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SBD/January 10, 2013/Research and RatingsPrint All
Fuel TV led all cable sports nets in primetime and total-day audience growth in '12, spurred by the addition of UFC programming. The net averaged 40,000 viewers in primetime last year, up 167%, while total-day viewership was up 110%. The net's growth was head-and-shoulders above any network in the U.S. cable TV universe. NBA TV also had big gains in '12, with primetime audience up 54%. The net was aided by an on-time start to the '12-13 NBA season, after going without games during the lockout in November and December of '11. An expanded package of Thursday night games paid dividends for NFL Network, with primetime audience for the year up 34%. ESPNews also saw decent growth for its total-day audience (+10%). ESPN continued to lead all sports cable nets in audience. The net's 2.3 million viewers in primetime was flat compared to last year, while total-day audience was down slightly. Among all U.S. cable nets, ESPN's primetime audience ranked third, behind only USA Network and Disney Channel. In total-day audience, ESPN ranked eighth. Several sports nets saw double-digit percentage declines in primetime, including ESPN2, Speed, NBC Sports Net (no NHL in Q4) and Fox Soccer. Speed, which is to be re-branded Fox Sports 1 this summer, was the only cable sports net to see a double-digit decline in total-day audience.CABLE SPORTS NET PRIMETIME AUDIENCE
NETWORK'12 (000)'11 (000)% +/- Fuel TV4015167% NBA TV1238054% NFL Network38128534% ESPNews102957% ESPN2,3422,3420% MLB Network106109-3% Golf Channel139152-9% ESPN2476541-12% Speed202237-15% NBC Sports Net244293-17% Fox Soccer3146-33%CABLE SPORTS NET TOTAL-DAY AUDIENCE NETWORK'12 (000)'11 (000)% +/- Fuel TV2110110% NBA TV603858% NFL Network15212819% ESPNews676110% NBC Sports Net104959% MLB Network53498% Golf Channel96915% ESPN1,0201,037-2% Fox Soccer2729-7% ESPN2285310-8% Speed121139-13%
NOTES: Last year's measured period was Dec. 26, 2011 through Dec. 30, 2012. The previous year was measured from Dec. 27, 2010 through Dec. 25, 2011. Figures for networks such as ESPNU, ESPN Classic, Big Ten Network, NHL Network, CBS Sports Network, Tennis Channel, Pac-12 Network, Sportsman Channel and Outdoor Channel were unavailable, as those channels do not subscribe to regular Nielsen ratings.