Rankings: NBA Playoffs, races, MLB and more
Ratings roundup – including the latest NBA playoff numbers, NASCAR and F1 action from the past weekend, Major League Baseball and more.
Warriors-Nuggets lead in NBA first round
Game 5 of the Nuggets-Warriors first-round NBA playoffs on Wednesday averaged 4.02 million viewers on TNT, the most-watched first-round decider yet (awaiting Grizzlies Game 6 results -Timberwolves on Friday) and up to 20% compared to the Mavericks-Clippers last year (3.36M*). Compared to the Clippers-Warriors Game 5 in the same window three years ago — Golden State’s previous trip to the playoffs — viewership fell 2% to 4.09 million. The leading Bulls-Bucks drew 1.6 (-2%) and 2.72 million (-5%*) ratings.
In other action, Suns-Pelicans finished with 3.47 million viewers on Tuesday and 1.6 and 2.65 million against the NFL Draft on Thursday – both down from last year but up from compared to 2019. Mavericks-Jazz finished with 3.21 million Thursday night, down sharply from the last Suns-Lakers clincher of the year, which aired in June and did not face the draft of the NFL (4.53 million*).
Rounding out TNT’s recent list, Timberwolves-Grizzlies Game 5 scored 1.8 and 2.90M on Tuesday – topping both last year (Celtics-Nets: 1.7, 2.78M*) and 2019 ( Nets-Sixers: 1.5, 2.28M). Figures for Friday 6’s decider won’t be available until Monday.
Moving to NBA TV, the first-round action averaged 571,000 viewers — up 44% from last year and the network’s highest average since 2014. Its coverage ended with Sixers -Raptors at 0.34 and 627,000 against the NFL Draft on Thursday and Hawks-Heat at 0.37 and 613,000 two nights earlier
NASCAR Talladega slips, but best race since Daytona 500
NASCAR Cup Series races from Talladega, Alabama averaged 2.6 and 4.68 million viewers on FOX last Sunday, down slightly from last year (2.6, 4, 70M**), but remain the most-watched Cup Series event since the Daytona 500 (8.87M). The corresponding Xfinity Series run averaged 1.3 and 2.06 million, the series’ largest viewership at any track in five years.
Earlier on Sunday, the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna averaged 0.7 and 1.00 million on ESPN – the sixth highest F1 audience ever shown on US cable TV. It also ranks as the most-watched F1 race in Italy since 2006 and the fourth-most-watched overall, regardless of network. ESPN now averages 1.1m viewers for F1 coverage, up 22% from the first four races of last year (909K).
The Cup, Xfinity and F1 races peaked at 6.0, 2.8 and 1.2 million viewers respectively.
Sunday Night Baseball only MLB window cracking mark 300K
Brewers-Phillies averaged 0.7 and 1.11 million viewers on ESPN’s edition last weekend Sunday night baseball, down sharply from Padres-Dodgers on ESPN and ESPN2 the same weekend last year (2.01 million*). With ESPN’s regular season coverage now consisting almost entirely of Sunday night games, no other MLB window in the past two weeks has passed the 300,000 viewer mark. FS1 drew 0.12 and 202,000 for the White Sox-Twins last weekend, while TBS drew 206,000 and 234,000 for its two Tuesday night games during this period (Mets-Cardinals last week and Braves-Dodgers the previous week) – a real improvement from his first of the season (Padres-Giants: 173K).
Outside of Sunday Night Baseball, no MLB game in that two-week span averaged as many viewers as ESPN’s Virginia Tech-Tennessee college softball game on April 21 (343K) — which was broadcast in the window once occupied by Wednesday night baseball.
More: USFL, NHL, PGA Tour
The USFL’s second weekend averaged 661,000 viewers according to Sports Business Journal, down 57% from week 1 (1.57M). This compares to a 69% drop from week 1 to week 2 in the Alliance of American Football in 2019 (from 1.95M to 607K) and a 34% drop from week 1 to week 2 from the restart of the XFL two years ago (from 3.12 to 2.05M). … The Rangers-Bruins pulled in a 0.45 rating and 774,000 viewers in the season finale of ABC Hockey Saturday last weekend, marking the eighth consecutive NHL game on television with less than one million viewers. ABC won’t air another NHL game until Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on June 18. TNT tied 0.26 and 433,000 for their Penguins-Flyers season finale the following day. ESPN wrapped up its regular-season slate with 337,000 for the Oilers-Penguins and 335,000 for the Blues-Avalanche on Tuesday. … PGA Tour final round coverage in New Orleans averaged 1.2 and 1.80 million on CBS last Sunday, preceded by third round coverage at 1.0 and 1.48 million the day before , both down from last year (1.4, 2.16M*; 1.1, 1.60M*).
** It was not immediately clear whether or not last year’s audience of 4.70 million included Nielsen’s corrected out-of-home data.
[Nielsen estimates from ShowBuzz Daily]