Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 232
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Audience Analysis: Fox MLB Season Up; ESPN, FS1 Down

While Fox had its best MLB regular-season viewership since ’12, game coverage on ESPN and FS1 were down for ’19. MLB regionalized windows on Fox, which included some Thursday nights this season, averaged 2.4 million viewers across 12 windows, up 8% from 2.2 million last season and the best since 2.5 million in ’12. On FS1, games averaged 340,000 viewers this season, down 17% from 411,000 last year. For the ’18 season, 22 of FS1’s 39 games were exclusive to the cable network, whereas only five of 40 games were exclusive to FS1 this season. Meanwhile, ESPN averaged 925,000 viewers for its games in ’19, down 5% from 978,000 in ’18. The net’s signature “Sunday Night Baseball” package was relatively flat at 1.6 million viewers.

MLB REGULAR-SEASON VIEWERSHIP TREND
SEASON
ESPN (000)
FS1 (000)
FOX (000)
'19
925
340
2,404
'18
978
411
2,233
'17
996
448
2,054
'16
940
447
2,094
'15
1,180
504
2,200
'14
1,129
413
1,900
Download the
MLB Regular Season Audience Trend

FIVE FOR FIGHTING: Week 5 viewership was up again for the NFL, fueled by a Sunday national window that had only one marquee game. Fox led with 24.6 million viewers for that late Sunday window, which saw Packers-Cowboys go to 100% of markets. That also is the most-watched NFL window this season to date and best telecast of any kind on TV since the Oscars in late February. Packers-Cowboys also had an average minute audience of 467,866 viewers, marking the best streaming audience on record for any NFL regular-season game on Fox Sports Digital. Fox also drew 16.1 million viewers for a regional window highlighted by Bears-Raiders (from London) and Vikings-Giants, up 17% from Week 5 last year. That window also had an AMA of 362,487 viewers -- second-best yet for Fox Sports Digital for a regional window. Fox' Sunday afternoon windows (regional and national) are up 8% through Week 5. Meanwhile, NBC drew 18.6 million viewers (total audience delivery) for Colts-Chiefs on "SNF," down from 19 million viewers for Cowboys-Texans in Week 5 last year. The game still won primetime for NBC. The net is having its best "SNF" average through Week 5 since '16. For the singleheader in Week 5, CBS averaged 16.2 million viewers, up 21% from last year and the best October singleheader for CBS in three years. The NFL on CBS is up 6% this season to date. ESPN averaged 11.1 million viewers for the 49ers' rout of the Browns on "MNF" this week, up 6% from Redskins-Saints last year.

The chart below lists viewership figures for select recent sports telecasts on broadcast TV.

TELECAST
DATE
NET
RAT.
VIEWERS
(000)
NFL: Packers-Cowboys (100%)
10/6
Fox
13.8
24,595
"SNF": Colts-Chiefs
10/6
NBC
10.6
18,129
NFL: (singleheader)
10/6
CBS
9.3
16,240
NFL: (regional)
10/6
Fox
9.6
16,053
"TNF": Rams-Seahawks
10/3
Fox/
NFL Net
8.5
14,104
"MNF": Bengals-Steelers
9/30
ESPN
6.4
10,467
College football: Michigan State-Ohio State
10/5
ABC
3.9
6,677
College football: Auburn-Florida
10/5
CBS
3.9
6,427
College football: Iowa-Michigan
10/5
Fox
3.2
5,024
NL Wild Card: Nationals-Brewers
10/1
TBS
2.9
4,732
AL Wild Card: Rays-A's
10/2
ESPN
2.5
3,969
College football: Georgia-Tennessee
10/5
ESPN
2.1
3,901
NLDS: Cardinals-Braves: Game 1
10/3
TBS
2.2
3,508
NLDS: Nationals-Dodgers: Game 1
10/3
TBS
2.0
3,505
ALDS: Yankees-Twins: Game 2
10/4
MLB Net
2.0
3,352
NLDS: Nationals-Dodgers: Game 3
10/6
TBS
1.9
3,339
College football: Texas-West Virginia
10/5
ABC
1.9
3,162
NLDS: Nationals-Dodgers: Game 2
10/4
TBS
1.8
3,043
College football: Oklahoma-Kansas
10/5
ABC
2.0
2,977
NLDS: Cardinals-Braves: Game 3
10/6
TBS
1.6
2,650
College football: Northwestern-Nebraska
10/5
Fox
1.4
2,211
College football: Cal-Oregon
10/5
Fox
1.2
2,002
College football: Bowling Green-Notre Dame
10/5
NBC
0.8
1,281
Liga MX: Club America-Cruz Azul
10/5
Univision
0.7
1,272
"Big Noon Kickoff"
10/5
Fox
n/a
927
Track & Field: IAAF World Championships (taped)
10/6
NBC
0.6
850
Soccer friendly: Mexico-Trinidad & Tobago
10/2
UniMas
0.4
791
EPL: Crystal Palace-West Ham
10/5
NBC
0.4
596
Breeders' Cup Challenge: Keeneland
10/6
NBC
0.4
505
Rugby World Cup: New Zealand-Namibia (taped)
10/6
NBC
0.3
450
WNBA Finals Game 3: Washington Mystics-Connecticut Sun
10/6
ABC
0.3
425
Download the
Audience Analysis