viewers.

Through five races, the 2022 F1 season is averaging 1.4 million viewers per race, up 49% over the 2021 season average (949,000 viewers) and up 131% over the 2020 season average (609,000 viewers). This year’s seasonal average of 1.4 million viewers is 53% larger than average of 922,000 for the first five races of the 2021 season. The 2021 season was the most-viewed F1 season ever on U.S. television.

With interest in the inaugural Miami event high, an audience of 953,000 viewers tuned in on Saturday to watch F1 qualifying, which aired at 4 p.m. on ESPN. And an audience of 398,000 watched Friday’s Practice 1, which aired at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Both represent the largest viewership for a qualifying or practice session since F1 returned to ESPN in 2018.

The most-viewed Formula 1 race telecast in U.S. television history was ABC’s same-day delayed presentation of the 2002 Monaco Grand Prix, which followed the Indianapolis 500 telecast and averaged 2.784 million viewers. The previous record audience for a live race telecast was 1.744 million for the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix, which aired on ESPN.

2022 Kentucky Derby Averages 16 Million Viewers on NBC – Topping 15 Million Mark for Eight Consecutive Year

NBC Sports’ presentation of the 148th Kentucky Derby, a thriller won by 80-1 longshot Rich Strike, averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 16.0 million viewers – marking the eighth consecutive year that the event topped the 15-million mark, excluding pandemic-impacted events. In addition, NBC Sports delivered impressive audiences for the debut of its MLB Sunday Leadoff package and Sunday’s USFL game.

Additional viewership highlights from weekend NBC Sports coverage:

  • With 16.0 million viewers, the 2022 Kentucky Derby is the most watched “Run for the Roses” since 2019 and marks an 8% increase from last year’s event (14.9 million on Sept. 5).
  • Viewership peaked at 19.0 million viewers from 7-7:15 p.m. ET on NBC, shortly after Rich Strike mounted his astounding closing charge to cross the finish line as the winner – marking the largest Kentucky Derby peak audience since 2017, ahead of the 18.5 million for the controversial 2019 disqualification of Maximum Security.
  • The TV-only average audience of 15.8 million viewers is NBC’s most-watched program since Super Bowl Sunday.
  • Led by Peacock, which live streamed the Kentucky Derby for the first time, the event posted a record Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 247,300 viewers across NBCUniversal streaming platforms.
  • The overhead replay of the race with Larry Collmus’ call has been viewed more than 36 million times across NBC Sports’ flagship Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok handles and the NBC Sports YouTube channel – the most-viewed Kentucky Derby video ever on NBC Sports’ social media platforms and six times the consumption of Justify’s Triple Crown-winning run in the 2018 Belmont Stakes (six million views). In addition, the video is the most-viewed moment ever for NBC Sports’ TikTok account (11.6 million views).
  • The NBC-TV household rating for the broadcast (6:31-7:21 p.m. ET) was a 7.7/24.
  • The debut of MLB Sunday Leadoff on Peacock and NBC averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 1.34 million viewers, marking the most-watched regular-season Sunday day game since 2019 (Yankees-Red Sox in London, ESPN, 6/30/19).

Top Metered Markets for the 2022 Kentucky Derby

  • Louisville: 28.5/63
  • Ft. Myers: 18.7/41
  • Cincinnati: 16.2/45
  • West Palm Beach 14.3/36
  • Buffalo: 11.5/29
  • Baltimore: 11.5/33
  • Knoxville: 11.2/26
  • Pittsburgh: 10.9/28
  • Providence: 10.7/27
  • Hartford: 10.7/28

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on TNT, ESPN

Turner Sports’ live Stanley Cup Playoff games televised on TNT and TBS are up 46% through May 8, compared to similar cable-televised windows in 2021, and up 48% vs. 2019. Female viewership for playoff games airing on TNT and TBS continues to see substantial increases, up 71% when compared to televised games to date last year, and up 73% from 2019. Saturday’s triple-header of Game 3s (Colorado Avalanche vs. Nashville Predators; New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins; Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars) averaged 917,000 viewers on TNT. The Penguins vs. Rangers game averaged 1.3 million viewers to become the most watched Round 1, Game 1-4, of all time on cable and the most watched game of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far.

