Ratings Roundup: ESPN Closes Out NBA Eastern Conference Finals With Most-Watched Game 7 in Four Years; CBS Sports Celebrates Most-Watched U.S. Coverage of UEFA Champions League Final

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, Celtics-Heat in Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN becomes the most-watched Game 7 in four years, CBS Sports scored the most-watched UEFA Champions League Final ever for English-language coverage in the U.S, and more.

Boston Celtics-Miami Heat Game 7 Is Most-Watched Conference Finals Game on ESPN in Four Years

The Boston Celtics victory over the Miami Heat in Game 7 on Sunday was the most-watched Conference Finals game on ESPN in four years, according to Nielsen. The telecast averaged 9,875,000 viewers, peaking with 12,171,000 viewers at 11 p.m. ET.

The Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat series was the most-watched NBA Eastern Conference Finals since 2018, averaging nearly seven million viewers across the seven games (6,978,000). This is up 40% from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.

Game 7 on ESPN was the most-watched program of the day across all of television, including in every key demographic: P18-34; P18-49; P25-54; M18-34; M18-49; M25-54.

Earlier in the series, ABC’s coverage of Game 3 was the most-watched Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 since 2018. The ABC broadcast averaged 6,805,000 viewers, up 19% from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 3, and up 71% from 2020, according to Nielsen. The broadcast peaked with 8,773,000 viewers at 11 p.m. ET.

Game 3 was the most-watched program across all of television for May 21 and the most-watched program across all key demos, including P18-34; P18-49; P25-54; M18-34; M18-49 and M25-54.

In the Miami market, Game 3 averaged an 8.9 rating, making it the highest-rated Heat game of the 2022 NBA Playoffs thus far. In the Boston market, Game 3 averaged a 12.1 rating.

The NBA Countdown pregame show for Game 3 averaged 2,414,000 viewers, making it the second-most watched episode of the show during the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

Game 2 was the most-watched Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 since 2018, according to Nielsen. The ESPN telecast averaged 6,049,000 viewers, peaking with 6,878,000 viewers at 9:30 p.m. ET.

ESPN’s coverage of Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 was up 59% from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. The game propelled ESPN to win the night across all of television and in all key demos: P18-34; P18-49; P25-54; M18-34; M18-49; M25-54.

Game 2 generated a 12.6 rating in the Boston market and a 7.5 rating in the Miami market.

In addition, Thursday’s edition of the NBA Countdown pregame show was the most-watched in four years on ESPN. The show generated an average audience of 1,873,000 viewers, the most since the pregame show for the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.

NBA on TNT’s Warriors/Mavericks Series Delivers Network’s Most-Watched NBA Conference Finals Coverage Since 2018

TNT’s exclusive presentation of the 2022 NBA Western Conference Finals – won by the Golden State Warriors over the Dallas Mavericks (4-1) – delivered the network its most watched Conference Finals coverage since 2018, averaging 6.7 million viewers.

Viewership for this year’s five-game series finished up 35% over TNT’s 2021 NBA Eastern Conference Finals coverage (Hawks/Bucks, 5.0 million viewers, six games) and up 23% when compared with last year’s Western Conference Finals (Clippers/Suns, 5.5 million viewers, six games).

Thursday’s WCF coverage garnered the top program of the night across all of television (broadcast and cable) for the third straight time during the series, and together with the iconic Inside the NBA post-game show, delivered cable’s top two programs on Thursday.

The Warriors’ series-clinching win averaged 6.8 million viewers – peaking with an average of 7.7 million viewers from 11-11:15 p.m. ET – to rank as the most-viewed WCF Game 5 since 2018.

Overall, the network delivered its most watched NBA Playoffs coverage since 2018, averaging 4.1 million viewers (42 telecasts), up 11% vs. last year, while winning the night on cable in primetime 22 times. Additionally, Inside the NBA’s postgame coverage averaged 1.9 million viewers, up 6% vs. last year (23 telecasts).

CBS Sports Scores Most-Watched UEFA Champions League Final Ever for English-Language Coverage in U.S.

CBS Sports’ coverage of the 2022 UEFA Champions League Final delivered record-breaking viewership across multiple platforms.

Real Madrid’s 1-0 victory over Liverpool was the most-watched UEFA Champions League Final in history for English-language coverage in the U.S., averaging 2.761 million viewers on CBS, according to Nielsen national ratings. The match generated a viewership increase of +23% versus last year’s Final.

