Ratings Roundup: SEC on CBS Posts Best Season Ever; Bears-Cowboys Hands ESPN Best MNF Rating of Year

The final numbers are in and CBS has scored its best average rating for a full season of SEC football since the Network began airing primarily an SEC-only schedule in 2001.  With a 4.5/10 rating/share, the SEC on CBS is highest-rated regular-season college football package on any network for the fifth consecutive season and is up 15% from last year (3.9/9).

CBS capped its record-setting coverage with SEC Championship game on Saturday, which pulled in an 8.6/17 rating/share and averaged 14.4 million viewers, making it the most watched college football game of the 2013 regular season. Auburn’s defeat of Missouri is tied for the highest rated college football game of the 2013 regular season with Alabama-Texas A&M on Sep. 14, which earned a 8.6/19.  Auburn’s miracle win over Alabama on Nov. 30 ranks third with a 8.2/17…

…Overall, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS combined to reach more than 189,000,000 viewers for game telecasts, averaging 1,865,000 viewers for 254 regular-season games. ESPN averaged 2,644,000 viewers, an increase of 3 percent over last season (vs. 2,564,000). ESPN2 averaged 1,108,000 viewers, an 8 percent increase (vs. 1,024,000). ESPNU averaged 400,000 viewers, an increase of 4 percent (385,000).

ABC averaged 4,777,000 viewers for its games, down slightly from a 2012 campaign that included the network’s second most-viewed regular-season game since 1991 (16,059,000 viewers for Notre Dame defeating USC 22-13 on November 24). ABC would be up 3 percent over 2012 without the record-setting telecast. ABC’s Saturday Night Football Presented by Windows 8, the first weekly prime-time college football game on broadcast television, averaged 5,750,000 viewers and a 3.5 HH US rating, and was the most-watched program of the night in viewers on six of its 12 broadcasts this season…

…This week’s Monday Night Football telecast (Chicago Bears’ 45-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys) was ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed (based on households) MNF game of the 2013 NFL season. The Cowboys-Bears telecast earned a 10.2 US rating and 16,192,000 viewers. Coverage peaked from 9:45-10 p.m. ET with an 11.9 US rating. In Dallas, the game delivered a 19.9 rating on ESPN and a 5.8 on KTXD-IND, for a combined 25.6 rating in the market. In Chicago, the game delivered a 12.9 rating on ESPN and a 24.5 on WLS-ABC, for a combined 37.4 rating in the market.

The MNF season-opener (Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins, Sept. 9) was ESPN’s previous best rating (10.1) and it remains the network’s most-viewed game of the season among viewers (16,524,000). Through 14 weeks (15 games), ESPN’s MNF is averaging an 8.6 US rating, 10,012,000 households and 13,677,000 viewers in 2013, increases of two, four and four percent, respectively, versus the same period in 2012.

…NFL games were the two most-watched shows on TV last week (Dec. 2-8) with the FOX national telecast (mostly Seattle Seahawks-San Francisco 49ers) topping all sports and entertainment competition with 27.6 million viewers followed by NBC’s Sunday Night Football (Carolina Panthers-New Orleans Saints) with 19.1 million viewers. An NFL game has topped the viewership charts in all 14 weeks this season. Locally, an NFL game was the highest-rated show in 28 of 30 NFL markets last week.

NFL games were also 1-2 on cable for the week, with New Orleans Saints-Seattle Seahawks ESPN Monday Night Football at No. 1 followed by NFL Network’s Houston Texans-Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday Night Football game…

…NBA TV’s Miami Heat – Indiana Pacers telecast on Tuesday generated an average of 920,000 total viewers to become the network’s most-viewed telecast ever. The game averaged more than one million viewers from 10:15 to 10:30 p.m. ET. The prior mark was set on the opening night of the NBA regular season last year with the matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers delivering an average of 868,000 total viewers on Oct. 31, 2012.

Earlier this week, NBA TV delivered its second most-viewed telecast of the season with the return of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers facing the Toronto Raptors, which attracted an average of 691,000 total viewers on Sunday, Dec. 8…

…Last Friday’s Final Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN2 averaged 489,000 viewers and a 0.3 U.S. household rating, making it the most-watched FIFA World Cup Draw on the ESPN networks. The audience grew by 34% in viewers and 14% in households over the previous high for a World Cup Draw on ESPN’s networks, which was the 1994 World Cup Draw in Las Vegas on Dec. 19, 1993 (364,000 viewers. The top five markets were: Las Vegas (1.2), Baltimore (0.8), Miami (0.8), Cincinnati (0.8) and Orlando (0.7).

On digital platforms the World Cup Draw generated a total of 10.9 million page views (up 49 percent compared to the 2009 Draw), 19.2 million minutes and 2.3 million video starts for the day across and the ESPN FC mobile Web, the latter of which accounted for 42 percent of total digital page views traffic (up from only 10 percent in 2009).  Specifically, recorded its second biggest day for video starts since it launched in August 2012 and logged 1.6 million unique visitors (up 21 percent), while the ESPN FC mobile Web registered 875,000 unique visitors (up 425 percent). Live ESPN2 coverage on WatchESPN and the world feed on ESPN3 collectively generated 189,500 unique viewers and 5.2 million live minutes, making it the most-watched live event on WatchESPN on Friday, Dec. 6…

..Saturday’s MLS Cup Final made a historic milestone, as UniMas, whose broadcast of the game delivered an average of 514,000 total viewers and 245,000 Adults 18-49 for a 12% rise year-to-year, marked the first time a Spanish language broadcast of the final bested its English equivalent. ESPN delivered 505,000 for the same game. In fact, Univision is reporting that its broadcasts of the MLS regular season on UniMas beat out both ESPN2 and NBCSN in total viewers with an average of 223,000 (Cynopsis Sports)…

…Meanwhile, HBO announced that late-night boxing franchise HBO Boxing After Dark wrapped up its 18th season on a high note. The series averaged 1.0 million viewers this season for main event fights, up 12% over last year. (Cynopsis Sports).

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