Ratings Roundup: World Series Trails Only Last Year as Most-Watched Since 2009; Full Game-by-Game Breakdown

Ratings roundup is a rundown of ratings news from the past week and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, the 2017 World Series proved to be the most watched since 2009 with the exception of the Cubs’ historic Series win last year and we break down the ratings/viewership of this year’s seven-game series game by game. In addition, we recap Week 8 of the NFL season and Week 9 of the college football season, ESPN’s MLS Playoffs ratings are up 80%, Univision scores with last Saturday’s America/Monterrey Liga MX match, NBC’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs are up 9% over 2016, ESPN’s First Take is up 53% over last year, and NBA TV is off to its hottest start ever. 

World Series Trails Only Last Year as Most-Watched Since 2009
The 2017 World Series on FOX averaged 18,909,000 viewers across all seven games (10.7 HH rating), the second-best audience for a World Series since 2009. While it was down 19% below last year’s historic Chicago Cubs’ seven-game victory over the Cleveland Indians, which went into extra innings in Game 7 (23,388,000 viewers), it topped 2015 by 29% (14,700,000) and 2014 by 37% (13,825,000). In terms of ratings, the seven-game series averaged a 10.7 rating, down 18% from last year (13.1, 23.4 million) but up 23% from the five-game Mets-Royals series in 2015 (8.7, 14.7 million). According to SportsMediaWatch, outside last year and the Yankees’ six-game win over the Phillies in 2009 (11.7, 19.4M), this year’s World Series was the highest rated since 2005 (White Sox – Astros with 11.1 million) and the most-watched since 2004 (Red Sox Cardinals with 25.4 million).

Also notable, this year’s World Series notched the second-best rating for teen viewers since 2009 (2.4), outperforming every entertainment primetime program on television.

Overall, FOX Deportes’ World Series coverage was the most-watched ever for Spanish language cable television, averaging 476,000 viewers, up +34% from 2016 (355,000) and more than double (+104%) the 2015 World Series (233,000). (Fox Sports and SMW).

World Series: Inside Game 7 Numbers 
 World Series Game 7 victory by the Houston Astros over the Los Angeles Dodgers averaged more than 29.3 million viewers across FOX (28,229,000), FOX Deportes (778,000) and streaming live on FOX Sports GO (293,918). The game peaked at 31,989,000 viewers from 10:30 to 10:45 PM ET. The game’s 15.8 rating was down 28% from Cubs-Indians last year (the most-watched baseball game since 1991 with a 21.8 rating and 40.1 million viewers), but was up 15% from Giants-Royals in 2014 (13.7, 23.5 million) and, with the exception of Game 7 last year, ranks as the highest rated and most watched baseball game since 2004 (BOS-STL Game 4: 18.2, 28.8M).

FOX Deportes’ Game 7 viewership was up +37% year-to-year, peaking at 907,000 viewers from 11:15 PM ET to 11:30 PM ET. Last night’s finale ranks as the most-watched non-soccer sporting event in Spanish language sports cable television history. 

FOX Sports GO scored an average-minute streaming audience of 293,918 for Game 7, the second-best MLB event ever on FSGO, and the fourth-best authenticated event in FSGO history. (Fox Sports and SMW)

World Series: Inside Game 6 Numbers 
Game 6 scored more that 23 million viewers across Fox (22.23 million), Fox Deportes (535,000), and Fox Sports Go (244,490). It was the second most-watched Game 6 since 2009 (22.3 million for Phillies-Yankees), trailing only last year’s Series. Viewership on Fox peaked at 26.16 million (10:45 – 11:00 p.m. ET). The game’s 12.6 rating and 22.2 million viewers down 5% in ratings and viewership from Cubs-Indians last year (13.2, 23.4M) and up 56% and 66% respectively from Giants-Royals in 2014 (8.1, 13.4M).

Game 6 on Fox Deportes is now the third most-watched MLB postseason baseball game in Spanish-language TV history (it was second prior to Game 7). Fox Sports Go’s average minute audience was 43% higher than last season’s Game 6 and is the fifth-most -watched authenticated event of any sport in Fox Sports Go history (it was fourth prior to Game 7).  (Fox Sports and SMW)

World Series: Inside Game 5 Numbers 
Game 5 – a thrilling 10-inning 13-12 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 – delivered more than 19.6 million viewers on average across FOX (18,940,000), FOX Deportes (496,000) and FOX Sports GO (172,000). Game 5 is the second-best World Series Game 5 since 2003, behind last year’s Indians-Cubs matchup (23,641,000), and was up 10% over Game 5 in 2015 (17,206,000), and up over Game 5 50% over 2014 (12,630,000). In terms of ratings, the game’s 10.5 was down 20% in ratings and viewership from Cubs-Indians last year (13.1, 23.6M) but up 5% and 10% respectively from the Royals-Mets clincher in 2015 (10.0, 17.2M).

