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Busy Sports Day Boosts TV Ratings For Multiple Networks

“One of the NBA’s key TV partners, TNT, emerged victorious among all key adult demos in prime time on all of TV thanks to the NBA Playoffs.”

Douglas Pucci

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Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

May 27 was a busy day in sports. It was also the first day of the summer TV season for 2021. One of the NBA’s key TV partners, TNT, emerged victorious among all key adult demos (especially with males) in prime time on all of TV thanks to the NBA Playoffs. On this night (May 27), TNT earned top honors, punctuated by the third game of the Western Conference first round series between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers (the Lakers went up two games to one). Despite the 10:10 p.m. Eastern start time, the telecast posted 3.724 million viewers, up 12 percent from the comparable late Thursday night playoff game on TNT from two years ago (Warriors-Clippers Game 3 from 4/18/2019: 3.322 million).

Prior to Suns-Lakers, Game 3 of the Milwaukee Bucks-Miami Heat series kicked off the night for TNT with 2.49 million viewers, down 15 percent from 2019 (76ers-Nets Game 3 from 4/18/2019: 2.928 million).

Over on NBA TV, Denver Nuggets-Portland Trail Blazers Game 3 averaged 302,000 viewers, down 9 percent from the NBA TV game that also featured the Nuggets — they played the San Antonio Spurs in their Game 3 on Apr. 18, 2019 (332,000).

Closing the night, TNT’s popular late-night recap show “Inside The NBA” was down a slim 6 percent from Apr. 18, 2019 (1.325 million vs. 1.417 million).

NBCSN’s NHL Stanley Cup first-round playoff doubleheader featured Montreal Canadiens-Toronto Maple Leafs Game 5 (544,000 viewers), followed by Game 6 of Carolina Hurricanes-Nashville Predators (621,000 viewers), down 34 percent (from Capitals-Hurricanes Game 4: 824,000) and down 5 percent (from Golden Knights-Sharks Game 5: 655,000), respectively, from Apr. 18, 2019. Of course, the stark declines of the early evening affair was  due to the all-Canadian matchup.

A couple of Game Ones of the super regionals round of the 2021 College Softball World Series aired on ESPN: Florida State-LSU(566,000 viewers; -14% from Oklahoma State-Florida State 5/23/19) began the night and Virginia Tech-UCLA (490,000 viewers; -26% from Texas Alabama 5/23/19) was the nightcap.

First round of the Charles Schwab Challenge on Golf Channel delivered 422,000 viewers, which represented an impressive 61 percent from the same time two years ago (262,000 on 5/23/19). Contributing to this boost were the Day One leaders — two of the sport’s most prominent golfers: Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia.

Out-of-market MLB coverage on MLB Network in prime time drew 283,000 viewers (+24%, from White Sox-Astros or Rays-Indians on 5/23/19). The second game of the Toronto Blue Jays-New York Yankees doubleheader was shown to most of the nation while the New York market got Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals. Earlier in the afternoon, the first Blue Jays-Yankees game (in New York: Kansas City Royals at Tampa Bay Rays) posted 167,000 viewers (-12%, from Braves-Giants or Phillies-Cubs on 5/23/19).

Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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