Ratings Roundup: USFL Championship Peaks at More Than 1.8 Million Viewers on FOX; ESPN’s Fortnight of Wimbledon Viewership Climbs 26%

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, the USFL Championship peaks at more than 1.8 million viewers on FOX, ESPN’s fortnight of Wimbledon viewership climbs 26%, and more.

USFL Championship Peaks at More Than 1.8 Million Viewers on FOX

1,517,000 viewers tuned in for the 2022 USFL Championship on Sunday, July 3 on Fox. The audience peaked with 1,834,000 viewers from 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET and the championship was the most-watched and most-streamed USFL contest since the league’s opening weekend in April 2022. Locally, Birmingham averaged an 11.0/24 of the championship game, the market’s best USFL telecast since Week 1.

ESPN’s Fortnight of Wimbledon Viewership Climbs 26%

ESPN’s viewership for the fortnight of exclusive daily live marathon linear TV coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon climbed 26% from 2021 to an average of 647,000 viewers (P2+) over its nearly 150 hours of English-language coverage. The number of hours encompasses live match coverage across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. In total, ESPN/ESPN2/ABC presented 157 hours from London when including the six Breakfast at Wimbledon programs and encores of the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Championships on ABC.

Sunday morning’s Gentlemen’s Championship – Novak Djokovic capturing his seventh Wimbledon crown, fourth straight at the All England Club, and 21st Major title overall 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) against Nick Kyrgios – averaged 2.2 million viewers. That represents an increase of 22 percent from last year (Djokovic over Matteo Berrettini in four sets). The audience peaked with 3.3 million people at noon ET as the top seed closed out the Australian challenger in the fourth set tie break.

The Ladies’ Championship on Saturday morning saw No. 17 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan rally from one set down to defeat No. 3 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. It was the maiden Major final for both players. The match garnered an average of 1.2 million viewers, up 9% from a year ago (Ashleigh Barty defeated Karolína Plíšková in three sets).

As always, both Championships were reaired later each day on ABC at 3 p.m. Those broadcasts averaged 931,000 viewers, an increase of 13%.

YES Network Notches Best June for Yankees Viewership in 12 Years

The YES Network’s performance during the month of June mirrored that of the New York Yankees on the field, resulting in several Yankees viewership milestones for the network.

YES’ Yankees game telecasts averaged 391,000 Total Viewers during the month of June in the New York DMA, marking the network’s best Yankees June viewership in 12 years, since 2010

Buoyed by a great June, YES averaged 345,000 Total Viewers through the 4th of July weekend, up 19% year-over-year, and YES’ best season-to-date Yankees delivery in four years, since 2018

From Tuesday, June 14 through Thursday, June 30, YES’ Primetime Yankees games have ranked #1 in Total Viewers in Primetime on 8 of 11 game nights among English-language programs (cable and broadcast) in the New York market; during that same window, Yankees games have finished #1 in the market in the Persons 25-54 sales demo on 9 of 11 game nights.

Through 64 regular season telecasts through the 4th of July weekend, 17 Yankees games on YES averaged at least 400,000 Total Viewers, including 12 in June alone. By comparison, only nine YES telecasts averaged at least 400,000 Total Viewers during the entire 2021 season (128 games)

17 of YES’ 25 most-viewed Yankees games this season occurred in June.

Boston Red Sox Victory Over New York Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball Delivered 2,175,000 Viewers across ESPN and ESPN2

The Boston Red Sox victory over the New York Yankees on the July 10 edition of Sunday Night Baseball averaged 2,175,000 viewers across ESPN and ESPN2, according to Nielsen. Viewership for the telecasts was up 11% from the same matchup last year and up 24% from last season’s Yankees vs. Red Sox three-game average.

Sunday’s game telecast peaked with 2,750,000 viewers from 9:45-10 p.m. ET. It was the second-most watched edition of Sunday Night Baseball this season, trailing only the opening weekend telecast of the same matchup – Red Sox vs. Yankees – on April 10.

Red Sox Walk-Off Delivers Most-Watched Regular Season Telecast Since Field of Dreams

2,636,000 viewers tuned in for FOX MLB’s Baseball Night in America on Saturday, highlighted by the Boston Red Sox extra-inning win over the New York Yankees. The game was the most-watched regular season baseball telecast on any network since FOX’s MLB at Field of Dreams game last August. IT was also up 25% over last year’s season average for FOX Saturday Baseball telecasts (2,110,000). On FOX Sports streaming services, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox game averaged 16,784 viewers.

