SBD/April 10, 2013/Research and Ratings

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  • MLB Net, Fuel TV See Spike In Q1 Viewership; ESPN, ESPN2, Speed See Declines

    MLB Network was a big winner with the World Baseball Classic, with the network seeing a 146% year-over-year jump in Q1 primetime viewership. The net also saw viewership jump 100% on a 24-hour basis. Fuel TV also saw strong Q1 gains with the help of UFC programming. Q1 was Fuel TV's most-watched quarter ever, while February and March, respectively, were the top two months ever for the net. Despite being without NHL programming during the first three weeks of January, NBC Sports Network saw a 1% jump in primetime viewership in Q1. That period last year included the regular-season games and the All-Star Game. Removing those three weeks in January, NBC Sports Net saw viewership rise 14%. ESPN and ESPN2 each continued a trend of lower Q1 viewership. ESPN was down 8% in primetime and 9% for total-day viewership, while ESPN2 was down 2% and 8%, respectively. Speed, which is set to be rebranded as Fox Sports 1 in August, saw some of the sharpest drops in primetime (-17%) and total-day audience (-13%). ESPNews, NBA TV and NFL Network also saw declines. Among sports nets with significant live-event programming in the daytime, Golf Channel and Fox Soccer both saw Q1 gains in total-day audience.

    Q1 CABLE SPORTS NET PRIMETIME VIEWERSHIP
    NETWORK
    '13 (000)
    '12 (000)
    1-YR % +/-
    '11 (000)
    2-YR % +/-
    ESPN
    2,163
    2,361
    -8%
    2,439
    -11%
    ESPN2
    435
    442
    -2%
    497
    -13%
    Speed
    223
    268
    -17%
    269
    -17%
    NBC Sports Net
    194
    193
    1%
    230
    -16%
    Golf Channel
    174
    172
    1%
    158
    10%
    NBA TV
    168
    189
    -11%
    139
    21%
    NFL Network
    133
    162
    -18%
    112
    19%
    MLB Network
    128
    52
    146%
    51
    151%
    ESPNews
    107
    119
    -10%
    91
    18%
    Fuel TV
    49
    40
    23%
    n/a
    n/a
    Fox Soccer
    41
    38
    8%
    45
    -9%
    Q1 CABLE SPORTS NET TOTAL-DAY VIEWERSHIP
    NETWORK
    '13 (000)
    '12 (000)
    % +/-
    '11 (000)
    2-YR % +/-
    ESPN
    939
    1,036
    -9%
    1,080
    -13%
    ESPN2
    274
    298
    -8%
    315
    -13%
    Speed
    140
    161
    -13%
    159
    -12%
    Golf Channel
    130
    119
    9%
    101
    29%
    NFL Network
    103
    109
    -6%
    85
    21%
    NBA TV
    72
    80
    -10%
    58
    24%
    NBC Sports Net
    66
    64
    3%
    82
    -20%
    ESPNews
    65
    71
    -8%
    58
    12%
    MLB Network
    60
    30
    100%
    29
    107%
    Fox Soccer
    40
    31
    29%
    33
    21%
    Fuel TV
    27
    19
    42%
    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. 31, 2012 through March 31, 2013. Last year, measured period was December 26, 2011 through March 25, 2012.

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