National TV Sports See Slight Uptick -- Excluding Olympics, It's Down

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.

2 comments about "National TV Sports See Slight Uptick -- Excluding Olympics, It's Down".
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  1. Tony Reynolds from A KickIn Crowd, April 11, 2018 at 5:50 p.m.

    Recently Brian Wieser at Pivotal Research Group Senior Research Analyst for Advertising stated that the Feb Cable Network UE's were in an ongoing decline too, as reported by the Radio and Television Business Report.

    I wonder if you did a pure breakout of cable sports nets, what the situation would look like. When broadcast is taken out of these numbers?

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 12, 2018 at 9:05 a.m.

    Fortunately for the sports media and the pro leagues, advertisers will not readily dump TV sports buys because of the inevitable decline in average minute ratings---caused by more and more channel competition. So long as enough people are reached--even if fewer than in times past---- TV sports will command the big bucks. It's not so much about the demos, CPMs, reach, etc.---it's about the intangibles--- brand image, player and team tie-ins, merchandising, etc. Of course there may come a time when the players' demands get so out of control salary-wise that advertisers who rely on sports for their promotional campaigns will simply not be able to afford it. But we aren't there yet---or even close to there.

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