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Volume 24 No. 216
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Audience Analysis: NBA Off To Strong Start; NASCAR Playoffs Up With Two Races Left

The NBA has kept rolling at the start of the ’17-18 season, as game viewership on cable TV nets is up 15%. Each national TV outlets is seeing a gain, and RSNs are seeing double-digit percentage growth for NBA games. TNT leads the way, averaging 2.6 million viewers for its eight games through Nov. 2. That is the net’s best mark since the start to the ’13-14 season (2.8 million viewers). TNT also is up 11% from the start of last season. TNT was boosted by Celtics-Cavaliers on opening night, which was its best opener since Celtics-Knicks in ’11. Meanwhile, ESPN is averaging 1.8 million viewers to date, up 14% from the start of last season. NBA TV also is seeing its best start to the season since ’11, averaging 437,000 viewers. That is up 59% from the start of the ’16-17 season. Over on NBA RSNs, game ratings are up 14% to date.

GREEN/WHITE/CHECKER FINISH: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs are seeing a slight uptick on NBC Sports heading into the final two races. For eight races across NBC and NBCSN, NASCAR has averaged 2.85 million viewers, up 1% from 2.82 million viewers last year. The figure is still below an average of 3.54 million viewers two years ago. A year-over-year increase for the Chase would be a welcome narrative for NASCAR, as season-long viewership is down around 8% to date.

DOWN SOUTH: LSU-Alabama finished with 6.73 million viewers on CBS last Saturday, marking the lowest viewership for the matchup since it moved to a primetime slot in ’11. It also is the lowest overall audience for the matchup since ’07, when a 5:00pm ET start drew 6.28 million viewers on CBS.

The chart below lists final audience figures from select recent sports telecasts.

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS
(000)
World Series:
Astros-Dodgers: Game 7
11/1
Fox
8:14pm-12:12am
15.8
28,287
World Series:
Astros-Dodgers: Game 6
10/31
Fox
8:16-11:43pm
12.6
22,329
NFL: Chiefs-Cowboys (96%)
11/5
CBS
4:25-7:45pm
12.5
21,681
"SNF": Raiders-Dolphins
11/5
NBC
8:31-11:13pm
8.6
14,360
NFL: (singleheader)
11/5
Fox
1:00-4:05pm
8.4
14,212
NFL: (regional)
11/5
CBS
1:00-4:15pm
7.2
11,946
"MNF": Broncos-Chiefs
10/30
ESPN
8:15-11:40pm
6.3
10,487
"Football Night in America"
11/5
NBC
7:30-8:15pm
4.5
7,739
College football: LSU-Alabama
11/4
CBS
8:00-11:27pm
3.9
6,729
"TNF": Bills-Jets
11/2
NFL Net
8:28-11:49pm
3.6
5,850
"Fox NFL Sunday"
11/5
Fox
12:00-1:00pm
2.7
4,170
College football:
Ohio State-Iowa
11/4
ESPN
3:34-7:15pm
2.3
4,112
College football:
South Carolina-Georgia
11/4
CBS
3:30-6:45pm
2.1
3,482
"The NFL Today"
11/5
CBS
12:00-1:00pm
2.3
3,437
College football:
Penn State-Michigan State*
11/4
Fox
12:06-1:15pm;
4:30-7:00pm
1.9
3,102
College football:
Virginia Tech-Miami
11/4
ABC
8:07-11:34pm
1.8
3,011
College football:
Minnesota-Michigan
11/4
Fox
8:31-11:40pm
1.7
2,850
College football:
Wisconsin-Indiana
11/4
ABC
12:01-3:24pm
1.8
2,834
College football:
Clemson-N.C. State
11/4
ABC
3:30-7:17pm
1.8
2,831
Monster Energy NASCAR
Cup Series: AAA Texas 500
11/5
NBCSN
2:26-6:07pm
1.6
2,701
College football:
Auburn-Texas A&M
11/4
ESPN
12:00-3:23pm
1.6
2,631
College football:
Oklahoma-Oklahoma State
11/4
FS1
4:02-8:33pm
1.4
2,486
NBA: Celtics-Thunder
11/3
ESPN
9:44pm-12:05am
n/a
2,332
Breeders' Cup Classic
11/4
NBC
8:00-9:03pm
1.3
2,014
NBA: Warriors-Spurs
11/2
TNT
8:14-10:35pm
n/a
1,998
College football: Arizona-USC
11/4
ESPN
10:48pm-1:35am
1.1
1,939
College football:
Wake Forest-Notre Dame
11/4
NBC
3:30-7:15pm
1.2
1,903
College football: Texas-TCU
11/4
ESPN
7:15-10:48pm
1.1
1,897
"Fox NFL Kickoff"
11/5
Fox
11:00am-12:00pm
0.9
1,324
ISU Grand Prix of
Figure Skating (taped)
11/5
NBC
4:30-6:00pm
0.9
1,228
Liga MX: Pachuca-Queretaro
11/4
Univision
9:00-11:03pm
0.5
947
TCS N.Y. Marathon (taped)
11/5
ABC
3:00-5:00pm
0.6
850
ISU Grand Prix of
Figure Skating (taped)
11/5
NBC
3:30-4:30pm
0.5
761
EPL: West Ham-Liverpool
11/4
NBC
1:30-3:30pm
0.5
676
"World of X Games: WSL Surfing"
11/5
ABC
2:00-3:00pm
0.5
574
DR1 Drone Racing (taped)
11/4
CBS
1:30-2:30pm
0.4
559


NOTE
: * = Penn State-Michigan State had a lengthy weather delay. Fox stuck with the game, which moved the majority of Stanford-Washington State to Fox Business.