National TV viewing of sports programming is up 1% year-to-date -- but down 5% when excluding NBC’s Winter Olympics in February.
Those findings are per Brian Wieser, senior research analyst of Pivotal Research Group, in his analysis of Nielsen data, through 14 weeks of 2018.
He says sports viewing represents around 10% of all national TV viewing through live program-plus-same day viewing. In 2017, Wieser says sports programming is approximately 32 billion person-hours of live program-plus-same day viewing.
In the most recent week, Walt Disney TV networks fell 13% on sports viewing. Disney had the biggest share of sports viewing in 2017, at 33%. Fox TV networks grew 9% (due to baseball programming) in the most recent week; it had a 21% share in 2017. NBCUniversal was down 9%, with a 16% share in 2017.
CBS lost 18%, down from a 12% share in 2017. In the most recent week, golf on CBS “The Masters” garnered 34% of all sports viewing: 167 million person-viewing hours.
Basketball, mostly from Time Warner-owned networks due to the NCAA March Madness event, accounted for 19% of all viewing. Sports opinion/commentaries -- mostly on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” represented 14% of all viewing. Soccer had 8% of all viewing, mostly from Univision programming.