Ratings Roundup: Pittsburgh-Carolina Reaches New Season High on TNF ; OSU-MSU Clash Wins Week 11 of College Football

Ratings roundup is a rundown of rating news from the past week and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, the NFL received lukewarm ratings as the season reaches Week 10, Ohio State-Michigan State led college football this week, and ESPN’s college basketball “classics” set positive trend to open up the season.

Steelers Win Over Carolina Sets Season-High Mark on Thursday Night Football
Thursday night’s Carolina-Pittsburgh matchup delivered a 10.5/18 metered market rating, up 12% over last year’s Week 10 TNF game (vs. Seattle/Arizona; 9.4/16) and up 14% over this season’s TNF average (9.2/16). This rating is the highest for any Thursday night game of the season. The broadcast powered Fox to a first-place finish and won the primetime slot among metered market for the seventh consecutive week…

…According to SportsMediaWatch, the Week 10 national window on The NFL on CBS, featuring Seahawks-Rams in 76% of markets, had a 12.1 rating and 20.8 million viewers — down 5% in ratings and viewership from last year (mostly Cowboys-Falcons: 12.8. 22.0M) and down 26% and 28% respectively from 2016 (mostly Cowboys-Steelers: 16.4, 28.9M). The first half of the CBS doubleheader had a 7.2 (-3%) and 11.8 million (-5%)…

…Fox’s Sunday single header, featuring Saints-Bengals in 33% of markets or Chargers-Raiders in 26%, had a 8.4 rating and 14.2 million viewers — up 17% in ratings and 20% in viewership from last year (7.2, 11.8M) and up 8% in both measures from 2016 (7.8, 13.2M) (SMW)…

…On Sunday Night Football, Cowboys-Eagles scored an 11.5 rating and 20.1 million viewers, up 13% in ratings and 15% in viewership from last year (Patriots-Broncos: 10.2, 17.5M), but down 9% and 11% respectively from 2016 (Patriots-Seahawks: 12.7, 22.5M) (SMW)…

…A dramatic New York Giants’ 27-23 come-from-behind road victory over the San Francisco 49ers earned a 6.3 rating and 10.5 million viewers on Monday Night Football, up 17% in ratings and 19% in viewership from last year (Dolphins-Panthers: 5.4, 8.8M) but down 6% and 2% respectively from 2016 (Bengals-Giants: 6.7, 10.7M).

The game rating peaked from 11-11:15 p.m. ET with an 8.3 rating when Eli Manning led the Giants offense downfield for the go-ahead touchdown and the defense held off the 49ers’ final drive.

In New York, the game delivered a 6.8 rating on ESPN and a 4.8 rating on WPIX-CW, for a combined 11.6 rating in the market. In San Francisco, the game delivered a 6.7 rating on ESPN and an 11.9 on KGO-ABC, for a combined 18.6 rating in the market.

The top 10 metered markets (not including those of the competing teams): New Orleans (14.7), Sacramento (13.8), Norfolk, Va. (11.5), Richmond-Petersburg (10.2), Seattle-Tacoma (10.0), Albuquerque-Santa Fe (9.8), Phoenix (9.7), Washington, DC (9.6), Hartford-New Haven (9.4), and Columbus, Ohio (9.1)…

Fox Sports Ahead of the College Football Pack in Week 11
According to Cynopsis Sports, the Ohio State-Michigan State coverage on Fox Sports led the day with a 3.8 rating. The contest was also Fox’s second-highest rated game of the season, up 36% over last year’s showcase between the same two teams…

…In primetime, ESPN and ABC aired the two most-watched sporting events. ESPN’s telecast of Auburn at Georgia (7 p.m. ET) averaged a Nielsen total live audience of 3,987,000 viewers and ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring Clemson at Boston College (8 p.m.) averaged a total live audience of 3,930,000 viewers. The two networks, combined, averaged 7,359,000 viewers* between 8-11 p.m., peaking at 8,712,000 viewers (9:15 – 9:30 p.m.). Among its college football competition, ESPN topped the broadcast networks by 26% and 49%, while ABC topped the same competition by 24% and 47%.

ABC’s telecast of Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (3:30 p.m.) generated an audience gain of 21% for the network from the same window last year, as the annual Bedlam game averaged a total live audience of 3,992,000 viewers. The audience grew in the second half, peaking at 6,832,000 viewers (7:15-7:30 p.m.) as Oklahoma State attempted a two-point conversion with a minute to go in the fourth quarter. The audience for the one-point Sooners’ victory was up 57% from last year’s same game which aired on a competitor’s network. In Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the game drew a 34.7 and 33.3 rating, respectively, setting new multi-year highs in the market.

ESPN began its Saturday airing South Carolina at Florida (noon), which averaged a Nielsen total live audience of 2,068,000 viewers, up from the same window last season.

ESPN2’s Friday night doubleheader featuring Louisville at Syracuse (7 p.m.) and Fresno State at Boise State (10:30 p.m.) was up 53% from last year’s week 11 Friday night doubleheader on the network.

Armed Forces Classic, State Farm Champions Classic Catch Upward Swing on ESPN
Friday’s Armed Forces Classic between Arkansas and Texas scored a 0.47 rating and 726,000 viewers on ESPN, up 4% in ratings and 2% in viewership from last year (Texas A&M-West Virginia: 0.45, 710K) but down 49% and 53% respectively from the record-high audience in 2016 (Indiana-Kansas: 0.9, 1.54M) (SMW).

As for last week’s State Farm Champions Classic, the quartet of matchups were not deflated due to the midterm elections. According to SMW, Michigan State-Kansas drew 2.00 million viewers — off a third from last year (Duke-Michigan State: 2.97M) and 4% from 2016 (Kentucky-Michigan State: 2.08M).

The contest between the highly-touted Duke Blue Devils and the Kentucky Wildcats earned 2.85 million viewers in the latter part of the doubleheader, up 7% from last year (Kentucky-Kansas: 2.66M) and up 21% from 2016 (Kansas-Duke: 2.36M).