SBD/September 28, 2012/Media

Final Ratings: Izod IndyCar Series Season Down Sharply On NBC Sports Network

NBC Sports Network averaged 292,000 viewers for its nine Izod IndyCar Series race telecasts this season, down 27% from last year and marking IndyCar’s worst mark since it moved to NBCSN. IndyCar’s cable TV viewership is also down 62% from the series’ final year on ESPN/ESPN2 in ’08. IndyCar’s five telecasts on ABC averaged 2.5 million viewers, down 17% despite an increase for the series marquee race -- the Indianapolis 500. The end to two ABC races this season were moved to ESPNews: the June 3 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix had long delays due to the track coming apart and the June 16 Milwaukee Indyfest had a long rain delay (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

OLYMPIC SHINE
: NBC’s primetime ratings were up 79% in Q3, and even “taking out the Olympics, NBC’s ratings were still up 5% from the prior year.” NBC’s gains were “big enough to put the Big 4 broadcasters in positive territory, despite drops at the other networks.” ABC was “down 29%, CBS was down 24% and Fox was down 11%” (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 9/26). The Olympics also drew “roughly 217 million people” across all NBC’s family of networks during the two-week event, while “eight million people downloaded NBC’s mobile apps for the Olympics.” Watching video on tablets also “surged and the most popular events on any device were women’s gymnastics and the women’s soccer final” (NYTIMES.com, 9/26).

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
: In L.A., Joe Flint wrote under the header, “TV’s Rush To Ratings Judgment Is A Dangerous Game.” Nielsen every morning “issues a ‘fast nationals’ ratings report, which is a projection of the previous night's numbers.” Then later in the day, “the official numbers are released.” Even within those two reports “there are sometimes big discrepancies.” The networks “pounce on the early numbers and do their best to spin them.” The media, “eager for news, then rush out stories and make pronouncements on Twitter and elsewhere about what's working and what's not.” The problem is that “there is a ripple effect.” If the media “declares a show is a failure or a disappointment, based on early numbers that do not factor in all the other platforms and ways to consume content, the programs become tainted in the eyes of the audience.” This is “not to suggest that early ratings should be ignored.” Those numbers can “certainly be a good indicator of whether a show has potential, is starting to show its age or will be dead on arrival, and are perfectly legitimate to report” (LATIMES.com, 9/27).

The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. All ratings listed are U.S. ratings. Figures for select telecasts on NBC and Fox were unavailable at presstime.

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
"NFL on CBS":
Texans-Broncos (64%)
9/23
CBS
4:15-7:55pm
14.4
n/a
"Sunday Night Football":
Patriots-Ravens
9/23
NBC
8:30-11:30pm
12.9
21,272
"NFL on CBS": (regional)
9/23
CBS
1:00-4:15pm
9.0
n/a
NCAA Football:
Michigan-Notre Dame
9/22
NBC
7:30-11:00pm
4.0
6,384
"Football Night in America"
9/23
NBC
7:30-8:15pm
3.6
5,928
NCAA Football: Clemson-FSU
9/22
ABC
8:06-11:58pm
2.9
4,774
NCAA Football:
Missouri-South Carolina
9/22
CBS
3:30-6:45pm
2.5
n/a
NCAA Football: (regional)
9/22
ABC
3:30-7:01pm
2.3
n/a
"The NFL Today"
9/23
CBS
12:00-1:00pm
2.3
n/a
NCAA Football:
Kansas State-Oklahoma
9/22
Fox
7:51-11:08pm
1.8
2,816
"College Football Today"
9/22
CBS
3:00-3:30pm
0.6
n/a
"College Football Countdown"
9/22
ABC
3:00-3:30pm
0.5
n/a
Drag Boat Racing (taped)
9/22
CBS
2:00-3:00pm
0.5
n/a
PBR 15/15 Bucking Battle
9/22
CBS
1:00-2:00pm
0.4
n/a
Liga MX:
Chivas de Guadalajara-UNAM
9/23
Telem.
5:55-8:00pm
0.4
757
Liga MX: Cruz Azul-Club America
9/22
Aza.
5:56-8:00pm
0.3
591
TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
"Monday Night Football":
Broncos-Falcons
9/17
ESPN
8:30pm-12:10am
10.0
15,515
"Thursday Night Football":
Giants-Panthers
9/20
NFLN
8:31-11:26pm
4.6
6,993
"Thursday Night Pre-Kick"
9/20
NFLN
8:00-8:31pm
2.7
3,956
NCAA Football: LSU-Auburn
9/22
ESPN
7:00-10:30pm
2.4
3,768
NASCAR Sprint Cup: Sylvania 300
9/23
ESPN
2:00-5:05pm
2.2
3,517
NCAA Football: Arizona-Oregon
9/22
ESPN
10:30pm-1:55am
2.0
3,035
"Monday Night Countdown"
9/17
ESPN
6:30-8:30pm
2.1
2,975
NCAA Football:
Baylor-Louisiana Monroe
9/21
ESPN
7:55-11:47pm
1.5
2,223
"Sunday NFL Countdown"
9/23
ESPN
10:00am-1:00pm
1.5
2,189
NCAA Football: BYU-Boise State
9/20
ESPN
8:56pm-12:05am
1.4
2,069

 

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