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Ratings Roundup: 2021 WNBA Regular Season Experiences 49% Increase; NHL Debuts on ESPN, TNT to Positive Numbers

22/10/2021

Ratings Roundup: 2021 WNBA Regular Season Experiences 49% Increase; NHL Debuts on ESPN, TNT to Positive Numbers By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Friday, October 22, 2021 - 6:32 am

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Ratings roundup is a rundown of recent rating news and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week's edition, WNBA Finals Sees 49% increase, ESPN's NBA coverage opens big, ESPN's NFL studio shows are way up, Paramount draws big audiences for NFL and college football, ESPN's Monday Night Football and NFL on Fox both continue to show viewership growth over last year, TBS and Fox's LDS coverage gets a boost, and the debut of the NHL on TNT and ESPN drew record numbers.

The 2021 WNBA Finals on ESPN networks and ABC - Chicago Sky victory over the Phoenix Mercury - averaged 548,000 viewers across four games, a 23 percent increase from 2020 (447,000 average viewers in three games) and a 42 percent surge from 2019 (386,000 average viewers in five games). The 2021 Finals are the most viewed since the 2017 Finals between the LA Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx, which registered 563,000 viewers. (ESPN)

The New York Knicks thrilling double overtime victory over the Boston Celtics was ESPN's most-watched Wednesday season-opening game in 18 years, according to Nielsen. The telecast averaged 1.96 million viewers, peaking with 2.87 million viewers from 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET. Overall, last night was ESPN's most-watched season-opening doubleheader since 2017. The doubleheader, which included Knicks vs. Celtics and Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets, averaged 1.74 million viewers. This is up 39 percent vs. 2020, up 10 percent vs. 2019 and up 22 percent vs. 2018. (ESPN)

ESPN's NFL studio shows Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown, NFL Live, and NFL Rewind are experiencing year-over-year audience growth and delivering significant increases in key demos, including persons 18-24. The added audience for the studio shows, which span every day of the week except for Saturday, add to the success of ESPN's overall NFL portfolio, which includes Monday Night Football's significant audience growth and Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli garnering record audiences for alternate telecasts. (ESPN)

Paramount , featuring live NFL ON CBS local market games, scored an NFL regular-season viewership record for total streams, minutes streamed and unique viewers. Additionally, Sunday's Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots game was the most-streamed NFL regular-season contest ever on the service, surpassing the Dallas-LA Chargers matchup in Week 2. Through Week 6 of the NFL season, Paramount has seen double-digit growth in total streams, streaming minutes and unique viewers compared to the first six weeks of the 2020 season. (CBS Sports)

Paramount , featuring live SEC on CBS games, scored triple-digit growth in total streams and minutes streamed for Saturday's Georgia-Kentucky game when compared to the 2019 LSU-Mississippi State game, the most recent game in the comparable window. (CBS Sports)

ESPN's Monday Night Football experienced year-over-year gains for the fourth consecutive week (Weeks 3 through 6), as 12.6 million viewers (ESPN and ESPN Deportes) watched the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans (October 18, 8 p.m. ET). The Bills-Titans audience 12,528,000 (ESPN only) was up 6% over the Dallas Cowboys' Week 6 appearance in 2020, when they hosted the Cardinals (11,831,000 viewers), and also is second-most-viewed Week 6 game since the 2015 season. (ESPN)

This week's NFL on Fox singleheader delivered year-over-year ratings growth. (Fox Sports)

The NLDS presented by Good Sam Game 5 between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants averaged 6.5 million total viewers to deliver the most watched LDS telecast this postseason and the best NLDS game telecast on the network since 2017 (NLDS Game 5 - Cubs vs. Nationals). Dodgers/Giants NLDS Game 5 is up 75% over last year's LDS Game 5 (Yankees/Rays) on TBS. (Turner Sports)

TNT's first-ever NHL regular season telecast - the New York Rangers facing the Washington Capitals (7:40-10:14 p.m. ET) - is the most-watched game to ever air on the second night of nationally televised NHL coverage, among total viewers and all key adult and male demos. That makes it the largest audience for the second night of nationally televised NHL regular season action in the nearly 30 years on record. (TBS Sports)

The 2021 NHL FaceOff doubleheader marked the return of the NHL to the ESPN networks for the first time since 2004 and set a new high-water mark as the most-viewed NHL season-opening doubleheader on record. Combined, the NHL Faceoff doubleheader on ESPN averaged 884,000 viewers on ESPN over the more than five-hour window, which is up 54 percent over the 2019-20 season-opening doubleheader and up 19 percent over the 2020-21 season-opening tripleheader. It also topped the 2018 season-opening doubleheader by 81 percent. Among viewers 18-49, the doubleheader is up 28 percent vs the 2020-21 season-opening tripleheader, and up 56 percent and 74 percent respectively vs the 2019 and 2018 opening doubleheaders. (ESPN)

Fox's ALDS elimination game between the Astros and White Sox drew 1.8 million viewers across FS1, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports streaming services. (Fox Sports)
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/10/22/ratings-roundup-2021-wnba-regul...
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