NFL Still Thursday Cable TV Ratings Leader

Despite complaints about the quality of play and talk of viewers abandoning the league, the NFL is still the cable TV ratings leader on Thursday nights, with the Thursday Night Football broadcast between the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas?) Raiders last Thursday winning the night, including a 1.4 rating in adults 18-49, the most coveted demographic for advertisers, for the NFL Network.

The NFL Network’s numbers are part of a combined victory for the NFL, with the game also being broadcast on NBC. Here’s more on that from Deadline:

The Kansas City Chiefs 21-13 win over the Oakland Raiders may be the best either team has done ratingswise in primetime this season but with a 11.6/20 in metered market results, it was a hard hit from last week. In fact, last night’s game on NBC and the NFL Network was down 16% from the Dallas Cowboys at the Minnesota Vikings match-up of December 1. On NBC stations alone, the Chiefs vs. Raiders game drew a 9.1 in MM numbers, down 17% from last week with the two big national following teams.

Now NBC will easily win the night with its TNF package, which is down a point from last week with its 3.7/14 rating among adults 18-49 and 12.15 million in unadjusted fast affiliate numbers, but the results once again reflect the soft underbelly the NFL has on TV. In a season that has seen week after week of lows or declines on various networks, the problem of too many big spread wins, too many games or too many match-ups with regional teams still seems to be ignored by the football powers-that-be – AKA, you can’t asks the Cowboys or the Patriots to save your skin every week.

Stay tuned to the TV, Internet and Phone Blog for more sports TV ratings and more.

NBCSN Has Record-Setting Third Quarter in Cable TV Ratings

NBCSN (NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus), had a very good third quarter this year, boosted by the Rio Olympics and Paralympics to high viewership marks from July through September. The cable sports network is available on channel 220 on DIRECTV.

More on the ratings from Awful Announcing:

NBCSN set single-quarter records in total day viewership and viewership in the 18-49 and 25-54 demographics. The network averaged 286,000 total-day viewers, 49 percent more than during last year’s third-quarter and 33 percent more than the previous record, held by the first quarter of 2014, in which NBCSN helped air the Sochi Olympics.

Meanwhile, NBCSN raised its audience in the 18-49 demo to 100,000 viewers per day (up 82 percent from last year, which NBC says is the largest third-quarter year-over-year increase of any cable network ever) and its viewership in the 25-54 demo to 113,000 (up 61 percent from last year).

Primetime viewership on NBCSN of the Paralympic Games rose from an average of 52,000 total-day viewers in 2012 to 143,000 this summer.

NBCSN was the most-viewed cable sports network during the month of August, marking the first time it has ranked first in a given month.

Though it took the Olympics to do it, it is a big milestone for NBCSN to beat out ESPN and its family of networks to become the most watched cable TV sports channel in a given month. It shows that ESPN’s dominance may not continue unabated as live sports rights diversify.

Top Four Cable TV Overnight Ratings were ESPN College Football Broadcasts

ESPN and ABC, both owned by Disney, owned the Saturday ratings on the first weekend of college football, with the complementary networks garnering the top four overnight ratings, with the USC-Alabama primetime game and the LSU-Wisconsin late afternoon game grabbing 4.9 ratings. The Houston-Oklahoma game came in just below with a 4.0 rating and Clemson-Auburn, on ESPN in primetime, earning a 2.8 rating.

More from ESPN:

The first Saturday of the college football season, combined with US Open coverage, resulted in one of the largest days ever for ESPN streaming audiences with 249.1 million minutes viewed and 2.7 million unique users. This is good for third and fifth, respectively, for the product in any single day.

Overall, four games had streaming audiences surpass 500,000 unique viewers and 100,000 average minute audience, with the Georgia-North Carolina game at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN (529,000 unique viewers and 102,000 average minute audience)  joining the previously mentioned LSU-Wisconsin, Oklahoma-Houston and USC-Alabama games.

With both a broadcast/cable TV ratings and streaming audience victory, ESPN proves again that sports are what people will sit down and watch live.

ESPN airs on channel 206 on DIRECTV.

Trump’s Speech Nabbed 32 Million Viewers on Broadcast and Cable TV

The Republican National Convention closed up shop last Thursday, concluding with the lengthy nomination acceptance speech by presidential hopeful Donald Trump. All three broadcast networks—ABC, CBS and NBC—as well as Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC and other affiliated cable TV channels aired the speech.