Additionally, the first week of Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage on Bleacher Report’s social handle generated a 59% increase in total engagements compared to coverage of the entire 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. B/R Open Ice reached over 1.8 million fans on Instagram during the first week of coverage (+202% vs. the last week of 2021-22 NHL regular season).

On ESPN, the network drew strong viewership for its opening night broadcast. Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes delivered 857,000 viewers, which was at the time the most-viewed Game 1 of a first-round series on cable since 2002. Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs averages 466,000 viewers, which is up 115% from 2021. Overall, opening night of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs on ESPN/ESPN2 averaged 576,000 viewers, which is up 17% from 2019.

After the second night of coverage, the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs on ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 610,000 viewers – an increase of 15% over the opening two playoff nights in 2019. Game 1 of Rangers-Penguins became the most-viewed Game 1 of a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff game on record on cable (data since 1994). The game averaged 1.04 million viewers – up 35% versus the comparable game in 2021 – with viewership peaking at 1.5 million. Last  Tuesday’s ESPN2 games saw the Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers up 32% versus the comparable game in 2021 with an of average 348,000 viewers and the Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames up 6% versus the comparable game in 2021, averaging 261,000 viewers.

Game 4 of Bruins-Hurricanes peaked at 1.6 million and averaged 1.02 million, which is up 66% vs. the comparable game in 2021. Game 4 of Rangers-Penguins averaged 914,000 viewers, which is up 43% vs. the comparable game in 2021. Lastly, Game 3 of Panthers-Capitals averaged 716,000 viewers, which is up 10% vs. the comparable game in 2021.

As of Friday, May 13, the first round on ESPN and ESPN2 Is averaging 651,000 viewers, which is up 28% vs. 2021’s first round cable coverage. Game 5 of Rangers-Penguins peaked with 1.5 million, average 1.05 million, and is up 61% comparable to the game in 2021. Game 5 of Stars-Flames averaged 699,000 viewers and is up 127% vs. the comparable game in 2021. Game 5 of Panthers-Capitals averaged 448,000 viewers and is up 64% vs. the comparable game in 2021. Game 5 of Bruins-Hurricanes averaged 829,000 viewers and is up 28% vs. the comparable game in 2021. Game 5 of Lightning-Maple Leafs averaged 679,000 viewers and is up 70% vs. the comparable game in 2021.

Most-Watched First-Round of NBA Playoffs on ESPN Since 2014

The first-round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs was the most-watched on ESPN since 2014, according to Nielsen. The eight games on ESPN averaged 3,346,000 viewers, and were up 28 percent from 2021 and up 69 percent from 2020. It now ranks as the third-most watched first-round of the NBA Playoffs on ESPN ever, dating back to 2003.

The Golden State Warriors victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals on ABC averaged 7,714,000 viewers and peaked with 10,195,000 viewers at 6:15 p.m. ET. It was ABC’s most-watched Conference Semifinals game in 11 years, dating back to 2011 (Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks). Viewership for Game 1 was up 97 percent from last year’s ABC Conference Semifinals average.

Additionally, the Milwaukee Bucks win over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series averaged 5,370,000 viewers on Sunday, peaking with 7,148,000 viewers at 3:30 p.m. This was up 37 percent from last year’s second-round average. The doubleheader combined for an average of 6,580,000 viewers, up 68 percent from last year’s second-round.

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up 4% From 2021

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball viewership is up 4% from the same time last year, according to Nielsen. Through five weeks, ESPN’s exclusive, national MLB game of the week is averaging 1,730,000 viewers. Additionally, this season’s Sunday Night Baseball viewership is up 40% from the 2020 full season average.

The May 8 telecast, in which the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs 7-1, averaged 1,781,000 viewers, up 2% from the comparable game last season (Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves). The telecast peaked with 2,163,321 viewers from 8-8:15 p.m.

