4 Thoughts on Live Sports Ratings Last Week

Videos by OutKick

This past week brought the return of the NBA and NHL to go along with MLB. Here are four thoughts on the live sports ratings from the week which began Monday, July 27th and concluded Sunday, August 2nd. Numbers are via Showbuzz Daily.

1) Golf and NASCAR do better versus NBA, MLB, and NHL than you might think.

    • The NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 averaged 2.2 million viewers on Sunday afternoon on NBCSN.
    • The PGA Tour WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational averaged 3.2 million viewers on Sunday and 2.2 million viewers on Saturday, both on CBS.
    • PGA on Sunday had more viewers than every MLB game and every NBA game except Lakers-Clippers (which averaged 3.4 million viewers on TNT on Thursday).
    • PGA on Saturday and NASCAR on Sunday had more viewers than every MLB game of the week and all but two NBA games (Lakers-Clippers, and Bucks-Rockets which aired Sunday night in primetime on ABC and averaged 2.4 million viewers).
    • While you could say CBS is in more homes than ESPN and TNT, where most NBA games air, the difference in viewership of PGA on Sunday versus all non Lakers/Clippers games superseded the proportional difference in home availability.
    • In fairness, in the 18-49 demographic, NBA performed much better than PGA and NASCAR, with 10 games having more viewers in that demo than Sunday’s PGA and NASCAR events.
    • MLB and NBA have the advantage over PGA and NASCAR in tonnage — there are way more events that pile up viewers in the aforementioned team sports.
    • The most-watched hockey game of the weekend was Canadiens-Penguins on Saturday night on NBC with 1.5 million viewers.

2) MLB and NBA split their head-to-head weekend matchups.

    • On Saturday night, Pelicans-Clippers averaged 1.3 million viewers and Lakers-Raptors averaged 1.8 million viewers on ESPN. Fox aired a combination of Yankees-Red Sox and Astros-Angels which averaged 2.1 million viewers (the broadcast/cable discrepancy makes the proportions close with the Lakers-Raptors game, and NBA won the 18-49 demo).
    • On Sunday night, Yankees-Red Sox did 1.9 million viewers on ESPN and Bucks-Raptors did 2.4 million viewers on ABC (ABC is in more homes than ESPN, which makes this relatively close proportionally).

3) Baseball regional ratings have been strong so far. 

Per the Wall Street Journal: “Regional sports networks saw a 31% increase in viewership over the MLB opening weekend compared with the previous season, according to Nielsen. Through July 29, ratings across 25 markets were up 18%.”

4) Football is already missed. 

Last year on August 1st, the NFL Hall of Fame game (Broncos-Falcons) averaged 5.3 million viewers on NBC. This is for a much-maligned preseason game, which would’ve more than doubled every sporting event that aired this past week except for Lakers-Clippers. Regular season and playoff games often do 3, 4, 5 times multiples of this Hall of Fame Game number. Pray that this football season gets salvaged in some form because if it doesn’t the entire sports and sports media ecosystem will be on very shaky ground.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.

Leave a Reply