More from the Hollywood Reporter:

On the broadcast networks alone Thursday night, Trump’s time on the stage brought in 12.3 million viewers to the 10 o’clock hour on through the speech’s conclusion at 11:37 p.m. ET. NBC News led its fourth and final night of primetime coverage with an average 4.6 million viewers tuning in, per Nielsen Media’s Fast Affiliate ratings. ABC News, which preciously topped CBS on Monday, averaged 3.9 million viewers. CBS News took 3.8 million viewers. Spanish-language net Univision contributed another 1.3 million viewers.

Cable news brought the biggest lifts — particularly for Fox News Channel and CNN. FNC, a favorite for right-leaning audiences, topped them all with 9.4 million viewers. And CNN, hitting an all-time high for its RNC coverage, also topped all of the broadcast networks with 5.5 million viewers. MSNBC, trailing, averaged 2.95 million viewers. (Nielsen’s delivery of the 32-million stat also includes Fox Business Network, CNBC and NBC Universo.)

The ratings are well above those who watched Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech in 2012, but far below the amount of people who watched John McCain in 2008. If those ratings show anything about the popularity of the candidate himself, Trump may be in trouble.

The Democratic National Convention is now underway, so we’ll see how Hillary performs in the ratings, as well as in measured social media interest.

Missouri Baseball Teams Top RSN Cable TV Ratings

Despite both having relatively mediocre seasons up to the All-Star Break, the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals are the top Major League Baseball draws when it comes to regional sports network cable TV ratings. The Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers round out the top five, with the Oakland A’s at the bottom of the charts.

More from Sports Business Journal:

The Royals’ league-high 12.23 average rating is particularly impressive, up 2 percent from midseason last year even though the defending World Series champions were only two games over .500 on the field at the break. Last year, the Royals ended their championship season with a 12.33 average regular-season rating on FS Kansas City, marking the league’s highest local average rating since 2002.

The Cardinals’ average rating is down 13 percent compared with midseason last year, but that 8.05 rating is still the league’s second-highest mark.

SportsBusiness Journal reviewed data from all 30 MLB teams. At the season’s midpoint, exactly half the league (15 teams) had seen a local ratings increase. Not surprisingly, the teams with the best win-loss records were the ones posting the biggest increases on TV.

It should also be noted that while the average ratings are high in St. Louis and Kansas City, they are not the leaders in total viewers, as they are mid-market teams. For example, more total viewers tune into Yankees games, but it is a smaller percentage of available viewers.

Cable TV Has Social Media Appeal

The old standard of Nielsen set top boxes as a proper gauge of the audiences watching TV is going by the wayside. Now, social media can be a much better gauge, with the amount of people posting on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms giving a real impression of how large—and interested—a program’s audience might be. While cable TV ratings have been going down due to cord cutting and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, six of the top ten most tweeted about shows were on cable TV.

More from Multichannel News:

AMC’s veteran zombie thriller The Walking Dead (pictured) was on average the most tweeted series on television for the third consecutive year, averaging 435,000 tweets per episode and besting the 387,000 tweets averaged for Fox’s highly-rated series Empire, according to Nielsen.

HBO’s Game of Thrones, USA Network’s WWE Monday Night Raw, FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel, MTV’s Teen Wolf and VH1’s Love & Hip Hop all finished among the top 10 most tweeted TV shows during the season, which covers the period of Aug. 31, 2015, to May 29.

Live sports are also drawing a lot of attention on Twitter, and measuring by tweets can be a great gauge of how many eyeballs are on the games with how many people watch in sports bars or at parties. For example, Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game in April generated more than four million tweets.

Cable TV isn’t dead yet. And Twitter shows that to be true.

Stanley Cup Ratings Down for NBC Sports Group

The Stanley Cup Final between the NHL’s Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks and eventual Cup winners the Pittsburgh Penguins experienced a steep ratings drop from last year’s Chicago-Tampa Bay series, with the six-game series averaging a 2.3 rating and 3.9 million viewers, down 23% in ratings and 21% in viewership from last year’s championship series.

Last year’s Final featured a major market team, the Chicago Blackhawks, winning their third title in six years, and that major market presence could be the reason for the steep decline this year, without a major market team in the mix. Though it did not fare as well as last year, it was the highest rated Final without an Original Six (Bruins, Blackhawks, Canadiens, Red Wings, Rangers, Maple Leafs) in 15 years. From Awful Announcing, here are the top local markets for Stanley Cup Final viewership:

  1. Pittsburgh — 31,7
  2. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose — 7.0
  3. Buffalo–5.8
  4. Minneapolis-St. Paul — 4.2
  5. Denver — 4.1
  6. West Palm Beach — 3.9
  7. Boston — 3.7
  8. Sacramento, St. Louis, Raleigh-Durham — 3.6 (tie)

Ratings across the entire playoffs—on NBC on broadcast TV and CNBC, NBCSN and USA on cable TV—were down this year as well.