Ratings Roundup: Super Bowl LV Notches 96.4 Million Total Viewers; Becomes Third Most-Watched Super Bowl in Canada With 8.8 Million Viewers
Ratings roundup is a rundown of recent rating news and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, Super Bowl LV hits a total audience o f 96.4 million viewers and 8.8 million in Canada, UConn’s overtime thriller on Fox Sports 1 does damage, and more.
Numbers From Super Bowl LV
CBS Sports’ coverage of Super Bowl LV, which featured the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ lopsided victory (31-9) over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Feb. 7 (6:38-10:17 PM, ET), posted a Total Audience Delivery of 96.4 million viewers across all platforms, including the CBS Television Network, CBS Sports and NFL digital properties, Buccaneers and Chiefs mobile properties, Verizon Media mobile properties and ESPN Deportes television and digital properties.
Despite a 22-point margin of victory – the second-largest for a Super Bowl in the past 18 years – viewers consumed Super Bowl LV across multiple platforms, including record numbers on digital.
- Super Bowl LV was the most live-streamed NFL game ever. The average minute audience of 5.7 million viewers was the highest average minute audience for any NFL game and was up +65% vs. last year’s Super Bowl. Super Bowl LV also became the first NFL game in history to deliver more than one billion total streaming minutes.
- Super Bowl Sunday delivered a record-breaking day on CBS All Access in terms of new subscriber sign-ups, unique devices, streams and time spent.
- Kansas City led all metered markets with a 59.9 HH rating, the highest rating ever for a Super Bowl in that market, up +8% vs. the Chiefs’ victory last year. Boston tuned in to watch former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, ranking second with a 57.6 HH rating, the second-best rating ever for a Super Bowl in that market, surpassing all but one of the Patriots’ Super Bowls (2015). Tampa was third with a 52.3 HH rating, the second-best rating for a Super Bowl in that market (2003).
- CBS Sports social media accounts saw tremendous engagement growth on Super Bowl Sunday, driving an increase of +31% over 2019 when CBS last had the game (Super Bowl LIII).
- Super Bowl LV generated more than 127 billion potential impressions on social media on Sunday. (CBS Sports)
On the digital side, CBS Sports HQ set new viewership records for its round-the-clock news, interviews, and picks-focused coverage on Sunday and throughout the week from Tampa. CBS Sports HQ set a single-day record with 3.5 million unique viewers on Sunday, February 7, beating its prior record of 1.2 million viewers on February 3, 2019. CBS Sports HQ also set a new single-day record for time spent with 105 million total streaming minutes on Monday, February 8. (CBS Sports)
In an additional digital note, Super Bowl Sunday was a standout day for Bleacher Report led by a record-breaking performance for its football vertical, B/R Gridiron, which maintained its position as the most engaged football account across digital media on NFL Sundays this season. The Big Game vaulted B/R Gridiron to its most-engaged day of all-time with more than 2.6M engagements (up 72% YoY) – leading all competition on Instagram. This single day high comes on the heels of a milestone January for the two-year-old brand marked by 31 Million total engagements, 60K engagements per post, and 2.1 Million cross-platform video views.
Super Bowl LV also fueled the second best single day for the Bleacher Report account across social with more than 11.7 Million engagements – the most since the 2020 NBA Finals. The B/R Betting vertical experienced a 3x increase in engagements compared to the 2020 Super Bowl with more than 655K likes, comments or shares of content and more than 1.7 Million cross-platform views – the most viewed day ever for video content on B/R Betting channels. Finally, the B/R app a 39% YoY in engagements and an increase in average time spent on Sunday that topped 9 minutes per user – a 12% increase from Super Bowl LIV.
North of the border,the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victory in Super Bowl LV is the third-most-watched Super Bowl ever in Canada, attracting an average audience of 8.8 million viewers on CTV, TSN, and RDS, according to preliminary data from Numeris. The game attracted significant engagement across the networks’ digital platforms, with Super Bowl live streaming on CTV, TSN, and RDS growing by 108% compared to last year.