On FOX Deportes, Game 5 ranks as the second most-watched MLB postseason game in Spanish language television history and is up +45% over 2016 World Series Game 5 (342,000) and up +68% over 2015 (296,000). On FOX Sports GO, FOX Sports’ streaming app, Game 5 was the seventh-best performing event of any sport in FOX Sports GO history, and was up +8% over last year’s average minute audience for Game 5 (158,629). (Fox Sports and SMW

World Series: Inside Game 4 Numbers
Saturday night’s Game recorded 15,400,000 viewers on FOX, making it the second most-watched Saturday night World Series game since 2004 and another primetime victory for the network. The game’s 8.7 rating (according to Nielsen fast-nationals) was down 6% from last year (9.3, 16.7M), but up 12% from 2015 and was the third-highest for a Saturday game since 2005 (CHW-HOU Game 1: 9.5), behind last year Yankees-Phillies in 2009 (9.1). On Fox Sports Go, Game 4 was up 30% over last year (135,328 vs. 100,005). (Fox Sports and SMW)

World Series: Inside Game 3 Numbers
Friday’s Game 3, which garnered 15,675,000 viewers on FOX, making it the second most-watched Game 3 since 2005 and earned FOX the No. 1 spot in prime time. The game’s 8.8 rating (according to Nielsen fast-nationals) was down 20% from last year, but up 11% from 2015 and was the the third-highest Game 3 rating since Tigers-Cardinals in 2006 (10.2), behind last year and Yankees-Phillies in 2009 (9.1). On Fox Sports Go, Game 3 was up 6% over last year (129,262 vs. 117,226). (Fox Sports and SMW)

CLICK HERE for more ratings info on Games 1 and 2.

Visit SportMediaWatch for plenty more in-depth analysis of the World Series ratings.

NFL Week 8 Recap: Fox’s Dallas-Washington Matchup Tops the Weekend
ESPN’s Monday Night Football matchup of Broncos-Chiefs earned a 6.3 rating and 10.4 million viewers, down 1% in ratings and 1% in viewership from Vikings-Bears last year (6.4, 10.5M). (SMW)

NBC’s Sunday Night Football Steelers-Lions game notched an 8.0 rating and 13.9 million viewers on NBC Sunday night, down 21% in ratings and 23% in viewership from Eagles-Cowboys last year (10.2, 18.0M). (SMW)

FOX had the highest rated and most-viewed game of the week, earning a 12.7 rating and 22.0 million viewers for Sunday’s Dallas-Washington NFL national window, down 3% in ratings and viewership from Packers-Falcons last year (13.1, 22.7M). Earlier in the day, coverage featuring Bears-Saints in 50% of markets had a 7.3 (down 5%) and 12.4 million (down 3%). (SMW)

Sunday’s Week 8 NFL singleheader on CBS, featuring Patriots-Chargers in 48% of markets, delivered an 8.9 rating and 15.2 million viewers on CBS, down 6% in ratings and viewership from last year (9.5, 16.2M). (SMW)

College Football Week 9 Recap: Penn St/Ohio St. Busts Out for Fox
Saturday afternoon’s highly-anticipated top-10 matchup Penn State and Ohio State of Fox notched 9,868,000 viewers on average, ranking as FOX’s most-watched regular season college football game of all time and ranking second overall to only the 2013 Big Ten Championship (Ohio State-Michigan State: 13.0M). It was also the second most-viewed game of the season to Alabama-Florida State (12.3 million) on ABC in week one. The game peaked from 7-7:15 PM ET with 14.4 million viewers. (Fox Sports and SMW)

Last Saturday’s SEC on CBS Georgia-Florida college football game delivered a 2.0 rating and 3.4 million viewers, down 23% in ratings and 24% in viewership from the same matchup last year (2.6, 4.5M). (SMW)

Regional college football action featuring either Georgia Tech-Clemson or Texas Tech-Oklahoma earned a 2.0 rating and 3.46 million viewers on ABC’s Saturday Night Football last weekend — down 38% in ratings and 36% in viewership from Clemson-Florida State last year (3.2, 5.4M). (SMW)

ESPN scored a 1.2 rating and 1.9 million viewers for last Saturday’s Wisconsin-Illinois college football game, down 59% in ratings and viewership from Michigan-Michigan State last year (2.9, 4.6M). Michigan State-Northwestern had a 0.7 (-68%) and 1.1 million (-69%) and Mississippi State-Texas A&M scored a 0.9 (-58%) and 1.6 million (-56%). USC-Arizona State had a 0.8 and 1.4 million (no comparable window last year). (SMW)

As always, check out SportMediaWatch for more in-depth analysis of last week’s NFL and college football ratings.

