SBD/March 29, 2012/Research and Ratings

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  • Golf Channel, NBA TV Have Best Quarterly Audience Ever To Start '12

    Several cable TV sports networks saw record audiences during the first quarter of '12. Coming off its most-viewed year ever in '11, Golf Channel posted its most-viewed quarter ever in total-day and primetime audience. The net saw the audience for nine of 14 PGA Tour events rise over '11, with seven of those events setting new audience records on the net. Golf Channel also saw significant gains for original news shows "Golf Central" and "Morning Drive." Meanwhile, NBA TV also had its most-viewed quarter ever. The net was buoyed by three of its top five most-viewed games ever, and also continues to have the youngest average age among all cable sports nets (34.8). The net's Tuesday "Fan Night" games saw a 16% jump over the same period last year. NFL Network posted a 44.6% year-over-year gain for the net's most-viewed Q1 ever. The net was fueled by record viewership for coverage around the NFL Playoffs, Scouting Combine and free agency. Since NFL Net's first Q1 Nielsen measurement in '07, total-day viewership has nearly doubled (+93%), while primetime is up 76%. ESPNews also had its most-watched Q1 ever in terms of total-day audience, beating a previous record set in '08, and also had its most-viewed quarter among any period since Q4 in '07. 

    GOING DOWN: Among all cable TV networks, ESPN ranked ninth in total-day audience and third in primetime audience during Q1. The net's audience was down compared to Q1 last year, but is still seeing a double-digit percentage jump from two years ago. NBC Sports Network saw the sharpest drop among sports cable nets. The re-branded network saw its primetime audience drop 16% year-over-year, and is down 4% from two years ago. Total-day audience for NBC Sports Net is also seeing a double-digit percentage drop. Also seeing drops were Fox Soccer and ESPN2.

    PRIMETIME VIEWERSHIP FOR CABLE TV SPORTS NETWORKS DURING Q1
    NETWORK
    '12 (000)
    '11 (000)
    1 YR % +/-
    '10 (000)
    2 YR % +/-
    ESPN
    2,360
    2,439
    -3.2%
    1,863
    26.7%
    ESPN2
    441
    497
    -11.3%
    567
    -22.2%
    Speed
    266
    269
    -1.1%
    280
    -5.0%
    NBC Sports Network
    193
    230
    -16.1%
    201
    -4.0%
    NBA TV
    189
    139
    36.0%
    n/a
    n/a
    Golf Channel
    172
    158
    8.9%
    128
    34.4%
    NFL Network
    162
    112
    44.6%
    102
    58.8%
    ESPNews
    119
    91
    30.8%
    84
    41.7%
    MLB Network
    52
    51
    2.0%
    n/a
    n/a
    Fuel TV
    40
    n/a
    n/a
    n/a
    n/a
    Fox Soccer
    38
    45
    -15.6%
    41
    -7.3%
     
    TOTAL-DAY VIEWERSHIP FOR CABLE TV SPORTS NETWORKS DURING Q1
    NETWORK
    '12 (000)
    '11 (000)
    1 YR % +/-
    '10 (000)
    2 YR % +/-
    ESPN
    1,037
    1,080
    -4.0%
    921
    12.6%
    ESPN2
    298
    315
    -5.4%
    317
    -6.0%
    Speed
    159
    159
    0.0%
    169
    -5.9%
    Golf Channel
    118
    101
    16.8%
    69
    71.0%
    NFL Network
    109
    85
    28.2%
    78
    39.7%
    NBA TV
    81
    58
    39.7%
    n/a
    n/a
    ESPNews
    71
    58
    22.4%
    59
    20.3%
    NBC Sports Network
    64
    82
    -22.0%
    81
    -21.0%
    Fox Soccer
    31
    33
    -6.1%
    36
    -13.9%
    MLB Network
    30
    29
    3.4%
    n/a
    n/a
    Fuel TV
    19
    n/a
    n/a
    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. Measured period for Q1 this year was Dec. 26, 2011 through March 25, 2012.

    Print | Tags: Research and Ratings, Nielsen Media Research, ESPN, Speed Channel, NBC, Golf Channel
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