Here are the rankings in home markets:

  • New York – 4.2/13
  • Boston – 4.8/16
  • San Francisco 2.9/13
  • San Diego 5.9/22

NBC Sports Delivers the Largest Audience in 13 Years for American Century Celebrity Golf Championship

NBC Sports presentation of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament – highlighted by Tony Romo winning in a two-hole playoff against Joe Pavelski and Mark Mulder – delivered the largest audience for the event since 2009 across NBC, GOLF Channel and Peacock.

In addition, a record 67,000 spectators attended in-person at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.

Among the viewership highlights:

  • Sunday’s coverage on NBC and Peacock averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.4 million viewers – marking the highest final-round viewership for the event since 2009 and up 17% from last year (1.2 million).
  • NBC-TV viewership peaked at 2.4 million from 6:30-6:42 p.m. ET on Sunday during the final playoff hole.
  • Across the three days on NBC, GOLF Channel and Peacock, the event averaged a TAD of 963,000 viewers – the best viewership for the event since 2009 and up 19% from last year.
  • Friday’s coverage on GOLF Channel and Peacock delivered the best-ever average viewership for the event’s opening round, with a TAD of 211,000 viewers.

ESPN’s Second Quarter Is Up 22% in Prime Time, Best Since 2014

In the second quarter of 2022, ESPN rode the strength of the NBA and NHL playoffs, spring college sports and virtually across the board increases among SportsCenter and other studio shows to post its best viewership in prime time since 2014 – an average of 1.64 million people. That represents an increase of 22% over last year. In addition, the network led all of cable in total-day audience in the 18-49 demographic. For the overall audience (P2+), ESPN was up 4% to an average of 612,000, a high-water mark for the network since 2016.

ESPN’s NBA game telecasts in the three months averaged 83% more viewers than in 2021. The NHL was a strong addition to the lineup; for the quarter, the network’s average viewership was 89% higher than the 2021 schedule. WNBA games were up 15%, the WNBA Draft was up 20%, PGA Championship Golf coverage was up 12%, and the five Formula One races on ESPN were up 11%.

Spring college sports also performed well. The softball regular season was the best since 2018 and up 24% while the Regionals/Super Regionals were up 11%. Baseball’s Regionals/Super Regionals were up 20%, the men’s lacrosse title game was the most-viewed since 2013 and up 34% and the women’s championship was the most-viewed women’s game ever, up 381%.

In the studio there was virtually universal increases, led by NBA Today (up 38% vs. the time slot in 2021) and the 11 p.m. SportsCenter (up 25%). SportsCenter also saw its audience grow at 7 a.m., noon, 6 p.m. and midnight. Beyond the flagship program, every show enjoyed a larger audience than a year ago – from Get Up and First Take in the morning, to This Just In (compared to the time slot), NBA Today, NFL Live, Around the Horn, and Pardon the Interruption (the most-watched studio show with an average of 625,000) in the afternoon.

NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta

The NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta ranked as the No. 1 highest-rated and No. 2 most-viewed sport of the week on television (July 4- July 10)

NCS at Atlanta earned a 1.51 rating on USA Network, with an average of 2.626 million viewers. The rating was up +3% over 2021 Atlanta on NBCSN (1.47), while
viewership was up +4% (2.5 million). The rating was up +20% over the 2021 NBCSN Cup Series season average (1.26), while viewership was up 22% (2.2 million). 2022 Atlanta on USA outperformed all 2021 events on NBCSN in both ratings and viewers. The race ranked as the best-performing NCS event on an NBC cable network (NBCSN or
USA) since July 2020. Viewership peaked with 3.2 million viewers.

NASCAR Cup Series Race at Road America

The NASCAR Cup Series at Road America ranked as the No. 1 most-viewed sport of the week on television (June 27 –July 3). The race also earned a 1.15 rating on USA, with an average of 1.930 million viewers. The rating was down -9% versus the 2021 NBCSN Cup Series Avg. (1.26), while viewership was down -11% versus the 2021 NBCSN Cup Series Avg (2.2 million). Viewership peaked at the conclusion of the race with 2.2 million viewers. HUTs for the Road America time window were 24.79. The average Sunday HUTs in 2022 during the Road America time window prior to Sunday, July 3 were 31.68. HUTs for this race on USA were down 22% compared to last year’s cable opener on NBCSN.

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