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US Open Ratings Hit 5 Year High

Sunday viewership increased 76% from last year’s figures.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: USGA

Torrey Pines gave plenty of golfers headaches this weekend, but the west coast U.S. Open was a big boon for NBC ratings. Over its four days of play, the tournament became the most-watched U.S. Open in the past five years.

The final round which, saw Jon Rahm go birdie-birdie to seal the title, was watched by 5.7 million viewers on Sunday. That is a 76% increase from last year’s event. It also became the most-watched golf telecast since Tiger Woods won the 2018 Tour Championship.

Viewership peaked on Sunday around 8 p.m. ET with 9 million viewers, right as it became clear that Rahm was about to become the first Spanish U.S. Open champion. It was Rahm’s first victory as a father after he had to withdraw from The Memorial two weeks ago with a 6-shot lead because of a positive COVID test.

“It had to happen in a beautiful setting like this,” Rahm said on Sunday. “Three generations of Rahm’s on this green. One of them doesn’t know what’s going on.”

Nearly 40 hours of coverage from Thursday-Sunday brought more good news for NBC. The event averaged 3.1 million viewers across the four days, a 43% increase from 2020. Only the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach averaged more viewers over the past five years of the event. A tournament that Tiger Woods contended in for the entire weekend. 

Obviously, west coast majors perform better in a vacuum because of the primetime trophy presentation, but maybe the Bryson Dechambeau-Brooks Koepka beef is actually carrying weight in the ratings. Both golfers were in contention on Sunday, with Dechambeau collapsing all the way down from first at one point to a 26th place finish.

There is one more major left on the golf calendar as the best golfers in the world prepare for The Open Championship next month.

Sports TV News

ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years

“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”

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The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.

The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.

Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.

NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.

That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.

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Sports TV News

NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.

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Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.

ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.

The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.

At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.

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Sports TV News

AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.

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The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.

CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.

With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.

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