SBD/January 10, 2013/Research and Ratings

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  • Fuel TV Leads Cable Sports Net Growth In '12; ESPN Third Among All Nets In Primetime

    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 TV
    40
    15
    167%
    NBA TV
    123
    80
    54%
    NFL Network
    381
    285
    34%
    ESPNews
    102
    95
    7%
    ESPN
    2,342
    2,342
    0%
    MLB Network
    106
    109
    -3%
    Golf Channel
    139
    152
    -9%
    ESPN2
    476
    541
    -12%
    Speed
    202
    237
    -15%
    NBC Sports Net
    244
    293
    -17%
    Fox Soccer
    31
    46
    -33%
    CABLE SPORTS NET TOTAL-DAY AUDIENCE
    NETWORK
    '12 (000)
    '11 (000)
    % +/-
    Fuel TV
    21
    10
    110%
    NBA TV
    60
    38
    58%
    NFL Network
    152
    128
    19%
    ESPNews
    67
    61
    10%
    NBC Sports Net
    104
    95
    9%
    MLB Network
    53
    49
    8%
    Golf Channel
    96
    91
    5%
    ESPN
    1,020
    1,037
    -2%
    Fox Soccer
    27
    29
    -7%
    ESPN2
    285
    310
    -8%
    Speed
    121
    139
    -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.

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