SBD/January 11, 2012/Research and Ratings

ESPN Viewership Down In '11 Among Both Primetime And Total-Day Audience

ESPN led all cable sports nets and channels with heavy sports content in primetime viewership last year, averaging 2.3 million viewers. The net ranked third overall among all cable channels, coming in behind USA Network and Disney Channel. The 2.3 million average primetime viewers was down 2% from last year, as the net's marquee property, "MNF," saw a 10% drop in audience. ESPN2 also saw primetime audience drop last year (-15%), while ESPNews saw its average viewership climb 9%. Among sports nets, Golf Channel had the biggest primetime gains (+28%). Fox Soccer, MLB Network and NFL Network also posted double-digit percentage gains. TBS also saw a double-digit percentage drop last year in primetime (-10%), while still ranking seventh overall. Fuel TV ranked last among all cable nets in primetime audience.

ON A 24-HOUR BASIS: In terms of total-day audience, ESPN's 1.037 million average viewers were down 4% from '10. The net ranked 10th overall among all cable channels in 24-hour audience. Similar to primetime audience, Golf Channel also led all sports cable nets in total-day audience growth (+28%), while MLB Network showed 20% growth. FX, which began airing college football this past season, saw total-day viewership grow 17% in '11.

PRIMETIME CABLE NET VIEWERSHIP
NET
'11 (000)
'10 (000)
% +/-
ESPN
2,342
2,401
-2%
TNT
2,232
2,259
-1%
TBS
1,614
1,802
-10%
FX
1,532
1,273
20%
Spike TV
904
923
-2%
ESPN2
541
635
-15%
NBC Sports Network (Versus)
293
279
5%
NFL Network
284
258
10%
Speed
237
228
4%
Galavision
195
163
20%
Golf Channel
152
119
28%
MLB Network
109
95
15%
ESPNews
95
87
9%
NBA TV*
79
n/a
n/a
Fox Soccer
46
39
18%
Fuel TV
15
n/a
n/a
TOTAL-DAY CABLE NET VIEWERSHIP
NET
'11 (000)
'10 (000)
% +/-
TNT
1,223
1,339
-9%
ESPN
1,037
1,083
-4%
TBS
832
925
-10%
FX
819
699
17%
Spike TV
546
590
-7%
ESPN2
310
338
-8%
Speed
138
138
0%
NFL Network
128
114
12%
Galavision
126
109
16%
NBC Sports Network (Versus)
95
98
-3%
Golf Channel
91
71
28%
ESPNews
61
64
-5%
MLB Network
49
41
20%
NBA TV*
38
n/a
n/a
Fox Soccer
29
28
4%
Fuel TV
10
n/a
n/a
       
NOTES: * = No comparison for NBA TV as the net did not become rated until Oct. '10. 1.) Figures not available for nets that do not subscribe to regular Nielsen ratings, including ESPNU, NHL Network, Universal Sports, Tennis Channel, ESPN Classic, Fox College Sports, Big Ten Network, Longhorn Network and CBS Sports Network. 2.) The '11 period is measured as Dec. 27, 2010 through Dec. 25, 2011. The similar period for '10 is measured as Dec. 28, 2009 through Dec. 26, 2010.
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