July 22, 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 July 20 and Sunday July 21, 2013. (The 56 markets out of 210 total cover about 70% of the US television population.)


ESPN had good results from The British Open (or The Open, if you prefer), up 6% from the weekend last year and up 9% on Sunday when Tiger Woods was briefly in it but the real story was Phil Mickelson breaking through to win his first British Open with a spectacular finish.  He absolutely rampaged through the final six holes in particular on the typically historic but quite ugly and non-telegenic course at Muirfield in Scotland.

Golf — The British Open

ESPN Sat 9:00 am-2:45 pm Third Round 3.1 rating (+3% from 3.0 rating last year)

ESPN Sun 8:00 am-1:30 pm Final Round 3.6 rating (+9% from 3.3 rating last year)

COMBINED WEEKEND COVERAGE 3.35 rating (+6% from 3.15 rating last year)


MLB had a fairly good Saturday on FOX, returning from the All-Star break with the go-to matchup for most of the country: Yankees versus Red Sox.

MLB — Regular Season Week #16

FOX Sat 4:15 pm NY-BOS ATL-CHW PIT-CIN 2.5 rating (+39% from 1.8 rating last year, also a 3-game regional at 4:00 pm)

  • In the top 10 markets, three markets had teams involved in FOX’s five selected games and delivered great ratings: Boston (9.0 rating), Atlanta (4.5), New York (4.1)
  • One of the top 10 markets had a team involved but had fairly mediocre ratings: Chicago (1.3) for the White Sox
  • The other six large markets did not have teams involved but generally did better than normal thanks to the magic of Yankees-Red Sox rivalry: Los Angeles (1.2), Philadelphia (1.1), Dallas (1.1), San Francisco (1.6), Washington DC (1.3), Houston (0.5)
  • In the markets outside of the top 10, two markets had teams featured and delivered superior ratings: Cincinnati (market # 35) 11.6 rating and Pittsburgh (market #23) 8.3 rating


That was about it for major sports this weekend.  NASCAR took the week off.  But there was cycling! The Tour de France concluded Sunday on NBC Sports Network, which will surely boast about 100% growth from last year.  Keep in mind it delivered a 0.48 household rating from 12:00-4:45 pm (from a 0.24 last year).  Still beyond being called a niche.






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.