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OSC Weekly Ratings Wrapup

by David Carlson
April 3, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS)

NOTE: Don't know what the "demo" is? Unsure of why the different ratings numbers don't match up? Read our explanation of TV ratings in our first article here.

Last Week's OSC Leagues Ratings Summary:

Saturday March 30

AAF on TNT, 2pm .16 469k

AAF on NFLN, 8pm Not ranked in top 150

Sunday March 31

MLS on FS1, 6:30pm Not ranked in top 150

AAF on NFLN, 8pm .08 268k

MLS on ESPN2, 9pm .10 217k

Some good news/bad news for the AAF on Saturday. The TNT game bounced back from week 7 (.10/340k), and that made this week's rating about the same as the week 5 TNT game (.17, 457k). The NFLN game though was out of the "Top 150 Cable Shows" list for the day for the first time. Last week's game had a .07 demo rating and 237k total viewers.

The "Top 150 shows" list that is given to the public by Nielsen sorts that Top 150 by the demo rating, not the overall viewers, so, it is not clear what the viewers for the Saturday NFL Network AAF game might have been. The 150th ranked show had a .05 demo rating, so, the NFLN game was at most that same .05 demo rating (if not possibly lower), which is definitely the lowest for the AAF on NFLN so far this year. Considering it was going up against an Elite Eight game on TBS, this might not be considered too surprising (especially as that Virginia-Purdue game did very well, 2.93 demo rating and over 10 million total viewers).

The AAF and MLS effectively went head to head on Sunday night, and you had more or less similar ratings for both. What is maybe a bit interesting is that, while the AAF had more overall viewers, MLS won on the demo rating (18-49 y/o). This is showing how the numbers for soccer are skewing younger and, given generic American football vs. MLS soccer, MLS soccer should be seen as on an upswing in ratings based on emerging demographic shifts in sports interests, if even only slight, vs. non-NFL pro football.

G-League: On NBA-TV this season, but very low rated.

The G-League has had games on NBA TV all season long on Sundays, but, has not cracked the Top 150 cable shows on Sunday as of yet. No ratings have been publicly reported for the games, as they are likely low rated, and is mostly filler for NBA-TV on Sunday afternoons, especially going up against the NBA games on ABC Sunday afternoons. It is unlikely the NBA has any high ratings expectations for the G-League or is willing to give it any extra promotion.

Although the G-League would expect to be fairly low rated anywhere it was placed, being on NBA-TV is certainly not helpful. NBA-TV doesn't have nearly the exposure of FS1 or NBCSN, let alone ESPN or ESPN2. Here is an example of how programming gets devalued on NBA-TV:

Monday March 25th:

90 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL ESPN2 7:30 PM 0.10 235

144 NBA REGULAR SEASON PHI/ORL NBA-TV 7:00 PM 0.05 174

There is no reason other than network availability that a high school basketball game, even if it has the next big star, should have double the demo rating and 50% more overall viewers over an NBA telecast, especially with a playoff bound team. Also consider that the AAF and MLS games this weekend did comparable ratings to the high school basketball on ESPN2, but, all three beat the NBA game on NBA-TV handily. It goes to show how much channel exposure has to do with ratings potential, as much in some cases as content does.


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