17.6 million unique Canadian viewers, accounting for 47% of Canada’s population, tuned in to watch some part of the NFL’s iconic championship game. Audiences peaked at 11 million viewers at 8:38 p.m. ET during the Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show headlined by Canadian superstar The Weeknd.
Super Bowl LV ranks as Canada’s most-watched broadcast of the 2020/21 broadcast season. CTV and TSN were the first and second most-watched networks in Canada on Sunday.
In the coveted post-game timeslot, the premiere of CTV’s highly-anticipated new series HOLMES FAMILY EFFECT attracted an average audience of 918,000 viewers and was the third-biggest overnight debut of the current broadcast year among A25-54, and the biggest debut for a Canadian series since CTV’s TRANSPLANT in 2020.
“Always a can’t-miss TV event of the year, we’re very proud to see Super Bowl LV go into the record books as the third-biggest ever in Canada,” said Stewart Johnston, Senior Vice President, Sales & Sports, Bell Media. “Bell Media joined a multitude of advertising clients in leveraging the biggest audiences of the year to showcase our original programming, including the debut of Canada’s latest hit original series HOLMES FAMILY EFFECT, which debuted to nearly a million viewers last night following the big game.”
As the culmination of the compelling 2020 NFL season, Super Bowl LV drove strong engagement across TSN’s social media platforms, including more than 16 million impressions and more than 2.4 million video views. (CTV)
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 Delivers Viewership Across NBC and NBCSN
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Rolex 24 at Daytona delivered viewership records across NBC and NBCSN last weekend – headlined by the most-watched IMSA telecast since 2008 – continuing IMSA’s viewership growth since NBC Sports acquired its broadcast rights prior to the 2019 season.
NBC Sports’ Sunday coverage of the IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona on NBC (2-4 p.m. ET) averaged 1.230 million viewers, up 23% vs. last year’s comparable coverage, ranking as NBC Sports’ most-watched IMSA telecast on record and the most-watched IMSA telecast on any network since the 2008 event on FOX.
More IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona viewership highlights:
- Saturday and Sunday coverage on NBC averaged nearly 1.1 million viewers (1.096 million), up 30% vs. the two comparable telecasts on NBC last year (846,000);
- Saturday-only coverage on NBC (3:30-4:30 p.m. ET) averaged 829,000 viewers, up 58% vs. last year’s Saturday coverage on NBC (524,000);
- The Rolex 24 at Daytona averaged 391,000 viewers across NBC and NBCSN, up 19% vs. comparable NBC/NBCSN coverage last year (329,000);
- NBCSN also saw year-over-year growth, with the three Rolex 24 at Daytona airings averaging 255,000 viewers, up 18% vs. last year (216,000).
Record IMSA viewership on NBC led to additional motorsports viewership milestones on the network on Sunday afternoon:
- Sunday’s Monster Energy Supercross coverage on NBC from Indianapolis (5-6 p.m. ET) averaged 877,000 viewers to rank as NBC Sports’ most-watched Supercross telecast on record, up 71% vs. last year’s Supercross on NBC average viewership;
- NBC Sports’ 2021 NASCAR Season Preview Show Presented by Geico, which aired on NBC at 4 p.m. ET, averaged 1.052 million viewers.
Last year, NBC Sports delivered significant viewership gains and milestones for the second straight year for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2020, producing a 21% increase in viewership for 19 race telecasts across NBC, and NBCSN, despite the season being significantly affected by COVID-19.
NBC Sports’ 2020 IMSA WeatherTech Championship coverage across NBC and NBCSN averaged 242,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. NBC Sports has nearly doubled viewership for the IMSA WeatherTech Championship in two years since acquiring the rights, up 89% from the 2018 season (128,000 viewers on FOX/FS1/FS2). (NBC Sports)
X Games Aspen 2021
In the first action sports event to take place in North America since the pandemic put large events on hold, X Games Aspen 2021 content across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC experienced double-digit viewership increases on television and triple-digit growth on @XGames social and digital media platforms.