Saturday’s match peaked with 3.238 million viewers from 5:15 to 5:30 PM, ET.

Paramount+ registered its most-streamed soccer match ever, scoring triple-digit year-over-year growth in average minute audience, streaming minutes and households versus the 2021 UEFA Champions League Final.

TelevisaUnivision’s Coverage of 2021-2022 UEFA Champions League Delivers No. 1 Rated Season in Competition’s History

TelevisaUnivision successfully concluded its comprehensive, multiplatform coverage of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) 2021-2022 season, bringing fans all the thrill and action from the championship, as the most prestigious European teams battled for the crown and title, breaking record audiences for the network in the U.S. and delivering the #1 rated season in UCL history with an average of 624K P2+ and 293K A18-49 per match, +16% and +6% vs. prior year, respectively.

On May 28th, Univision’s UEFA Champions League Final matchup of Real Madrid vs. Liverpool delivered the largest audience ever for a European Champions League tournament game with 2.6 million viewers P2+ and 1.3 million viewers A18-49. The live event, which aired on Univision and simulcasted on TUDN, peaked with 2.9 million viewers P2+ and 1.5 million viewers A18-49 from 3:45p.m.-5:30p.m. For the first time ever, the game was also streamed on ViX, TelevisaUnivision’s free streaming service, including a TUDN News pre-game special on Zona TUDN.

Semifinal Championship coverage also delivered impressive numbers as follows:

  • On May 4th, 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 was simulcast on TUDN peaked with 1531K viewers P2+ and 701K viewers A18-49 from 5:15 p.m.-5:30 p.m. The game was also streamed on ViX.
  • On May 3rd, 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. – 4:30 p.m.
  • On April 27th, 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 26th, 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 p.m.- 4:45 p.m.

Thursday Night’s Angels-Yankees Is YES’ Most-Viewed Game of the Season

Despite going up against Game 1 of the NBA Finals last night, the YES Network notched its most-viewed Yankees telecast of the season, averaging 448,000 Average Total Viewers in the New York DMA. YES’ telecast peaked at 630,000 Total Viewers from 9:45-10:00 pm.

NBC Sports Registers Second-Most Watched Premier League Season Ever With 12 Matches Topping 1 Million Viewers

NBC Sports’ 2021-22 presentation of the Premier League – culminating on “Championship Sunday” with down-to-the-wire competition for the league title, top four positioning, and relegation – registered the second-most watched season in U.S. TV history (behind only 2015-16) and set big-game viewership records.

NBC Sports averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 507,000 viewers per TV match window (includes NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBCSN) for the 2021-22 season – second-best ever and up 21% from last season (414,000) (does not include exclusive Peacock streaming or Spanish-language telecasts).

In addition, a record 12 matches this season averaged a TAD of at least 1 million viewers – 50% above the prior record (eight in 2020-21 and 2015-16).

For the ninth consecutive year, all 10 Premier League matches on the season’s final Sunday were presented live, simultaneously (11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET) across Peacock and the networks of NBCUniversal – matching 2019 as the most-watched Championship Sunday ever with a TAD of 2.2 million viewers across all platforms.

Sunday’s Manchester City-Aston Villa match on NBC and Peacock posted a TAD of 955,000 viewers – marking the most-watched Championship Sunday match on record – while Liverpool-Wolverhampton Wolves on USA Network was the most-watched Championship Sunday cable match on record (681,000).

Viewership Highlights

  • Since kicking off its Premier League coverage in August 2013, NBC Sports has presented 28 of the 30 most-watched live Premier League matches ever in the U.S. across all platforms.
  • NBC Sports kicked off the season with its most-watched Opening Weekend since 2015, posting a Total Audience Delivery average of 640,000 viewers (across five Saturday-Sunday match windows).
  • NBCSN’s opening Sunday Tottenham-Manchester City match posted a Total Audience Delivery average of 836,000 viewers to rank No. 2 all-time among opening weekend cable matches (behind only Christian Pulisic’s PL debut, Manchester United-Chelsea, 8/11/19, 1.01 million).
  • The Liverpool-Chelsea match on NBC and Peacock on August 28 delivered a TAD of more than 1.4 million viewers to rank as the most watched live Premier League match in U.S. history.
  • USA Network’s Manchester City-Liverpool game on April 10 registered a TAD of 1.1 million viewers to rank as the second most watched cable match in U.S. history.
  • A record 1.3 billion minutes of NBC Sports’ Premier League coverage was consumed on the NBC Sports YouTube channel.
  • Video viewership across NBC Sports Soccer’s handles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram increased by 63% over the 2020-21 season, while overall engagement on those platforms was up 58%.
  • The 2 Robbies and Premier League on NBC podcasts delivered record highs in monthly downloads in each of the final three months of the season.
  • The free-to-play game Premier League Pick ‘Em continued to help grow the NBC Sports Predictor app userbase to more than 1.73 million fans, who have made nearly 45 million contest entries since the platform’s launch in December 2018.