MLS Cup Playoffs Audience Up 80% on ESPN/ESPN2
ESPN’s presentation of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs is up significantly versus a year ago. Through three games, matches on ESPN and ESPN2 have averaged 327,000 viewers, according to Nielsen – an 80% increase from 182,000 viewers for the first three playoff matches in 2016. Additionally, the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs on ESPN and ESPN2 in 2017 have delivered significant increases across key demos.

Viewership in the coveted men 18-34 demo is up 141 percent (70,000 vs. 29,000 in 2016), and men 18-49 is up 117 percent (141,000 vs. 65,000 in 2016). Average viewership for 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs on ESPN/ESPN2 among adults 18-49 has grown 123 percent (201,000 vs. 90,000 in 2016).

Average audience for the three 2017 MLS Cup Playoff matches on ESPN/ESPN2: Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew on ESPN2 drew 319,000 (Thu, Oct 26); Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders on ESPN drew 250,000 (Sun, Oct 29); Columbus Crew vs. New York City FC on ESPN drew 424,000 (Tue, Oct 31). (ESPN)

Univision’s America/Monterrey Match Second Only to SuperClasico This Liga MX Season
On Saturday night, Univision’s America/Monterrey match on the channel drew more than 1.24 million viewers with 666,000 among adults 18-49, making it the second most-viewed Liga MX match of the season, trailing only the SuperClasico. That night, airing back-to-back Liga MX soccer matches, Univision was the No. 1 Spanish-language network, more than doubling the viewership of its competitor among Total Viewers 2+ (+101%), Adults 18-49 (+133%) and Adults 18-34 (+177%). Univision was the No. 4 network, regardless of language, among Adults 18-49, beating CBS by +4%. Among Adults 18-34 Univision ranked No. 3, with double-digit advantages over both CBS (+40%) and ABC (+66%). (Univision)

NBC’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Up 9% Over 2016
NBC Sports Group’s coverage of NASCAR Cup Series racing from Talladega Superspeedway, Kansas Speedway and Martinsville Speedway averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 3.52 million viewers, a 9% increase compared to the same three races in 2016.

NBC Sports Group’s presentation of this past Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race from Martinsville averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 2.79 million viewers across NBCSN and NBC Sports Digital properties, up 4% vs. the 2016 TAD for the same race. In addition, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Cup Series race from Talladega on Sunday, October 15 averaged a TAD of 4.74 million viewers, up 32% vs. 2016. NBCSN’s presentation of the Monster Energy Cup Series race from Kansas on Sunday, October 22 averaged a TAD of 2.77 million viewers, up 4% vs. NBCSN’s 2016 fall Cup Series race average. (NBC Sports Group)

ESPN’s First Take Viewership Up 53% Over October 2016
In October, ESPN’s First Take enjoyed a 53% increase in overall viewership over the previous year, averaging 465,000 viewers (P2+, Nielsen’s October: September 25 – October 29). The month also saw an increase of 79% for men 18-34 compared to the same month last year (109,000 vs. 61,000).

Taking the show on the road for the start of the NBA season produced especially popular telecasts. Stephen A. Smith was on the road in Cleveland for the Cavaliers home opener on October 17 with viewership up 45% over the same day in 2016. That stop was followed by the whole team in Los Angeles for two days for the Lakers home opener (Oct. 19 and 20) with viewership up 87% over the previous year. The top days for viewership this month included Monday, Sept. 25, with 578,000 fans tuning in for a debate on President Trump’s statements about the NFL, Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 9) with 566,000 viewers and the first day of the Los Angeles trip with 537,000 viewers tuning in to watch Jamie Foxx’s impersonations of Smith and LeBron James.

In addition, First Take’s audience was more than triple that of Undisputed on FS1 – 465,000 vs. 151,000. The ESPN show’s advantage among men 18-34 was also more than triple that of Undisputed with an average of 109,000 impressions vs. 33,000 for FS1. (ESPN)

NBA TV Off to a Host Start
NBA TV is enjoying its most-watched live game telecasts since 2011 through the first two weeks of the season. The network is averaging 434,000 viewers through its first seven games, up 54% over last year’s comparable coverage.  Meanwhile, pre-game coverage is delivering a 53% viewership rise, with its post-game coverage spiking 28% this season. (Cynopsis Sports)

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