We've known that NBC Sports managed an 0.8 rating for their NBC (792k average viewers), and that the average for all the NBC Sports broadcasts last weekend averaged 0.5. Now we have the data on the NBC Sports Network matches that dragged down the curve.
NBCSN's top shows on Saturday: Arsenal-Aston Villa (450K viewers); EPL studio show (359K) Liverpool-Stoke (287K).— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) August 20, 2013
That's an average of 443k viewers across the five matches (including Manchester City on Monday) NBC and NBC Sports broadcast over opening weekend, 78% higher than Fox Soccer/ESPN managed last year (249k). Cable only the average was 356k, still the best rating for an EPL opening weekend in the US and a 43% increase from last year.
That lowest rated Liverpool-Stoke City match (287k) attracted more eyeballs than the highest rated MLS match on NBC Sports this season (SEA-POR, 209k). The only MLS match to beat the highest rated match (ARS-ASV, 450k) was the NBC broadcast of NY vs. DC (461k)
The EPL acquisition was expensive and highly advertised, so it's not surprising that it performed well than its domestic counterpart.
Meanwhile, Fox Sports One came out touting their tenfold performance over a normal UFC night on Fuel. Certainly folding their soccer, NASCAR, and MMA channels into one seems like it's paid off in the ratings.
FS1's top shows on Saturday: UFC (1.78M viewers); UFC preshow (881K viewers); NCWTS racing (783K); NASCAR qualifying (504K); FS Live (476K).— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) August 20, 2013
So NBC Sports improved their daytime programming and Fox Sports became a player in primetime cable programming. Which cable network had the highest rated sports broadcast last weekend?
Top sport on cable: ESPN's NASCAR coverage on Sunday averaged 4.6M viewers and was cable's 6th biggest audience for the week.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) August 20, 2013
The more things change, the more they stay the same.