Following are the U.S. TV markets with the highest average season-long ratings on Premier League telecasts on NBC/USA Network/NBCSN:

1. Washington, D.C.
2. Norfolk
3. Cincinnati
T4. Philadelphia
T4. Raleigh
T6. New York
T6. Richmond
8. Buffalo
9. Ft. Myers
T10. Hartford
T10. Miami
T10. San Francisco
T10. Baltimore
14. Sacramento
15. Providence

ESPN’s PGA Championship First Round Telecast Earns Largest Viewership in 20 Years

ESPN’s live telecast of the opening round of the PGA Championship on Thursday, May 19, from Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., averaged 1.5 million viewers, the largest first-round viewership for the tournament in 20 years.

The telecast, which aired from 2-8 p.m. ET, peaked at 1.7 million viewers at 4:45 p.m. The average viewership was up 23% from the first round of last year’s tournament from Kiawah Island, S.C., which averaged 1.2 million viewers. The audience was the largest since TNT’s first round telecast in 2002 averaged 1.8 million viewers

The debut of the new alternate telecast hosted by Joe Buck and Michael Collins averaged 684,000 viewers in its first hour on ESPN (1-2 p.m. ET), which was an 80% increase in viewership for the one-hour timeslot prior to PGA Championship coverage last year. The alternate telecast averaged 96,000 viewers between 2-5 p.m. on ESPN2.

Top reported local markets for the Thursday’s full telecast with metered market rating:

  • Las Vegas: 1.4
  • Atlanta: 1.3
  • Phoenix: 1.3
  • Jacksonville: 1.2
  • Boston: 1.2
  • Orlando: 1.1
  • Washington, DC: 1.1
  • Pittsburgh: 1.0
  • Charlotte: 1.0
  • Greensboro: 1.0

Streaming coverage of Featured Holes and Featured Groups (highlighted by the Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth group) during the first round on ESPN+ led to the most-viewed day of PGA Championship play ever on the industry-leading sports streaming service.

The second round telecast averaged 2.1 million viewers, peaking at 2.6 million at 7:15 p.m. The average viewership was up 47% from the second round of last year’s tournament from Kiawah Island, S.C., which averaged 1.4 million viewers. It marked the largest second-round audience for the PGA Championship since 2.4 million watched on TNT in 2009.

The audience increased from the first round on Thursday, May 19, which averaged 1.5 million viewers, the largest first-round viewership for the tournament in 20 years.

Viewership increased for the second day of the new alternate telecast hosted by Joe Buck and Michael Collins as it averaged 691,000 viewers for the 1-2 p.m. hour on ESPN, up from the 684,000 average for its debut during the first round on Thursday, May 19. The alternate telecast averaged 105,000 viewers between 2-5 p.m. on ESPN2, up from the average of 96,000 on Thursday.

Since ESPN’s return to live coverage of the PGA Championship in 2020 after a 30-year absence, ESPN and ESPN+ have offered full day, first tee to last putt coverage of the first two rounds along with weekend morning viewing and more live play and viewing options for the historic tournament than it had ever had.

Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix Averages Record 1.4 Million Viewers on ESPN Despite Rain Delay

ESPN’s live telecast of the rain-delayed Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, May 29, averaged 1.4 million viewers, the largest live cable audience for the race on record and the second most-viewed live telecast of the historic race ever. Viewership was up 43% over the 2021 edition of the race, which aired on ESPN2 and averaged 977,000 viewers.

Excluding the rain delay, the race telecast averaged 1.6 million viewers from 10 a.m. until noon ET as Mexico’s Sergio Pérez drove to victory. During the rain delay prior to the start of the race, 1.2 million were tuned in from 8:53 – 10 a.m. as they waited for action to start. The audience peaked at 1.8 million viewers in the 10:30-10:45 a.m. quarter hour.

An encore presentation on ABC at 3:30 p.m. averaged 762,000 viewers.

