Ratings Roundup: 2022 Beijing Paralympics Turn Into Most-Watched Winter Paralympics in U.S. History

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, the 2022 Beijing Paralympics become the most-watched Winter Paralympics in U.S. history, FOX and FS1 set record highs for Big East and Pac-12 tournaments, and more.

Beijing 2022 Is Most-Viewed Winter Paralympics in U.S. History

The 2022 Beijing Paralympics is the most-viewed Winter Paralympics in U.S. history, reaching nearly 12 million viewers across multiple NBCUniversal platforms – NBC, USA Network, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, Peacock, NBCParalympics.com and the NBC Sports app. The 11.9 million total viewers is up 107% compared to the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics.

NBCU presented an unprecedented 200+ hours of coverage of the 2022 Winter Paralympics, including a record 120 hours of television programming, as well as comprehensive streaming on Peacock for the first time. For the third consecutive Games, NBCU’s Paralympics coverage was presented by Toyota.

This year’s Paralympic Winter Games, which took place from March 4-13 in Beijing, China, averaged 165,000 TV-only viewers across NBC and USA Network, up 62% vs. PyeongChang 2018 (102,000 viewers on NBC/NBCSN). Most live coverage took place overnight due to the 13-hour time difference between Beijing and the U.S. east coast.

In a first for a Winter Paralympics, the NBC broadcast network hosted coverage in primetime, resulting in the three most-watched Winter Paralympic programs in U.S. history. On Friday, March 11, primetime coverage on NBC averaged 1.34 million TV-only viewers, a Winter Paralympics record in the U.S.

Following are the Top 10 markets for NBC’s three primetime Paralympic Winter Games telecasts:

  • New Orleans – 2.63
  • Ft. Myers – 2.42
  • Memphis – 1.73
  • Greenville – 1.48
  • St. Louis – 1.37
  • Jacksonville – 1.36
  • Buffalo – 1.36
  • Knoxville – 1.36
  • Indianapolis – 1.33
  • Oklahoma City 1.32

Overall, six NBC telecasts (three primetime; three afternoon) averaged 919,000 TV-only viewers, up 22% compared to two NBC afternoon telecasts for PyeongChang 2018.

Beijing 2022 is also the most-streamed Paralympics in U.S. history, including Summer Games, totaling 19.3 million minutes on Peacock, NBCParalympics.com and the NBC Sports app.

FOX and FS1 Set Record Highs for Big East and Pac-12 Hoops Tournaments

Last Saturday’s Big East Championship between Villanova and Creighton scored 1,221,000 viewers on FOX, the most-watched BIG East Championship game since 2018.

The 2022 Big East Tournament on FOX and FS1 averaged 386,000 viewers, the most-watched Big East Tournament in Fox Sports history.

Arizona’s victory over UCLA in last Saturday’s Pac-12 Championship on FOX also averaged 1,303,000 viewers, the network’s most-watched Pac-12 game ever.

Audience for NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC Finishes Season Up 32% From 2020-21 and Up 26% From 2019-20

The audience for ESPN’s NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC series finished with significant increases from the previous two seasons, according to Nielsen. The 2021-22 game slate averaged nearly three million viewers (2,978,000), up 32% vs. 2020-2021 and up 26% vs. 2019-2020.

Key demos up double-digits

The Black and Hispanic audiences for the NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC series were also up double-digits from the previous two seasons. The series was up 41% from last year and up 33% from the 2019-20 season among Black viewers. Additionally, it was up 23% from last year and 37% from 2019-20 season among Hispanic viewers.

The new-look NBA Countdown pre-game show, which aired on ABC a half hour prior to NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC game, averaged 1,582,000 viewers, up 9% vs. 2020-2021 and up 10% from the 2019-2020 season.

NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix

Sunday’s event on FOX earned a 2.33 rating and an average of 3.99 million viewers tuned in per minute, ranking the NASCAR Cup Series as the #1 sports event of the week for the fourth consecutive week

This was the most-watched Phoenix race since March 2020, the final race prior to COVID-19 shutdowns (4.58 million viewers) The rating was down -9% versus 2021 Las Vegas on FOX (2.57, Race 4), but up +1% over 2021 Phoenix on FOX (2.30, Race 5) Viewership was down -9% versus 2021 Las Vegas on FOX (4.4 million, Race 4), but up +2% over 2021 Phoenix on FOX (3.99 million, Race 5) The telecast earned a 7.27 household share, which ranked #1 among sports programming for the week At peak, 4.9 million viewers were tuned in.

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