October 31, 2023
The NBA season has started off strong, with the first three nights averaging 2.57 million viewers across TNT and ESPN. This is a 13% increase from last year and the highest three-night average since 2017. Thursday's games between the Suns and Lakers, and the Sixers and Bucks, saw significant viewership gains of 9% and 30% respectively compared to last year.
After a slight decline in viewership on Opening Night, the following two nights saw an 80% and 18% increase from last year.
All six games on ESPN and TNT this season have averaged at least two million viewers, marking the longest streak to start a season since 2013-14.
ESPN's NHL 'Frozen Frenzy' on Tuesday garnered a solid viewership, with an average of 432,000 viewers on ESPN and 196,000 viewers on ESPN2. Although this is lower than last year's traditional doubleheader on ESPN alone, which had 562,000 viewers, the combined viewership peaked at 918,000 viewers during the 9:15-9:30 PM ET time slot.
The top game of the tripleheader, Bruins-Blackhawks, had a 0.31 rating and 526,000 viewers. While this is a decrease of 24% in ratings and 30% in viewership compared to Avalanche-Rangers last year, it's important to note that the game overlapped with the ESPN2 whiparound show. The Flyers-Golden Knights nightcap also saw a double-digit decrease of 13% in viewership.
The Formula 1 United States Grand Prix had an average viewership of 1.17 million on ABC, down 13% from last year and the lowest since 2019. It's worth mentioning that Max Verstappen had already secured this year's championship before the race.
In comparison, the NASCAR playoffs from Homestead-Miami had a rating of 1.3 and 2.25 million viewers, slightly lower than last year's numbers. This was the smallest audience for the race since at least 2001. However, the F1 race outperformed NASCAR in the younger demographics, with higher viewership in adults 18-49 and 18-34.
Overall, the NBA, NHL, and F1 have seen varying viewership trends. The NBA is off to a strong start, with increased viewership compared to last year. ESPN's NHL 'Frozen Frenzy' had a solid sampling, although slightly lower than previous years. The F1 USGP experienced a decline in viewership, but still outperformed NASCAR in certain demographics. These trends highlight the evolving landscape of sports viewership and the importance of catering to different audiences.
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