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Volume 25 No. 24
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Audience Analysis: LPGA Up For NBC Sports Group In '17; Army-Navy Best Since '92

NBC Sports Group may have had lower numbers for the PGA Tour in ’17, but its LPGA coverage was the company’s best in years. NBC and Golf Channel this past season had the best LPGA average viewership since ’11 (tied with ’13). The average of 221,000 viewers was up 24% from last season. A big boost for NBC was the final round of the Ricoh British Women’s Open, which at 1.1 million viewers was the most-viewed women’s golf round of the year -- a first for the event.

MILITARY ACTION: CBS on Saturday afternoon finished with 8.4 million viewers for the Army-Navy game in the snow at Lincoln Financial Field. That figure is the best for the matchup since ABC drew 8.4 million viewers in ’92. Army-Navy has now seen its audience rise in each of the last three seasons. The audience this year also puts Army-Navy as the seventh most-viewed college football game of the ’17 season season.

UPS & DOWNS: The Heisman Trophy ceremony on ESPN last Saturday once again drew record-low viewership. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield was the heavy favorite and that led to decreased drama for the event. The 2.2 million viewers for the telecast is down from last year’s record-low figure of 2.6 million viewers, when Louisville QB Lamar Jackson won. Two years ago, ESPN drew 3.1 million viewers for Alabama RB Derrick Henry’s win. But while the Heisman was down, the telecast led into a Top Rank Boxing telecast, which ended up being the second-best boxing card on all of cable TV for ’17. ESPN drew 1.7 million viewers for a card featuring Vasyl Lomachenko’s win over Guillermo Rigondeaux. The boxing telecast even beat the Heisman telecast among males 18-34 and 18-49.

PLAY IT AGAIN: MLS Cup returned to ESPN this year after airing on Fox last season, and the result was a much lower audience for the Toronto FC-Sounders rematch. ESPN on Saturday afternoon drew 803,000 viewers for the game, down 43% from 1.4 million viewers last year, when it aired in primetime. Two years ago, ESPN drew 668,000 viewers for Timbers-Crew matchup, which aired on a Sunday afternoon up against NFL action. Despite the drop for the finale, the MLS playoffs on ESPN/ESPN2 saw the league’s best average since ’14.

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

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS
(000)
NFL national window:
Eagles-Rams (90%)
12/10
Fox
4:25-8:03pm
13.7
23,784
"SNF": Ravens-Steelers
12/10
NBC
8:31-11:32pm
10.1
17,200
NFL: (regional)
12/10
Fox
1:03-4:41pm
9.1
15,543
"TNF": Saints-Falcons
12/7
NBC/
NFL Net
8:27-11:27pm
8.9
14,606
NFL: (singleheader)
12/10
CBS
1:03-4:22pm
8.1
13,886
"MNF": Steelers-Bengals
12/4
ESPN
8:15pm-12:01am
6.7
10,907
College football: Army-Navy
12/9
CBS
3:00-6:30pm
5.2
8,419
"Football Night in America"
12/10
NBC
7:30-8:22pm
3.3
5,432
"Fox NFL Sunday"
12/10
Fox
12:00-1:03pm
3.2
4,854
"The NFL Today"
12/10
CBS
12:00-1:00pm
2.0
2,961
Liga MX: Apertura final:
Tigres UANL-Chivas: Leg 2
12/10
Univision
6:30-9:21pm
1.2
2,375
Liga MX: Apertura final:
Tigres UANL-Chivas: Leg 1
12/7
Univision
8:50-11:15pm
1.1
2,318
Heisman Award ceremony
12/9
ESPN
8:00-9:07pm
n/a
2,175
NBA: Celtics-Spurs
12/8
ESPN
9:35-11:55pm
n/a
2,076
Top Rank Boxing: Vasyl Lomachenko
d. Guillermo Rigondeaux
12/9
ESPN
9:07-11:40pm
1.0
1,730
NBA: Warriors-Pistons
12/8
ESPN
7:00-9:35pm
n/a
1,610
NBA: Warriors-Hornets
12/6
ESPN
8:01-10:35pm
n/a
1,558
College basketball: UCLA-Michigan
12/9
CBS
12:00-2:30pm
1.0
1,527
"Monday Night Countdown"
12/4
ESPN
6:00-8:15pm
n/a
1,501
"Fox NFL Kickoff"
12/10
Fox
11:00am-12:00pm
1.0
1,406
College basketball:
Duke-Boston College
12/9
ESPN
12:00-2:06pm
0.9
1,378
College basketball: Indiana-Louisville
12/9
ESPN
2:06-4:05pm
0.9
1,332
NBA: Lakers-76ers
12/7
TNT
8:13-10:41pm
n/a
1,267
ISU Grand Prix of
Figure Skating (taped)
12/10
NBC
4:04-6:00pm
0.9
1,234
Swimming: U.S. Short
Course Nationals (taped)
12/10
NBC
12:00-1:00pm
0.6
829
Golf: QBE Shootout: Final Round
12/10
NBC
2:00-4:04pm
0.6
815
EPL: Newcastle-Leicester City
12/9
NBC
12:30-2:30pm
0.6
776
"World of X Games: Real Ski"
12/9
ABC
2:00-3:00pm
0.4
530
"The Herbie Awards"
12/9
ABC
4:00-5:00pm
0.4
505
"Championship Drive:
Playoff Preview"
12/9
ABC
3:00-4:00pm
0.4
496
College basketball: VCU-Seton Hall
12/9
Fox
3:04-5:15pm
0.3
439