NBC Sports marks record cable viewership
Bolstered by its winter Olympics coverage, NBC Sports Group’s cable channel, NBCSN, produced some of the best quarterly viewership numbers in its 15-year history, according to data released this week by the Stamford-based broadcaster.
The channel turned in a record first-quarter prime time viewership average of 569,000 viewers, more than doubling the first-quarter 2017 result, according to data from media analytics provider Nielsen. In February — when the winter games were held in PyeongChang, South Korea — NBCSN posted monthly records in “total day” audience, 753,000, and prime time, 1.27 million. Those numbers were good enough to place first among sports cable networks in both categories.
For the quarter, NBCSN averaged a total-day record of 302,000. With that total, it more than tripled its audience from a year ago, and surpassed its prior record quarter of 296,000, a span that covered the 2016 summer Olympics. In addition, the viewership beat by 40 percent the 2014 first-quarter audience, which included the 2014 winter Olympics.
For the quarter, NBCSN ranked as the No. 2 sports cable network, behind ESPN, in total day and prime time viewership.
Despite the growth of NBCSN, NBC Sports saw its overall Olympic viewership decline from the previous winter Olympiad.
The competition drew an average of 20.6 million prime time viewers across broadcast, cable and digital platforms from the start of the games through its last Thursday, according to data from Nielsen and Adobe Analytics. In comparison, the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, averaged 22.4 million during the same span.
Outside the Olympics, NHL coverage also figured prominently. The Pittsburgh Penguins-Philadelphia Flyers game carried by NBCSN on March 7 averaged 652,000 viewers, marking the network’s most-watched NHL game since the season’s opening night.
NBCSN starts its coverage of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 11.
On NBCSN’s sister network, Golf Channel, total day viewership for the quarter finished first among single-sport networks. It notched a record quarterly average of 133,000, up 21 percent from last year, driven by its most-watched March.
Among other recent milestones, NBC Sports announced last month it would expand its IndyCar racing coverage with a three-year deal to carry IndyCar’s marquee event, the Indianapolis 500, starting in 2019.
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