This year’s seasonal average of 1.4 million viewers is 45% larger than the 948,000 average through the first seven races of the 2021 season and up 45% over the 949,000 season-long average for 2021, which was the most-viewed F1 season ever on U.S. television.

ESPN’s Formula 1 telecasts also continue to attract younger viewers – the race averaged 595,000 viewers in the Persons ages 18-49 demographic, up 45% over last season’s race average of 411,000. ESPN was averaging 319,000 viewers per race in the Persons 12-34 age group through the first six races of the season, up 84% over the average of 174,000 for the first six races of 2021.

The top 10 local market ratings for the race telecast:

  • Greenville-Spartanburg, SC: 1.6
  • Washington, DC: 1.5
  • Richmond, VA: 1.5
  • Hartford, CT: 1.4
  • Fort Myers, FL: 1.4
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg: 1.3
  • Austin, TX: 1.3
  • Tulsa, OK: 1.1
  • Charlotte, NC: 1.1
  • San Diego: 1.1

The Monaco Grand Prix holds the record for the largest audience of any kind ever to watch a Formula 1 race in the U.S. (2.78 million on ABC in 2002 for a same-day delayed telecast). The largest live audience ever for the Monaco event was 1.41 million on NBC in 2013.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football Finishes TV Season as Primetime’s No. 1 Show for 11th Consecutive Year

With the 2021-22 TV season wrapping up tonight, NBC’s Sunday Night Football finishes as primetime’s #1 TV show in all key metrics for an unprecedented 11th consecutive year – adding to its record for the most consecutive years atop the charts (since 1950), based on official live plus same day data provided by Nielsen. Sunday Night Football also ranked as the No. 1 show in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic for the 12th consecutive TV season.

NBC Sunday Night Football posted a Total Audience Delivery average of 19.3 million viewers in 2021, according to official live plus same day data released by Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics.

For the first time ever, Sunday Night Football (18.5 million TV viewers) more than doubled the viewership of television’s most-watched scripted show (Yellowstone, 8.9 million across multiple networks), up from a 75% advantage over last season’s top scripted show (NCIS), a 72% edge in 2019-20, and a 45% lead in 2018-19.

In addition, with an average 9.9/23 household rating, SNF topped Yellowstone by +104% — up from a 60% edge in 2020-21, a 57% advantage in 2019-20, and a 38% lead in 2018-19.

With Peacock live streaming all NBC NFL games for the first time in 2021, NBC Sports Digital hit another viewership milestone for Sunday Night Football, with a record Average Minute Audience of 843,000 viewers across Peacock, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, NFL Digital platforms, and Yahoo Sports mobile properties.

NASCAR at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Airing opposite the most-watched sports telecast of the week (NBA Playoffs on ESPN – Boston/Miami), the NASCAR Cup Series race on FOX earned a 2.20 rating and 3.9 million average viewers, ranking as the second-most-watched sports telecast of the weekend on a broadcast network behind only the Indy500 on NBC. The event earned a 6.78 share, up +9% YOY (6.23 last year) and the highest for the Coca-Cola 600 since 2016 (7.33). The event drew a 2.20 rating, down -4% versus the 2021 Coca Cola 600 on FOX (2.28, Race 15).. Viewership was down -6% versus the 2021 Coca Cola 600 on FOX (4.1 million, Race 15). At peak, 4.3 million viewers were tuned in.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series race earned a 0.46 rating on FS1, with an average of 767,000 viewers tuned in Saturday’s event was FS1’s most-watched sports event of the week. At peak, 951,000 viewers were tuned in.

For the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, the event earned a 0.35 rating on FS1, with an average of 590,000 viewers tuned in Friday’s event was FS1’s most-watched sports event of the week in primetime. At peak, 688,000 viewers were tuned in.

NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway

Airing opposite the most-watched sports telecast of the week (NBA Playoffs on TNT – Golden State/Dallas), the NASCAR All-Star Race on FS1 earned a 1.38 rating and 2.5 million viewers, becoming the second-most-watched sports telecast of the weekend on cable behind only the NBA Playoffs on TNT. The rating was down -16% compared to the 2021 All-Star Race on FS1 (1.64), while viewership was down -10% (2.8 million). The All-Star Race was FS1’s most-viewed sports event of the week. At peak, 2.7 million viewers were tuned in.

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters

;
SVGLogoHR_NOTAG-200

The Latest in Sports Video Production & Technology
in Your Inbox for FREE

Daily Email Newsletters Monday - Friday