Ratings Roundup: 2018 Masters Sees Double-Digit Increase For All Rounds, Manchester Derby Most Watched U.S. Premier League Game Ever

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, the 2018 Masters saw higher than normal ratings which bled into other golf broadcasts, the recent Manchester derby was the most watched Premier League match by Americans ever, NBA ratings across all networks were reaching season-level highs entering the playoffs, the WNBA draft sees a major ratings increase, the opening weekend of the Stanley Cup playoffs sees higher viewership numbers, the New York Yankees ratings rampage continues and Univision Deportes finishes in the top three.

The 84th Masters saw Patrick Reed claim the prestigious green jacket with a one-stroke victory at the famed Augusta National Golf Club. Also claiming victory were CBS and ESPN, who both saw double-digit increases in both their ratings and viewership numbers during their respective Masters telecasts.

ESPN’s live telecast of the second round of the Masters Tournament earned a 2.9 overnight rating, up 55% over last year’s second round ratings  and up 27% from two years ago. The rating was ESPN’s best on Friday since 2013.

ESPN’s telecast of the second round, which aired from 3-7:45 p.m., peaked between 6:15-6:30 p.m. ET with a 3.3 rating as Tiger Woods was playing the closing holes of his round.

For its coverage of the first two rounds of the 2018 Masters, ESPN averaged 3.5 million viewers, which is up 46% from last year’s number and the highest two-day average in five years.

CBS Sports handled the weekend coverage of the 2018 Masters and like ESPN, saw a major uptick with the third-round coverage earning an average household metered market rating/share of 5.7/13, which is 24% higher that last year’s ratings/share. This year’s third-round rating peaked with at 6.1 from 5:45-6:00 p.m. and from 6:15-6:30 p.m. ET.  

CBS Sports’ final-round coverage earned an average national rating/share of 7.9/18, an increase of 16% from last year and peaked with an 11.0/21 rating/share from 6:45-7:00 p.m. ET. The final round was seen by an average of 13.027 million viewers, up 18% from last year’s final round, according to Nielsen.

This year’s final round was the highest-rated and most-watched golf telecast since the final round of the Masters in 2015, peaking with a 9.9/21 rating/share and 16.836 million viewers from 6:15-6:30 p.m. ET.  

CBS Sports’ streaming coverage drew record numbers as well with 873 million total minutes of coverage streamed, an increase of 110% from last year.

The high viewership for the Masters has bled in other golf programming as well with the final round of the RBC Heritage, which drew a 2.0/4 from 3-6 p.m. ET,  33% higher than last year and the highest-rated final round for the event in three years, according to Cynopsis Sports.

Seeing high ratings as well post-Masters was Golf Channel’s new competition show Shotmakers, which had 1.2 million viewers tune in to the two-night premiere. It also had the youngest prime time audience for a Golf Channel premiere in two years, with more than half of the total audience being aged 25-54, according to Nielsen.

Manchester Derby Most U.S. Watched Premier League Match Ever
NBC Sports’ telecast of Manchester United’s 3-2 come-from-behind victory over cross-town rival Manchester City on April 7 posted a total audience delivery (TAD) average of 1.72 million viewers across all NBC platforms, making it the most-watched Premier League match in the U.S. ever, according to data released today by Nielsen and Adobe Analytics. In addition, more than 167,000 unique devices streamed the Manchester Derby on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The NBA Finishes The Regular Season And Enters Playoffs On Ratings High
The 2017-18 NBA regular season was a ratings boom for the league’s TV partners, as ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV all has very successful season when it comes to rating and viewership numbers.

TNT’s NBA telecasts averaged 1.7 million viewers this year, delivering the network’s most-watched NBA coverage in four seasons.  This year’s viewership is up 13% in total viewers compared to last year. TNT also garnered double-digit growth across all key demos including People 18-34 (+14%), People 18-49 (+15%), Men 18-34 (+14%) and Men 18-49 (+18%).

NBA TV’s live game coverage this season averaged 314,000 viewers and NBA League Pass gained 63% in digital subscriptions globally compared to last year.

ABC’s NBA broadcasts averaged 3,818M viewers across 17 games during the 2017-18 regular season, a 17% increase from last season, according to Nielsen. ABC also experienced double-digit increases in several key demos for its NBA coverage, including 21 % for males 18-49, 17% for people ages 18-49 and 18-34, and 14% for people 18-34.

Both of ABC’s franchises were up double-digits in viewership this season. NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC averaged 3,388,000 viewers, up 15 % from last season. The NBA Sunday Showcase on ABC averaged 2,947,000 viewers, up 23 % from last season, making it the most-watched NBA Sunday Showcase series in four years.

ESPN’s viewership for the 2017-18 NBA regular season was up across platforms, according to Nielsen, averaging 1,628,000 viewers per telecast, 4% higher than last season.

The high ratings numbers have made their way into the postseason as well as ESPN and ABC’s coverage on April 14 was up 17 % from last year, making it the highest-rated opening Saturday in five years, according to Nielsen. The four-game slate averaged a 2.7 metered market rating and all four telecasts were up year over year from their corresponding windows.

Most notably was the Philadelphia 76ers’ victory over the Miami Heat, which drew a 2.9 metered market rating, up 26% from last year’s game. The Sixers-Heat telecast was the highest-rated opening Saturday game on ESPN in six years and the highest-rated Sixers game in 15 years, according to the PhillyVoice.

2018 WNBA Draft Has A Major Ratings Jump
ESPN’s telecast of the 2018 WNBA Draft on April 12, averaged 212,000 viewers, a 25% increase from last year. ESPN2’s telecast of the first round was the most-watched ESPN2 telecast since 2014 and garnered an average audience of 308,000, a 13% higher than last year’s viewership. The second and third rounds, which aired on ESPNU, had a 49% increase over last year.

Opening Weekend Of 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Most-Watched In Four Years
Viewership across the NBC platform of networks for the first five days of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs is the best in four years and up 5% from last years.

The Total Audience Delivery (TAD) has averaged 761,000 viewers, the best average viewership through five days since 2014, up 5% from last year and up 13% compared to two years ago. The household rating for the playoffs on all platforms through five days is a 0.45, up 7% from last year.

NBC’s opening weekend coverage averaged a TAD of 1.888 million viewers, the best in four years, and up 30% from last year. NBC averaged a 1.13 household rating this past weekend, up 33% from last year.

The New York Yankees Have Highest-Rated Weekend Game Since 2012
The Baltimore Orioles- New York Yankees game on April 8 was the highest-rated weekend game on the YES network in six years, averaging a 4.69 rating and 405,000 total viewers. The game peaked from 5:45-6:00 p.m. with a 6.05 household rating and 534,000 viewers.

Univision Deportes Finishes Q1 2018 As Top Three Sports Network Among Adults 18-49
Univision Deportes Network (UDN), delivered record-breaking ratings and double-digit growth this first quarter in key metrics for its sports content across media platforms, finished the first quarter as the number-threexx sports network, regardless of language, during primetime among Adults 18-49. This is the sixth straight year of growth for UDN and the fourth time it has ranked as the No. 3 sports networks in primetime among adults 18-49 for a quarter.

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