SBD/February 9, 2012/Research and Ratings

ESPN Leads All Cable Nets In January Primetime Viewers, But Down 5% From '11

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ESPN averaged 3.7 million viewers in primetime in January, giving the net a win among all cable nets for the month. But the number was down 5% from the net’s average during the same period last year. ESPN’s next closest primetime competition for the month was USA Network, which averaged 2.7 million viewers. While ESPN’s win was fueled by coverage of the BCS games, the five-game BCS average viewership dropped 16% from ’11. ESPN's coverage of three BCS games and one “Monday Night Football” contest accounted for four of the top five most-viewed telecasts on all of cable TV for the month. TNT, despite seeing its NBA game viewership increase 50% compared to January '11, saw overall primetime viewership drop 6%. Among sports nets, NBA TV saw the biggest jump in primetime viewers (+55%), followed by NFL Network (+35%). Fox Soccer (-21%) and ESPN2 (-12%) saw the biggest drops among sports nets in primetime. With baseball in the middle of its offseason, MLB Network averaged 31,000 viewers in primetime, up 19% but last among all Nielsen-rated cable nets for the month. ESPN ranked third among all cable nets in total-day viewers, but was down 7% year-over-year. NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus, saw total-day audience down 22%.
PRIMETIME VIEWERSHIP FOR JANUARY
NETWORK
'12 (000)
'11 (000)
% +/-
ESPN
3,727
3,940
-5%
TNT
2,026
2,160
-6%
ESPN2
519
588
-12%
Speed
256
240
7%
NBA TV
205
132
55%
NFL Network
205
152
35%
NBC Sports Network
191
211
-9%
Golf Channel
169
175
-3%
ESPNews
111
95
17%
Fuel TV
36
n/a
n/a
Fox Soccer
34
43
-21%
MLB Network
31
26
19%
TOTAL-DAY VIEWERSHIP FOR JANUARY
NETWORK
'12 (000)
'11 (000)
% +/-
ESPN
1,420
1,535
-7%
ESPN2
347
381
-9%
Speed
142
142
0%
NFL Network
132
116
14%
NBA TV
91
52
75%
Golf Channel
87
84
4%
ESPNews
74
63
17%
NBC Sports Network
65
83
-22%
Fox Soccer
30
31
-3%
MLB Network
21
16
31%
Fuel TV
17
n/a
n/a
       
NOTES: Figures not available for cable nets that do not subscribe to regular Nielsen ratings, including ESPNU, ESPN Classic, NHL Network, Universal Sports, Tennis Channel, Fox College Sports, Big Ten Network, Longhorn Network and CBS Sports Network.
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