August 12, 2013

SKEDBALL: Weekend Sports TV Ratings

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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The ratings below are household ratings from the 56 television markets with local Nielsen meters for Saturday August 10 and Sunday August 11, 2013. (The 56 markets out of 210 total cover about 70% of the US television population.)


Golf’s fourth and final major championship of the year, the PGA Championship, averaged a 3.7 rating for the weekend (well below the Masters and the US Open, as usual) but 17% ahead of last year’s pace for this major.  Also, the late morning/ early afternoon coverage on TNT from 11:00 am-2:00 pm showed some increases (up 82% on Saturday from 0.89 last year to 1.62 rating this year, and up 15% on Sunday from 1.3 to 1.5 rating this year).  As Tiger Woods fell out of contention later in the tournament, the year to year increases came back down to Earth.

Golf — PGA Championship

CBS Sat 2:00-7:15 pm Third Round 3.0 rating (+30% from 2.3 last year)

CBS Sun 2:00-7:15 pm Final Round 4.4 rating (+13% from 3.9 last year)

COMBINED WEEKEND COVERAGE 3.7 rating (+17% from 3.15 last year)


NASCAR was off a tenth of a rating point from last year but still a decent 2.6 rating.

NASCAR — Watkins Glen

ESPN Sun 1:00-4:30 pm 2.6 rating (-4% from 2.7 rating last year)


MLB coverage Saturday on FOX crashed to a 1.4 rating on Saturday, down 58% from the same week last year and one of the weakest ratings of the season. FOX put most of their eggs in the Dodgers’ basket (the Tampa Bay Rays-LA D0dgers game was fed to 48 of 56 metered markets), and the game averaged a 1.2 in those 48 markets.  Once again, it is incredibly hard to generate any national interest in a very Balkanized sport.

MLB — Regular Season Week #19

FOX Sat 4:00 pm TB-LAD (48 markets) BAL-SF (6 markets) MIN-CHW (2 markets) 1.4 rating (-58% from 3.3 rating last year, a 2-game regional at 4:00 pm)

  • In the top 10 markets, two markets had teams involved in FOX’s three selected games and delivered acceptable but not spectacular ratings: Los Angeles (4.0) and San Fran-Oakland-San Jose (3.4)
  • Another top 10 market had a team involved but had a mediocre rating: Chicago (1.8)
  • The other seven very large markets did not have teams involved and were under a 1 rating: New York (0.7), Philadelphia (0.7), Dallas (0.8), Boston (0.5), Washington DC (0.8), Atlanta (0.7) and Houston (0.2)
  • Outside the top 10 markets, three markets had a team on the air: Baltimore (6.2), Tampa Bay (4.8) and Minneapolis (3.1)


NFL Network showed some remarkable growth for coverage of preseason games over the weekend.  Friday at 7:30 pm, New England-Philadelphia was up 76% over NY Jets-Cincinnati last year.  Saturday at 7:00 pm was up 117% for NY Giants-Pittsburgh from Houston-Carolina last year.  Finally, Sunday at 1:30 pm was up 63% for Buffalo-Indianapolis over St Louis-Indianapolis last year.  Better teams certainly helped this year, but NFL Network still has a long way to go.  The three games this year were only somewhat above a 1 rating:  Friday (1.50 rating), Saturday (1.39) and Sunday (1.09).  Even if people have NFL Network on their channel lineup, they are still in the process of finding it.


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.