NFL, NBA Take Nielsen Ratings Hit: Schedule Disruptions Cited

Post- and end-of-the-season action for TV sports
franchises has seen sharply lower overall viewership as a result of sports competition caused by disruptions in scheduling due to COVID-19, as well as lower Persons Using Television (PUT) data.
MoffettNathanson Research says the returning NBA and NHL have been impacted by lower PUT data in August and September versus the April and May periods — the former period being one that
traditionally sees lower PUT data.

Nielsen prime-time PUT levels for persons two years and older a year ago were at 26.1 in August (down 9% versus April’s numbers) and
27.1 for September (down 3% versus May).

The NBA playoff action for all 66 telecasts — starting in August — is down 33% to an average 2.4 million viewers per game, according
to Nielsen’s live program-plus-same day viewing. Twenty-four prime-time telecasts are down 5% to 3.3 million.

A total of 69 NHL playoff games have seen a 28% drop to an
average 749,000 Nielsen-measured viewers per game.

Adding in the return of virtually all TV sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all this might be having an effect on the
first week of the NFL, with the average Nielsen-measured ratings for all Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN NFL telecasts down 8% to an average 15.8 million viewers.



Specifically, ESPN’s
“Monday Night Football” and NBC’s “NFL Kickoff” game were hit with lower numbers.

MoffettNathanson notes that the NFL’s opening day last Thursday marked
the first time in history that the NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, NHL and MLS all played on the same day.

On that day, the big NFL Kickoff game was down 7% to 20.6 million viewers
compared to the same game a year ago.


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