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Volume 25 No. 26
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Audience Analysis: NASCAR Cup Series Down Again; F1 Up For NBC Headed Into Finale

The ’17 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series averaged 4.07 million viewers across Fox Sports and NBC Sports, down 9% from 4.47 million viewers last season, and down 15% from two years ago, when the top level averaged 4.81 million viewers. Sunday’s race from Homestead-Miami Speedway also may be the least-viewed Cup finale from South Florida on record. NBC averaged 4.66 million viewers for the race, which saw Martin Truex Jr. take home his first Cup title and Dale Earnhardt Jr. run his last Cup race. That is down 21% from 5.923 million viewers last year, when the final ran 30 minutes later into primetime.

BIG HITTERS: The LPGA saw its best figure in years for the CME Group Tour Championship on Sunday on ABC. The telecast from 1:00-4:18pm ET averaged 699,000 viewers up against NFL action as Thai golfer Ariya Jutanugarn held off two Americans -- Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson -- by one stroke for the win. That figure is up 37% from last year, when British golfer Charley Hull won by two strokes. The ’15 tourney, which American Cristie Kerr won, averaged 539,000 viewers. The final round aired on Golf Channel in ’14, averaging 252,000 viewers for the win by New Zealand’s Lydia Ko.

SECRET FORMULA: NBC Sports is heading into Sunday’s F1 finale likely to see its best viewership for the racing circuit since the net acquired rights prior to the ’13 season. Races across NBC, CNBC and NBCSN this season have averaged 540,000 viewers, up 14% from 475,000 at the same point last season. This season’s average jumps to 558,000 viewers for total audience delivery (TV+streaming). A big increase for the U.S. Grand Prix has helped figures, as NBC saw a 44% gain for the race from Circuit of the Americas. Also helping the gains was a big jump for the Canadian Grand Prix, which aired on NBC this year, but was moved to NBCSN last year as coverage was preempted by news of the Orlando mass shooting. For NBCSN alone, the net is averaging 426,000 viewers in ‘17, which puts it on pace to have the best F1 average for a cable net in over 20 years. Next year, F1 races move over to ABC/ESPN. 

EN FUEGO! NBA games continued to perform well to start the season. Across NBA TV, ESPN and TNT, game telecasts are averaging 1.47 million viewers, up 23% from 1.19 million at the same point last season.

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

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS
(000)
"SNF": Eagles-Cowboys
11/19
NBC
8:31-11:17pm
11.9
21,059
NFL national window:
Patriots-Raiders (86%) (Mexico)
11/19
CBS
4:27-7:30pm
10.9
19,026
NFL: (singleheader)
11/19
Fox
1:03-4:05pm
9.4
15,708
"TNF": Titans-Steelers
11/16
NBC/
NFL Net
8:28-11:30pm
8.2
13,518
NFL: (regional)
11/19
CBS
1:03-4:05pm
6.5
10,709
"Football Night in America"
11/19
NBC
7:30-8:15pm
5.5
9,459
"MNF": Dolphins-Panthers
11/13
ESPN
8:15-11:40pm
5.4
8,758
College football:
Michigan-Wisconsin
11/18
Fox
12:06-3:30pm
3.3
5,226
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Series: Ford EcoBoost 400
(Homestead-Miami)
11/19
NBC
3:19-6:45pm
2.8
4,662
College football: UCLA-USC
11/18
ABC
8:07pm-12:00am
2.5
4,048
"CFP Rankings Show"
11/14
ESPN
9:23-9:54pm
2.3
3,785
College football:
Kentucky-Georgia
11/18
CBS
3:38-7:00pm
2.1
3,397
College football: Virginia-Miami
11/18
ABC
12:01-3:34pm
2.1
3,339
College football:
Navy-Notre Dame
11/18
NBC
3:42-7:00pm
2.0
3,203
College football:
Illinois-Ohio State
11/18
ABC
3:34-7:00pm
1.9
3,093
NBA: Warriors-Celtics
11/16
TNT
8:13-10:45pm
1.8
3,000
College basketball:
Duke-Michigan State
11/14
ESPN
7:00-9:23pm
1.8
2,967
College football: LSU-Tennessee
11/18
ESPN
7:11-10:22pm
1.6
2,946
College basketball:
Kansas-Kentucky
11/14
ESPN
9:54pm-12:06am
1.7
2,661
NBA: Cavaliers-Hornets
11/15
ESPN
10:35pm-1:00am
n/a
2,135
NBA: 76ers-Lakers
11/15
ESPN
8:00-10:35pm
n/a
2,045
College football:
Maryland-Michigan State
11/18
Fox
4:12-7:30pm
1.3
2,035
"College GameDay"
11/18
ESPN
9:00am-12:00pm
n/a
1,911
NBA: Thunder-Spurs
11/17
ESPN
8:01-10:34pm
n/a
1,700
College football:
Mississippi State-Arkansas
11/18
CBS
12:00-3:45pm
1.1
1,678
College football: Stanford-Cal
11/18
Fox
8:16-11:18pm
0.9
1,598
Liga MX: Monterrey-Tigres UANL
11/18
Univision
7:55-10:01pm
0.6
943
EPL: Newcastle-Manchester United
11/18
NBC
12:30-2:30pm
0.6
837
LPGA: CME Group
Tour Championship: Final Round
11/19
ABC
1:00-4:18pm
0.5
699
"World of X Games:
World Surf League"
11/19
ABC
12:00-1:00pm
0.5
654