Driven by the rise of young talent, with six of the 14 gold medals being awarded to teenagers, X Games Aspen 2021 saw growth in video views on both @XGames Instagram and YouTube, as both accounts continued to see a large share – more than 65% – of followers and subscribers between the ages of 13-34.
New to this year’s social media content offerings, X Games teamed up with TikTok to stream X Games Aspen 2021 live within the app. Across the three days of the event, TikTok live streamed five of X Games Aspen’s non-linear broadcasts, which resulted in 2.1 million live views. In addition, TikTok placed the #XGamesMode banner on the discover page which resulted in growth of 407 million views, and a total currently surpassing one billion views.
X Games Aspen 2021 television, social and digital media successes include:
- X Games Aspen 2021 viewership across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC was up +15% YOY for all telecasts.
- Increases in this year’s X Games Aspen were driven by people watching more minutes, up +16% YOY.
- Social & Digital
- X Games Aspen 2021 delivered more than 105 million video views across its TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (+483% YOY)
- Total TikTok video views: 63.3M (+4,421% YOY)
- Total TikTok followers: 403,507 (+1,097% YOY)
- Total Instagram video views: 23.8M (+166% YOY)
- Total Instagram impressions: 107.1M (+194% YOY)
- Instagram Stories garnered another six million impressions, with 46K average story views (+31% YOY)
- Total Instagram followers: 2.9M (+113% YOY for event week)
- YouTube: 4.1M video views (+11% YOY)
- YouTube: 42.1M minutes watched (+7% YOY)
- Twitter: 11.4M Impressions (+75% YOY)
- Facebook: 578K Total Engagements (+319% YOY)
- XGames.com also saw triple-digit growth the week of the event, with a +692% YOY increase in average daily unique visitors, a +736% YOY increase in page views and a +835% YOY increase in total minutes spent on the website.
Globally, X Games Aspen was syndicated in 192 countries and territories and to more than 500 million homes. (ESPN)
UConn Defeats South Carolina on FS1
Freshman Paige Bueckers scored 31 points to lead No. 2 UConn to an overtime win over No. 1 South Carolina on Monday, drawing 461,000 viewers on FS1 – the most-watched women’s college basketball game in the channel’s history. (Twitter)
Liga MX on Fox Deportes
FOX Deportes is currently on pace for a record Liga MX season:
- After the first five weeks of the 2021 Torneo Clausura, FOX Deportes is currently averaging 297,000 viewers.
- The numbers are good for a 178% increase over the 2020 Torneo Apertura (July-December 2020) and up 65% over the pre-pandemic 2020 Torneo Clausura.
- The current season is also up 88% over 2019 Torneo Apertura.
The network currently has this season’s most-watched match on Spanish cable with 660,000 fans tuning in for Monterrey vs. America on January 16.
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC
The Los Angeles Lakers victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday averaged 2.74 million viewers, peaking with 3.45 million viewers. The audience was up 16 percent compared to the 2019-20 NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC series average, according to Nielsen. Additionally, ABC was the most-watched network across television in prime time on Saturday among all key demos, including P18-34, P18-49, P25-54, M18-34, M18-49 and P25-54.
Brooklyn Nets on YES Network
YES’ Nets viewership this season has grown by 69% since James Harden made his Nets debut on January 16th (122,000 average Total Viewers vs. 72,000 average Total Viewers)
YES’ Nets-Wizards game Sunday averaged 119,000 Total Viewers, the 9th YES Nets telecast this season to average more than 100,000 Total Viewers (out of 19 YES Nets telecasts). By comparison, YES had only 7 Nets telecasts over the past 6 seasons that averaged more than 100,000 Total Viewers
YES’ Nets 2020-21 year-to-date season average of 94,000 Total Viewers is YES’ best Nets start through January 31st since the 2012-2013 season, the Nets’ first season in Brooklyn (108,000 average Total Viewers) (Twitter)