August 26, 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 24 and Sunday August 25, 2013. (The 56 markets out of 210 total cover about 70% of the US television population.)


The NFL preseason drew to a close, with most games down from last year’s similar time period performances.  However, the ratings for the meaningless games with mostly second-string players still generally out-rated just about every other sport this weekend.

NFL — Preseason Week 4

NBC Sunday 8:15-11:00 pm Minnesota-San Francisco 5.8 rating (-23% from 7.5 rating for Carolina-NY Jets last year)

CBS Friday 8:00-11:15 pm Seattle-Green Bay 4.9 rating (+23% from 4.0 rating for Chicago-NY Giants last year)

FOX Sunday 4:15-7:15 pm New Orleans-Houston 4.2 rating (-22% from 5.4 rating for San Francisco-Denver last year)

CBS Saturday 8:00-11:15 pm St Louis-Denver 3.1 rating (-16% from 3.7 rating for Houston-New Orleans last year)

NFL Network Saturday 4:30-7:30 pm Buffalo-Washington 0.87 rating (-15% from 1.02 rating Indianapolis-Washington last year)

NFL Network Friday 11:15 pm-1:00 am Chicago-Oakland 0.52 rating (no comparable game last year)


NASCAR was down a relatively insignificant tenth of a rating point from last year to a still very good 3.7 household rating..

NASCAR — Bristol 500

ABC Sat 7:30-11:15 pm 3.7 rating (-3% from 3.8 rating last year)


PGA on CBS bounced back from last weekend’s 1.15 rating for rain-delayed coverage of the Wyndham Championship.  Sunday’s final round of The Barclays was up a very good 23% from last year to a 3.7 final round rating, as Tiger Woods (battling back spasms) made a serious but ultimately unsuccessful charge to force a playoff.

Golf — The Barclays

CBS Sat 3:00-6:15 pm Third Round  2.2 rating (+5% from 2.1 last year)

CBS Sun 3:00-6:15 pm Final Round 3.7 rating (+37% from 2.7 last year)

COMBINED WEEKEND COVERAGE 2.95 rating (+23% with 2.4 last year)


MLB coverage Saturday on FOX 2.0 rating, down a touch from a 2.1 rating last week.

FOX Sat 4:00 pm BOS-LAD (46 markets) DET-NYM (5 markets) OAK-BAL (5 markets) 2.0 rating (+11% from 1.8 rating last year, also a 3-game regional at 4:00 pm)

  • In the top 10 markets, two markets with a team involved in FOX’s coverage delivered solid ratings: Boston (7.2) and Los Angeles (4.2)
  • Two other top 10 markets had a team involved but had just okay ratings: New York (1.6 for the Mets) and San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (1.7 for the A’s)
  • The other six very large markets did not have teams involved and drifted below a 1 rating in most cases: Chicago (0.7), Philadelphia (0.9), Dallas (0.9), Dallas (1.1), Washington DC (0.7), Atlanta (0.6) and Houston (0.8)
  • Outside the top 10 markets, two markets had a team on the air: Detroit (an excellent 12.5 rating) and Baltimore (5.2)
  • In comparison, the preseason NFL game on Saturday night on CBS (St Louis-Denver) scored an astounding 20.2 rating in Denver and a solid 8.8 rating in St Louis. (The game averaged a 3.1 rating across the 56 metered markets.)


The Little League World Series concluded on ABC.  On Saturday, the international final (Japan-Mexico) scored a 1.6 rating at 12:30 pm (up 14% from a 1.4 rating last year), while the U.S. final (Chula Vista CA-Westport CT) averaged a 2.2 rating at 3:45 pm (down 4% from a 2.3 rating last year).  The championship game on Sunday at 3:00 pm (Japan-Chula Vista CA) scored a 2.6 rating (up 18% from a 2.2 rating last year).


Premier League soccer from the UK continued on NBC and NBCSN with ratings fairly close to the debut matches last weekend.  The NBC match Saturday at 12:30 pm averaged a 0.67 rating.  Matches on NBCSN ranged from 0.39 Saturday at 10:00 am and 0.38 rating Sunday at 11:00 am to 0.30 Saturday at 7:45 am.


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.