August 19, 2013

SKEDBALL: Weekend Sports TV Ratings

The ratings below are household ratings from the 56 television markets with local Nielsen meters for Saturday August 17 and Sunday August 18, 2013. (The 56 markets out of 210 total cover about 70% of the US television population.)


NASCAR was off a bit from last year but still a very viable 3.0 rating.

NASCAR — Michigan 400

ESPN Sun 1:00-4:15 pm 3.0 rating (-6% from 3.2 rating last year)


MLB coverage Saturday on FOX rebounded to a 2.1 rating, up from a 1.4 rating last week.  The Yankees-Red Sox continue to be about the only sure thing for baseball.  Saturday’s coverage was up a tenth of a rating point from last year (which also featured the Yankees and the Red Sox).

FOX Sat 4:00 pm NYY-BOS (40 markets) STL-CHC (9 markets) ARI-PIT (7 markets) 2.1 rating (+5% from 2.0 rating last year, a 2-game regional at 4:00 pm also featuring BOS-NYY)

  • In the top 10 markets, one market with a team involved in FOX’s coverage delivered an outstanding rating: Boston (8.0)
  • Two other top 10 markets had a team involved but had just okay ratings: New York (3.1) and Chicago (2.2)
  • The other seven very large markets did not have teams involved and were not as low as usual (thanks to the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry): Los Angeles (1.1), Philadelphia (1.4), Dallas (0.9), San Fran-Oakland-San Jose (1.4), Washington DC (1.1), Atlanta (0.6) and Houston (0.7)
  • Outside the top 10 markets, three markets had a team on the air: St Louis (9.3) and Pittsburgh (7.2) showed up for their teams, while Phoenix (2.9) was less enthusiastic
  • In comparison, the preseason NFL game on Friday on FOX (New England-Tampa Bay) scored a dizzying 14.6 rating in Boston and 10.0 rating in Tampa.  (The game averaged a 3.8 rating across the 56 metered markets.)


The Little League World Series early rounds on ABC scored a 1.09 rating Saturday from 3:00-5:30 (up 38% from 0.79 last year), while Sunday’s 2:00-4:45 pm coverage also scored a 1.0 rating (down 29% from 1.4 last year).


PGA on CBS drifted down to a 1.15 rating for weekend coverage of the Wyndham Championship from Greensboro, NC (much of it delayed by thunderstorms).  Saturday was below last year, while Sunday outpaced last year’s final round.  On balance the weekend was even with last year overall.  CBS did not help itself Saturday.  Golf’s lead-in Saturday was Arena Bowl XXVI (Philadelphia-Arizona).  The culmination of the Arena Football League’s year averaged a 0.56 rating from 1:00-3:45 pm.

Golf — Wyndham Championship

CBS Sat 3:45-6:30 pm Third Round  0.9 rating (-27% from 1.23 last year)

CBS Sun 3:00-6:15 pm Final Round 1.4 rating (+27% from 1.1 last year)

COMBINED WEEKEND COVERAGE 1.15 rating (even with 1.17 last year)


And then there’s soccer.  NBC Sports Network (now NBCSN) debuted the Premier League from the UK with a 0.27 rating for a 7:45 am game and a 0.37 rating for a 10:00 am game.  Coverage shifted to the NBC network for a game at 12:30-2:30 pm, zooming all the way to a 0.77 rating.  Thankfully soccer did not beat Major League Baseball or even the pure fun of amateur baseball from the Little Leaguers.  There is a God.

Finally, Fox Sports 1 debuted Saturday morning.  No ratings yet for its rather quiet and understated (especially for Fox Sports) first few days.  Best of luck to the new network in its effort to provide an alternative to the rather complacent and smug ESPN.

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.