May 20, 2013

SKEDBALL: Weekend Sports Ratings — Preakness Does OK

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown was up versus last year (the pre-race coverage was up 24-49% versus last year, while the race coverage was up only 9% versus last year).  Certainly, millions of TV sets were immediately shut off when Orb (winner of the Kentucky Derby failed miserably in the Preakness).  The Belmont in two weeks is now utterly meaningless, and NBC might as well air Pro Bull Riding instead.

The ratings below are household ratings from the 56 television markets with local Nielsen meters for Saturday May 18 and Sunday May 19, 2013.  (The 56 markets out of 210 total cover about 70% of the US television population.)



NBC Sat 3:30-4:30 pm Pre-Race 1.4 rating (+49% from 0.9 rating last year)

NBC Sat 4:30-5:00 pm Pre-Race 2.4 rating (+41% from 1.7 rating last year)

NBC Sat 5:00-5:45 pm Pre-Race 3.6 rating (+24% from 2.9 rating last year)

NBC Sat 5:45-6:45 pm Race Coverage 6.0 rating (+9% from 5.5 rating last year)



NBC Sat 4:00-4:30 pm Pre-Race 3.1 rating (+11% from 2.8 rating last year)

NBC Sat 4:30-5:00 pm Pre-Race 4.1 rating (+11% from 3.7 rating last year)

NBC Sat 5:00-6:00 pm Pre-Race 6.2 rating (+15% from 5.4 rating last year)

NBC Sat 6:00-7:00 pm Race Coverage 10.4 rating (+16% from 9.0 rating last year)


The NBA playoffs grind on, and have about as much buzz as tomorrow’s Los Angeles Mayor’s election.  Unexciting teams/candidates without any marquee value.


ESPN Sat 8:00 pm New York-Indianapolis 4.1 rating (no comparison for last year)

ABC Sun 3:30 pm Memphis-San Antonio 3.9 rating (-29% from Philadelphia-Boston 5.5 rating last year at 8:00 pm)

PLAYOFF WEEKEND #5 (2 games) 4.0 average rating



The PGA held a tournament this weekend.  Tiger Woods failed to show up, and the audience largely stayed away.

PGA — Byron Nelson

CBS Sat 3:00 pm Third Round 1.3 rating (+8% from 1.2 rating last year)

CBS Sun 3:00 pm Final Round 2.2 rating (+22% from 1.8 rating last year)

COMBINED WEEKEND COVERAGE 1.75 rating (+17% from 1.5 rating last year)


MLB continues to struggle mightily.

MLB — Regular Season Week #7

FOX Sat 4:00 pm TB-BAL or CHW-LAA or CIN-PHI 1.4 rating (-42% from 2.4 rating last year at 7:15 pm with 5 game regional)


NHL playoffs this past weekend are running slightly ahead of last year (two network games and two cable games up 9% collectively over the same format last year).  NBC Sports Network should be proud it averaged well above a 1 rating, not far away from what hockey does on NBC.  It certainly helped to have two Northern cities with a hockey tradition (Pittsburgh and Ottawa) this year, as opposed to the Southern/Sun Belt Expansion Team Classic of Nashville versus Phoenix.

NHL — Playoff Weekend #4 Semifinals

NBC Sat 1:00 pm Detroit-Chicago 1.4 rating (-7% from Washington-NY Rangers 1.5 rating last year on Apr 28 at 3:00 pm)

NBC Sports Network Sat 9:00 pm Los Angeles-San Jose 0.58 rating (+2% from Los Angeles-St Louis 0.57 rating last year on Apr 28 at 7:30 pm)

NBC Sun 3:00 pm NY Rangers-Boston 1.9 rating (unchanged from New Jersey-Philadelphia 1.9 rating last year on Apr 29 at 3:00 pm)

NBC Sports Network Sun 7:30 pm Pittsburgh-Ottawa 1.15 rating (+74% from Nashville-Phoenix 0.66 rating last year on Apr 29 at 8:00 pm)

COMBINED PLAYOFF COVERAGE (4 games) 1.26 rating (+9% from 1.16 rating for two games on the comparable weekend last year)



About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.