Ratings Roundup: NBC, CBC Olympic Numbers Bolstered By Streaming Services

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 edition, both NBC and CBC’s Olympic coverage continues to dominate ratings led by their digital platforms, additional data shows that the College Football Playoff was the second-most watched cable program in history, an audience increase across all platforms for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, Fox Sports sees an uptick of 4% across all of its regional networks at the NBA All-Star Break and ABC draws its biggest rating for its Sunday NBA showcase in the past five years. Also, the PGA Tour’s “West Coast Swing” brings CBS its highest ratings for these events in the past five years, TSN’s plan for the upcoming NHL trade deadline based off of last year’s high ratings, and the Daytona 500 sees ratings and viewership take a tumble up against the Olympics.  

The 2018 edition of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea has been a ratings blockbuster for NBC Sports Group. Night after night, the ratings across all NBC channels and platforms have been at the top, most notably on NBCSN, which since the the first day of coverage on Feb. 8, has been the most watched cable network on television, averaging 2.4 million viewers per day over the past week, according to Nielsen.

Helping NBCSN’s cause was the U.S. men’s hockey team’s 5-1 win over Slovakia on Feb. 19, which drew 1.6 million viewers and was not only NBCSN’s most-watched late-night hockey game in four years but the second-most watched hockey game in the late-night time slot in NBCSN history, according to fast national live plus same day data from Nielsen.  

NBC, as a whole, has averaged 18.9 million viewers a night since the Olympics began (as of Feb. 20), doubling the numbers of ABC, CBS, and Fox, thanks in large part to a concerted effort to live-stream Olympic coverage on their digital platform, NBC Sports Digital. In the first eight days of PyeongChang 2018, NBC Sports Digital has streamed 862 million live minutes of coverage, more than double the 420 million live-streaming minutes for the entire length of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Viewers have also consumed 1.1 billion total streaming minutes (979 million live) of NBC Sports Digital’s PyeongChang coverage – nearly five times the 243 million streaming minutes for the 2014 Sochi Olympics up to this point.

Led by Lindsey Vonn’s bronze medal performance in her final Olympic downhill, NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage on Feb. 20 delivered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) average of 20.5 million viewers, which is up 8% over the second Tuesday of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to live plus same day fast national data from Nielsen and digital data from Adobe Analytics.

Viewership for that night peaked at 23.8 million viewers from 9:30-9:45 p.m. ET, for women’s alpine skiing on NBC and women’s figure skating short program on NBCSN, resulting in an 88% advantage over the combined 10.7 million primetime viewers for ABC, CBS, and Fox. The NBC-only 17.6 million viewers in the 8-11 p.m. ET primetime window topped by 64% the other broadcast networks, solidifying the day as  the most dominant 2nd Tuesday of Winter Games coverage since Sept. 1987.

CBC’s Olympic Coverage Reaches Over 80% Of Population Over First 10 Days
After 10 days of intense competition, 29 million Canadians (82 per cent of the population) have watched some part of CBC/Radio-Canada’s PyeongChang 2018 coverage across all English and French television network partners, digital streaming simulcasts and CBC/Radio-Canada Olympics apps.

CBC’s English-language primetime coverage across all broadcast networks during the first 10 days has garnered a 2+ average minute audience of more than three million viewers to date, with CBC alone delivering a 24% primetime audience share since the start of the Winter Games, the highest-rated day being Day 2, which saw with 18.8 million Canadians tuning in across all live television and digital platforms, with a peak number of 3.6 million viewers watching Canada’s win its first gold medal of the 2018 Winter Games in team figure skating.

The highest peak audience number for CBC was on Feb. 19 when 4.3 million Canadians watched ice dancers Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje’s performance as part of the short program.

Complete Nielsen Report Shows Even More Impressive ESPN CFP Viewership
This season’s College Football Playoff on ESPN had two of the most-watched cable telecasts in history, according to Nielsen’s fast nationals reporting which was available less than 24 hours after each game. Now, with Nielsen’s “out-of-home” and complete streaming data reported, resulting in a complete total live audience figure, both the total audience number for the College Football Playoff National Championship and the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl rose by 1.5 million viewers, further cementing this year’s College Football Playoff as an overwhelming success.

The now-finalized total live audience for the CFP National Championship, featuring Alabama defeating Georgia in overtime, comes in at 29,932,000 viewers, up from 28,443,000 viewers reported the day after the game. The nearly 30 million viewers further solidifies the Crimson Tide’s walk-off victory as the second most-watched cable program ever, a ranking it already earned based on the Nielsen fast national reporting on Jan. 9. Among all television programs, both broadcast and cable, over the past year plus, the viewership for this year’s game surpasses nearly all non-NFL postseason programming based on Nielsen numbers.