TUDN’s Coverage of UEFA Champions League Delivers Largest U.S. Audience Ever for a European Champions League Semifinal

TUDN, successfully concluded its semifinal rounds coverage of the UEFA Champions League, which brought fans all the thrill and action from the championship as Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool FC, and Villareal CF battled for a spot in the Final, with record audiences for the network.

On May 4, Univision’s UEFA Champions League Semifinal matchup of Real Madrid vs. Manchester City delivered the largest audience ever for a European Champions League Semifinal match with 1277K viewers P2+ and 614K viewers A18-49 on average outperforming CBS by +14% with P2+ viewers and +51% with A18-49 viewers. The match, which aired on Univision and simulcast on TUDN and ViX peaked with 1531K viewers P2+ and 701K viewers A18-49 from 5:15 pm to 5:30 pm.

The other semifinal matches delivered impressive numbers as follows:

  • On May 3, Univision’s UEFA Champions League Semifinal matchup of Villarreal vs. Liverpool delivered 1016K viewers P2+ and 439K viewers A18-49. Peaked with 1.1M P2+ and 503K A18-49 from 4:00 p.m. to 430 p.m.
  • On April 27, Univision’s UEFA Champions League Semifinal matchup of Liverpool vs. Villareal generated ratings of 747k viewers P2+ and 335K with A18-49 outperforming same telecast on CBS by +31% with A19-49
  • On April 26, Univision’s UEFA Champions League Semifinal matchup of Manchester City vs. Real Madrid led ratings with 1005K viewers P2+ and 498K with A18-49 outperforming the same telecast on CBS by +59% with A18-49. Univision telecast peaked with 1.2 million viewers P2+ and 608K A18-49 from 4:30 pm to 4:45 pm.

Telemundo Deportes’ Coverage of Chivas de Guadalajara Delivers Highest-Rated Liga MX Season With More Than 6 Million Viewers

Telemundo Deportes’ coverage of Chivas de Guadalajara reached 6.3 million total viewers across platforms delivering the highest-rated and most streamed Liga MX Clausura 2022 season for the network.

Telemundo delivered an average of 833,000 P2+ viewers and 390,000 adults 18-49 through its coverage of Chivas’ home matches during Liga MX’s regular season. Universo’s simulcasts lifted Telemundo’s average by 18% among P2+ and 17% among adults 18-49. Clausura 2022 outperformed all previous seasons on digital, including a 20% growth in livestreams compared to Clausura 2021.

The 2022 Clausura tournament registered four of the top 10 regular season Chivas matches for the network since becoming the home of Chivas in the U.S. in 2020 and the exclusive broadcaster of the team’s home matches. Telemundo and Universo’s simulcast of the Super Clásico Chivas vs. America played on Saturday, March 12 ranks as the #1 most-watched Liga MX match of the Clausura 2022 and to date on Telemundo with an average of 1.9M total viewers and 938,000 adults 18-49 during the match window.

NASCAR Cup Series Racing in Darlington and Dover

Last weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway earned a 1.45 rating and an average of 2.6 million viewers tuned in per minute on FS1. This is the most-viewed NCS race on cable since Nashville in June last year. At peak, 3.3 million viewers were tuned in.

A week prior, the rain-impacted NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover saw a 1.26 rating and 2.0 million average viewers on FS1 for Sunday’s live racing portion as well as a 0.66 rating and 944,000 average viewers on FS1 for Monday’s live racing portion. Combined, the race earned a 0.75 rating and 1.2 million average viewers. At peak, 2.1 million viewers were tuned in just prior to weather delay on Sunday. The NASCAR Xfinity Series race earned a 0.59 rating and an average of 926,000 viewers. The rating was up +26% over 2021 Dover on FS1 (0.47, Race 10), while viewership was up +25% (741,000, Race 10). This was the second-most-watched telecast on FS1 for that week, behind only live racing coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday. At peak, 1.1 million viewers were tuned in.

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