The final Nielsen total live audience for the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game, where Georgia defeated Oklahoma in overtime, is 28,311,000 viewers (including out-of-home), up from the 26,826,000 viewers reported on Jan. 2, making this year’s Rose Bowl Game the third-largest cable audience ever reported, up from the fifth most-watched cable telecast based on Nielsen fast national data.

2018 NBA All-Star Game Audience Increases Across All Turner Platforms
Turner’s exclusive coverage of the 2018 NBA All-Star Game saw audience increases across all platforms – television, digital and social, as well as delivered household viewership and growth across all key demos.  The 4.3 U.S. household rating and 5.1 million household impressions were up 2%, the best for the event since 2013, based on Nielsen Fast Nationals.Sunday’s telecast generated double-digit growth across all core demos, most notably 11% among people 18-34, 10% in amongst men 18-34 and 6% for  people 18-49 compared to last year.

Competing against the Olympics wasn’t a problem as this year’s edition saw its household viewership up 3% vs. Sochi 2014 Games and 16% vs. Vancouver 2010 with viewership peaking at an average of 8.2 million total viewers from 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET. on Sunday, which led TNT to win the night across all of cable television, based on metered market delivery.

Turner’s social media and streaming platform also saw an uptick for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game as the company’s TV Everywhere platforms are up 101% in video starts over last year and Turner’s Facebook and Twitter NBA social channels saw significant increases  with video views up 37% vs. the 2017 game.

Fox Sports Networks Household Ratings Up 4% Nationwide At NBA All-Star Break
The Fox regional sports networks group finished the first half of the NBA season up 4% in household ratings nationwide compared to the same point last season, 1.64 vs. 1.57. The group was led by Fox Sports Ohio, as the Cleveland Cavaliers earned the top household rating, 8.21, up 15%, in the Eastern Conference and second highest rating in the NBA at the All-Star break. In addition, the top household rating increases at the All-Star break belong to Fox Sports North’s Minnesota Timberwolves coverage, which is up 65%, (2.59 vs. 1.58), Fox Sports Detroit’s Pistons coverage is up 35% (1.64 vs. 1.22), FS Southwest’ San Antonio Spurs coverage is up 24% (6.37 vs.5.15), FS North’s Milwaukee Bucks coverage  is up 19% (2.47 vs. 2.07) and FS Midwest’s Indiana Pacers coverage, which is up 17% (3.48 vs.2.97).

ABC Sees Most-Watched NBA Sunday Showcase Broadcast In Five Years
The much-anticipated game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics on Feb. 11 helped ABC draw its most-watched NBA Sunday Showcase broadcast since Feb. 10, 2013, according to Nielsen.

The broadcast delivered an average of 4,635,000 viewers, up 62% from 2,867,000 viewers for last year’s game between the San Antonio Spurs and the New York Knicks, peaking at 5,364,000 viewers from 5:15-5:30 p.m. ET. ABC’s NBA Sunday Showcase is averaging 3,570,000 viewers per game this season, which is up 32% from last year’s number of 2,710,000 viewers at this time.

CBS’ Coverage Of PGA ‘West Coast Swing’ Has Highest Ratings In Five Years
The recent West Coast portion of the 2018 PGA Tour, featuring events like the Farmers Insurance Open, Waste Management Phoenix Open, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Genesis Open, all broadcast by CBS Sports, scored its highest average rating and viewership in five years.

The average household number for these four events was up 11% from last year, with a 2.1 million viewers while viewership was up 10% , with 3.1 million views compared to last year’s numbers.

TSN NHL Trade Deadline Coverage Looks To Build Of High 2017 Ratings
Building off of last year’s viewership number of 1.7 million, TSN is ready for the NHL trade deadline of Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. ET, with it’s annual Tradecentre broadcast, which as been a TSN staple for the past 18 years.

The network’s 10-hour live broadcast event will begin at 8 a.m. ET and extensive coverage will also feature prominently on TSN’s website, TSN Radio’s eight stations across Canada and on TSN’s social media platforms.

Daytona 500 Ratings Fall To All-Time Low Opposite Winter Olympics
Sunday’s Daytona 500, broadcast on Fox, earned a 5.3 rating and 9.3 million viewers, per Nielsen fast-nationals, down 20% in ratings and 22% in viewership from last year’s numbers (6.6, 11.9M). The 5.3 rating is the lowest for the Daytona 500 since live start-to-finish coverage began in 1979.

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